Webinar: Strategies to Conquer Returned Mail Issues to Gain Real ROI

Join us for a live webinar! Is your undeliverable mail taking up half of the conference room or maybe the entire square footage of an empty office? Would you describe the amount as 'mountainous' or 'colossal'?

You and your organization are not alone. Provider offices, health systems and businesses of all kinds share in the struggle of finding the correct addresses for mailing patient statements. It seems mailed statements are like boomerangs, coming right back to the places they started from and leaving teams like yours with the daunting task of rectifying the address errors in an attempt to collect.

In this session, Jason Bailey with Holland Hospital will share strategies providers can use to streamline return mail management and even eliminate 100% of return mail handling by routing undeliverable mail to Emdeon’s processing facility.

Jason Bailey
Collections and Customer Service Coordinator
Patient Financial Services
Holland Hospital

Trish Darcy
Product Manager

After This Webinar You Will Learn About:
• Strategies for preventing undeliverable mail
• Automated alternatives to a hands-on, piece-by-piece approach
• The hidden impact of undeliverable mail on your A/R days

Strategies to Conquer Returned Mail Issues to Gain Real ROI
April 9, 2013
12:00-1:00pm CDT

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Webinar: Streamline Eligibility to Offset Reduced Disproportionate Share Hospital Program Payments

Join us for a live webinar! To subsidize the cost of care provided to uninsured patients, many charitable and safety-net hospitals receive funds through Medicaid and Medicare Disproportionate Share Hospital (DSH) programs. According to the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured, Medicaid could see up to 15 million new enrollees by 20191 due to changes in eligibility guidelines outlined in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). Since the number of uninsured and underinsured will fall dramatically beginning in 2014, the PPACA will likely decrease the amount of DSH payments distributed2. With this influx of newly eligible patients who will qualify, but who are not automatically enrolled in the program, hospitals need to streamline their eligibility and enrollment processes in order to secure payments for reimbursable care and balance possible reductions in DSH payments.

In this session, Northwestern Memorial Hospital will share strategies providers can use to streamline eligibility and enrollment at their organization to maximize revenue.

Cathleen Gebo
Director, Patient Accounting
Slidell Memorial Hospital

Amy Doyle
District Manager of Operations
Chamberlin Edmonds, an Emdeon company

After This Webinar You’ll Be Able to:
• Identify the myriad of changes to Medicaid eligibility guidelines.
• Estimate the number of patients in your community who will be newly eligible for Medicaid
• Identify where your state currently stands since each state's decision to participate is determined by federal and state leadership

Streamline Eligibility to Offset Reduced Disproportionate Share Hospital Program Payments
April 24, 2013
2:00-3:00pm CDT

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Webinar: Building a Strategic and Collaborative Team to Optimize Medicaid & Disability Eligibility and Enrollment

Join us for a live webinar! This program will explore resources available to help proactive and forward-thinking hospitals address the reimbursement risk associated with their uninsured patient population. By optimizing processes and leveraging technology enabled professional services to discover funding sources through federal, state and community benefit programs, providers can become advocates for the uninsured in their communities. Provider organizations should also develop a strategic plan before implementing new processes that ensures that clinical, administrative and outsourced staff are encouraged to work together to share and reapply best practices and identify Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to monitor long-term success.

In this session, Sky Lakes Medical Center will share their experiences and strategies for optimizing eligibility verification and enrollment for qualified patients to improve the providers’ bottom line.

Kara Kaefring
Director of Patient Access
Sky Lakes Medical Center

Ezra Segura
Regional Vice President of Operations
Chamberlin Edmonds, an Emdeon company

After This Webinar You’ll Be Able to:
• Build a collaborative team designed to share and reapply eligibility and enrollment best practices
• Describe why most patients who are qualified for government and charity care won’t ever apply without your help cutting through the red-tape
• Discuss how to put staff and workflow processes in place to assist indigent patients in qualifying for public assistance programs

Building a Strategic and Collaborative Team to Optimize Medicaid & Disability Eligibility and Enrollment

March 27, 2013
12:00-1:00pm CDT

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Get Ready to Take the Wheel

EFT Mandates: What You Need to Know When You’re In Control

We may only be in the early months of 2013, but it’s not too soon to set your sights on January 1, 2014. That’s the day you take the wheel, driving the decision on how you receive payments from payers: electronically or by check. By the appointed date, payers must be in compliance with the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) standardized guidelines for Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) enrollment and transmitting transactions, as part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA).

