Leverage Check Reader Devices to Save Time and Improve Accuracy

Have you ever been in line at the grocery store, pleased with how well things are moving along, until the person ahead of you of pulled out their checkbook to pay? During moments like this, you can almost hear the sound effect of brakes screeching as you watch every stroke of the pen. Who still pays by check anymore?

Those of us in the business of healthcare are likely less incredulous when someone brings a checkbook to pay at the Point-of-Service (POS). While credit and debit cards are becoming more common forms of payment, some patients still rely heavily on writing checks when paying for medical services. Because check-loyal patients can represent a notable share of your total patient population, providers are wise to accommodate checks in order to quickly capture these payments and reduce their risk of processing errors resulting from manual entry mistakes.

Check Reader Devices: Smart Solutions

While these payments start as checks, your workflow doesn’t have to remain paper-based. Check reader devices are scanning tools that quickly and easily convert physical checks into Automated Clearing House (ACH) transactions. Rather than using manual entry to record bank routing, account and serial numbers, POS staffers run checks through reader devices, allowing the pertinent data to be captured immediately and accurately. These devices connect to most POS terminals to seamlessly transfer data for more expedient payment processing and are compliant with National Automated Clearing House Association (NACHA) standards.

Devices such as the MagTek® MICRSafe (shown above) offer flexible payment processing options to accommodate check, credit and debit card payment processing all in one unit.

Emdeon eCashiering: Ready for Your Reader, Reducing Returns
If you’re already using Emdeon eCashiering, you’re likely just a few short steps away from seamlessly integrating a check reader device into your POS payment acceptance process. Emdeon eCashiering is engineered for check reader device integration and can be up and running quickly.

Once the check reader device is activated, Emdeon eCashiering becomes a powerful tool for reducing check returns. Of the approximately three percent of checks that typically cannot be processed, around one percent of those are due to insufficient funds, while the remaining two percent are halted because of invalid account or routing numbers or account closures. For those rogue two percent of checks, powered by an automated reader, Emdeon eCashiering is able to capture accurate information automatically, which reduces your risk of rejections .

Gaining an integrated view of all patient payment activity is another advantage of using Emdeon eCashiering in conjunction with check reader devices. When check payments are converted to ACH transactions, the details are captured for helpful tracking of patient payments and real-time, transaction-level reporting. The speed, accuracy and efficient processing are win-wins for providers and patients alike.

Don’t Let Checks Put On the Brakes: Accelerate Payments Today
Patients paying by check don’t have to put the brakes on your staff’s efficiency or cash flow. POS check reader devices coupled with the robust, integrated capabilities of Emdeon eCashiering can transform paper checks into nimble, ACH payments that transact in real-time. Contact 877.EMDEON.6 (877.363.3666) for more information.

1 Based on an analysis of POS healthcare transactions processed by Emdeon.

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Patient Statements: When Less Really is More

“If I receive medical care from one health system, why do I get multiple billing statements?”

It’s a common question and one with lots of merit. In this era of increased healthcare consumerism, patients are looking for simplicity and clarity regarding payment of their medical services. They want to see statements with concise recaps of care and easy-to-read “amount due” totals. Yet all too often, patients who have encounters within a single healthcare organization receive multiple billing statements in the mail. Separate bills for a variety of services such as emergency room charges, outpatient, inpatient and lab fees come due in fractured pieces and parts based on how the healthcare organization’s billing systems are structured, not on what makes sense for those who must pay the bills.

When patients receive multiple statements, the results can be negative for all parties involved. It’s not unusual for recipients to presume multiple statements are redundant, leading them to disregard new bills that need attention. In some instances, patients arbitrarily pick and choose what statements to pay, since they’re unsure how to prioritize the various bills. The confusion for patients means providers may not receive payments promptly or in full, slowing provider organizations’ cash flows while costing them more time, labor and resources to collect.

Responsively, our industry is experiencing a ground swell of interest in enterprise statements (also known as consolidated statements) that include all of the charges generated within a health system presented in one concise statement. Consolidated statements are logical and patient-focused solutions, yet they’re not necessarily simple to generate. Organizations often operate with disparate billing systems from department to department and facility to facility which makes it hard to track patients throughout every point of care. Nonetheless, it’s imperative that healthcare systems find ways to answer patients’ billing needs rather than defaulting to past procedures just because they’re easier to accomplish. Especially in this age of healthcare consumerism where patients are responsible for paying for more of their care, unified billing statements are increasingly important.

Enter Emdeon ExpressBill Services
With advanced printing and electronic mapping capabilities, Emdeon can work with you to create consolidated statements. In addition, the level of charge consolidation can be customized to fit your organization’s preferences.

Emdeon is equipped with the advanced systems to help you deliver simplified patient communications. And when patients can read, understand and respond to their statements, they are more likely to pay, alleviating your staff of customer service calls and extended collections efforts.

Ready to offer your patients all-in-one statements? Contact 877.EMDEON.6 (877.363.3666) to discover more about the consolidated statement capabilities though Emdeon ExpressBill Services.

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Did You Know?

Quick Facts to Help You Get the Most from Your Emdeon Patient Billing & Payment Solutions

Technology can be a powerful tool to boost productivity and profitability. But, if you aren’t making the most of the solutions available at your fingertips, you might be missing opportunities to improve efficiencies within your organization. That’s why we want to provide a few reminders about the capabilities offered by Emdeon Patient Connect solutions.

