Friday, July 31, 2015

Reconciling- Are They All Billed?

Keeping track…
We’re always surprised to learn of EMS agencies that do not reconcile the number of transports to billing claims, for a given period.

Reconciling Billable Run VolumeStop right now and ask this question.
Are all of the EMS transport incidents billed for (insert time period)?
We hope you can answer “YES!”  But, if you can’t then certainly read on.

Why is Reconciling Billable Run Volume Important?
We knew you’d ask that question. Some of you already know the answer, but for the sake of this space let’s assume that all of you who are reading do not understand the importance of reconciling transports to billing totals.

People forget. Actually, we hate to admit, but people also cut corners. I know…it’s hard to believe…but there are EMS providers who cut corners.

Hey, we get it. It’s five minutes before your shift ends the tone drop. Now you’ll be an hour or two late for supper and the family isn’t happy with you.

So, instead of finishing your Patient Care Report (PCR) immediately following the EMS incident you pop the information into your secured, locked station mailbox for safe keeping and you’ll write the documentation another day.

Of course, that “another day” either is ridiculously long after the incident or somehow it gets missed altogether.

If Time is Money, Trips are Money Too
PCRs that are left unwritten and when the EMS incident is a transport are costing your EMS agency a lot of money. If a system is not in place to independently track all trips and then narrow down that list to those that are billable in nature, then we can almost guarantee your EMS agency is suffering a cash crunch because you are not insuring that all transports (or trips intended to be billed) have turned into a billable claim for payment.

Here are a few suggestions for how to begin reconciling your run volume and verify that all billable trips have been forward to the billing office for billing.
  1. Capture 9-1-1 dispatch information. Somehow you must independently capture the amount of dispatches from your dispatch source and identify those incidents that resulted in a transport or resulted in an outcome that you wish to send out bills to collect reimbursement against. You can ask the 9-1-1 center to forward digital or hard copies of the dispatches on a regular basis which you then justify against the ePCR program AND the billing office records (if you’re billing office can’t provide you with a reporting mechanism to make this happen find out why or choose a billing source that can.) NOW!
  2. Capture non-emergency dispatch information. This may be an in-house versus outside source, but you must have a way of independently verifying that routine, scheduled or unscheduled transports are accounted for. Either you employ an answering service that records the runs before they get to the staff or you have a system for recording requests for services or you require requestors to complete an online form and forward by digital means to more than one source (crew and administration.) But somehow you must account for trips to be sure that you aren’t missing any for billing.
  3. Record voice dispatches (emergency or non-emergency.) We’ve known some stations to digitally record dispatches. Others have used voice-activate devices placed conveniently near a listening device (scanner, pager, etc.) that is locked-up and not accessible to staff “tampering” (it sounds worse than it probably is…)
  4. CAUTION! Logs completed by the staff doing the runs are not going to be accurate. So the staff member who doesn’t want to write a PCR for his/her incident simply conveniently also fails to log the non-emergency transport. No log entry…no PCR…and no bill!
Just Do It!
The “how” of this can happen by various means.

But you have got to “Just Do It” to coin a popular phrase.

Providers…the excuses are over. If your EMS agency is billing then you have a responsibility to turn in the PCR for that reason alone. It supports the financial side of your EMS organization.

Administrators…make it happen! Now! Today! Chances are your leaving a lot of money laying on the uncollected table until you do it!

The Enhanced Ambulance Billing Services blog is brought to you as an educational tool by Enhanced Management Services, Inc. Enhanced Management Services, Inc. is an all-EMS third-party billing company serving Fire/EMS clients located across the United States. For more information about the cutting-edge features offered to benefit your EMS agency, please visit our website at and click on the “Get Started” button on any landing page.

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