Colorado Medical Society

New standards coming Jan. 1 can help physicians streamline payment

Thursday, November 21, 2013

New federal standards governing how health insurers conduct electronic transactions with physicians should help reduce administrative hassles, cut paperwork burdens and free up time to spend with patients. Free toolkits from the AMA can help physicians take advantage of the changes.

The rules, called for under the Affordable Care Act, require health insurers to standardize business practices for electronic funds transfers and electronic remittance advice. Set to take effect Jan. 1, the rules will make it possible for medical practices to automate the time-consuming process of manually matching payments from insurers with claims that have been submitted.

“The new rules can benefit physicians by eliminating many mundane and costly manual tasks like depositing checks, while cutting red tape and speeding payments,” AMA President Ardis Dee Hoven, MD, said in a news release. “This is a great opportunity for physicians to begin incorporating electronic payments and remits into their practice and reaping the benefits. The AMA’s toolkits and resources will help guide physicians through the necessary steps.”

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services estimates that approximately one-third of claim payments across the industry currently are transferred electronically, and insurers’ reliance on electronic funds transfers is expected to increase. Medicare rules already require physicians who are new to the program or who update their enrollment information to be paid via electronic funds transfer.

The AMA toolkits on electronic funds transfers and electronic remittance advice include informative sections on getting started with electronic transactions, key questions to ask vendors, guidance about information technology solutions, and an outline of the rules and standards for electronic transactions.

Visit the AMA website for updated information and resources that can help physicians generate savings using electronic transactions.

Source: American Medical Association