Did you know that…

1. System administrators at your facility can reset user passwords in Emdeon eCashiering.
Anyone designated with administrative rights for Emdeon eCashiering at your organization can reset passwords directly from the dashboard. The password reset option is accessed under the “User Administration” tab which means no phone call to customer service is required! As you likely know, it’s challenging to keep up with passwords; the ability to change them autonomously saves time and makes your work life a little more simple.

2. Patient receipts can now be branded messaging tools.
You can add your provider organization’s logo and 200 characters of messaging to patient receipts generated by Emdeon eCashiering and Emdeon Patient Pay Online. The inclusion of your logo is one more way to establish branding, and those 200 characters can convey quick reminders or helpful tips that bring more value to patients in this subtle, quick-read format.

3. We have recurring payment options.
Emdeon Patient Pay Online and eCashiering offer optional recurring payment functionality for patients. Recurring payments are extremely effective in improving cash flow for your organization while also simplifying patients’ billing experiences in tandem. With more and more patients bearing direct responsibility for payment of their care, you’ll find the ability to set up recurring payments extremely beneficial. To learn more and get set up, simply contact our customer service team.

4. Emdeon can customize the design of your statements for improved response.
We have a design team on the ready to create statements that blend your branding, key messages, layout, use of color and, perhaps most importantly, HFMA Patient Friendly Billing® standards. Why are custom statements better? Communication is visual, not just textual. By strategically ordering content and using call-out boxes and colors, you can help patients better read, follow and know how to respond to their statements. Our design team is adept in statement design that puts the spotlight on action-oriented information such as “amount due.” Because recipients are ceaselessly inundated with messaging, it’s important that your statements be laid out attractively and colorfully to stand out, get noticed and merit response from patients. To implement, there may be a small programming fee; connect with your account manager for details.

Have any questions regarding any of our products or services? Don’t hesitant to call us at 877.EMDEON.6 (877.366.3333) for more information.

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Creating an Accurate and Early View of Patient Financial Status

An HFMA Roundtable

Communicating with scheduled patients about their financial responsibility prior to arrival for services is an important strategy for receiving prompt and full payment while supporting a positive patient experience. In this roundtable, several revenue cycle leaders discuss ways their organizations are using process change and technology to improve the quality, timing, and accuracy of these discussions.

Click to view full report.

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Meet Jeff Kerley, CPA – Emdeon Senior Vice President Corporate Controller and Administrative Services

Supporting Emdeon’s Mission to Simplify the Business of Healthcare

Jeff Kerley, Emdeon’s Senior Vice President Corporate Controller and Administrative Services, has vast responsibilities over many areas within our company. He leads a team of 78 professionals to manage Emdeon’s financial and back office operations, as well as purchasing, real estate, security and business continuity.

His attempt to specifically describe what he does in the course of a typical work day epitomizes the term “all over the board.” However, get to know him and his work a little more closely, and a common theme arises that unifies all that authority and activity: relationship building.

Sure, “relationship building” isn’t the core skill you might expect for the Controller of a multi-tiered, billion dollar company. However, the ability to connect with internal and external customers and get to know them is precisely how Kerley succeeds in his role. The insights he gains through relationship building empowers him to make the most informed financial and administrative decisions for Emdeon and, thus, for our customers.

Anytime our company expands through acquisition, Kerley is a key leader in the integration efforts, blending newly acquired business units into the fabric of the Emdeon corporate structure. He builds relationships not only with top executives but whole leadership teams to guide the potentially precarious process of merging. It stands to reason he’s also become a trusted go-to for those business units to stay informed and connected to the home office.

“Up-front I spend a lot of time...them getting to know me, me getting to know them...so we build a good rapport from the beginning,” he explains.

When your organization was considering becoming a customer of Emdeon, it’s highly likely that Kerley played a role in how we responded, reviewing our RFP response or perhaps approving the contract before it was released for approval. Though you may never interact with him directly, he’s influenced many of the innovative solutions you use each day.

He also plays a part in many behind the curtain scenarios in which Emdeon forges unique, customized solutions based on specific customers’ needs.

“We step up for our customers…to be a great business partner. We help in ways that other companies simply would not,” states Kerley. “That’s what it takes to build relationships that stick.”

Kerley’s relationships also include professional connections beyond our company and customer base. He’s constantly in tune with financial news and Emdeon business leaders, staying on top of trends and market concerns. This is how he knows that tax codes, Medicare reimbursements and the ever-shifting political climate are some of the resounding issues that business leaders face today.

In translating the concerns of the market into the solutions that Emdeon offers, Kerley is clear and certain that an effective route to financial health for a hospital or health system is to file claims correctly from the start.

“Think of the claim and cash as one in the same,” he advises. “Filing claims correctly the first time can prevent them from getting kicked back which affects cash flow timing. The cleaner a claim is submitted, the faster the provider can expect reimbursement. That’s where our industry leading solutions come into play,” Kerley says.

Prior to joining Emdeon eight years ago, Kerley served as Divisional Controller for Cardinal Health. His tenure there was an excellent training ground for his work at Emdeon, as he dealt with the same customers faced with some of these same challenges. The experiences and the relationships translate.

“No matter what, relationships matter,” Kerley summarizes. “We work smarter when there’s trust and a business partnership...when we’re in it together.”

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