As part of the coming standards, payers will not only have to pay by EFT if requested by providers, but they must also offer electronic EFT enrollment. They must also comply by using Corporate Credit or Deposit Entry (CCD) with Addenda Record (CCD+Addenda) as the standard data transmission format to originate an EFT for healthcare payments through the Automated Clearing House (ACH) network. Importantly for you, the Addenda Record must include a Trace Reassociation Number (TRN), so you can match Electronic Remittance Advice (ERA) and EFT files together. These measures will help you reconcile these payments within your accounting systems.

The intention behind these new standards is to simplify the healthcare system by improving efficiencies for providers, payers and patients. Undoubtedly, you stand to benefit from the ability to demand payments by EFT via the ACH network. Direct deposits hold many advantages for you because they:
• Improve cash flow since electronic payments are virtually immediate eliminating the time you spend today waiting for checks to clear
• Minimize opportunity for error since the TRN will help link the ERA with the corresponding EFT payment
• Reduce workload by eliminating the labor involved with paper check processing

That’s all good news for organizations like yours that are constantly striving to improve collections.

Payers must comply by 1/1/14. The question is…will you be ready to be in the driver’s seat to demand payments electronically? While payers have more to contend with this in preparation for this deadline, your To Do list is relatively short. Nonetheless, you’ll be well served to be ready when 2014 comes around.

1. Make the decision now to go with EFT from your payers.
In determining your preference now, you have more time to anticipate the positive changes and benefits to come. Decide what account or accounts you will use for direct deposits so that you are ready when the time comes.

2. Express your preference for EFT to your payers now.
In communicating your request to receive direct deposits now, you will incent payers to move forward efficiently in adopting necessary changes. There may be some payers who achieve compliance in advance of the deadline, empowering you with EFT sooner than January of next year.

3. Enroll for and accept ACH payments.
If your organization is not already enrolled for ACH payments, take care of that immediately. Payers will be able to identify providers already enrolled and this will put you ahead of the curve by deadline.

4. Review workflows in preparation for elimination of paper check processing.
Once you are able to receive all payer payments by EFT, your staff’s time and energies can be diverted to other tasks. In addition to not processing paper checks, your team will benefit from the efficiency of the TRN that matches ERA and EFT. Review and plan ahead for how electronic payments will alter and improve your workflows and staffing.

5. Enroll with Emdeon ePayment
If you’re ready to start receiving payments electronically sooner than 2014, Emdeon ePayment can help you do just that. Since enrolling directly with each and every payer to get paid electronically can be a paperwork nightmare, Emdeon makes it easy. Just enroll ONCE, and get awesomely fast payments from the 88 Emdeon ePayment participating payers and automatically enjoy additional payers as we continually add more. Instead of receiving checks in the mail, you can get payments from participating payers directly deposited into your organization’s bank account. Visit us online to complete your enrollment today. Or give us a ring at 866.506.2830 with any questions you might have.

Article References:


CMS Rule Seeks to Streamline EFT and Remittance

Administrative Simplification: Adoption of Operating Rules for Health Care Electronic Funds Transfers (EFT) and Remittance Advice Transactions

(H. Applicability. 1. Covered Entities: Health Plans, Health Care Clearinghouses, and Health Care Providers)

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Return on Investment for Return Mail Management:

Invest Time, Resources to Conquer Returned Mail Issues to Gain Real ROI

So, where’s your stash...and how big is it?

You know what we’re talking about: that stash of returned mail that nobody on your staff has time to deal with. Is it taking up half of the conference room or maybe the entire square footage of an empty office? Would you describe the amount as ‘mountainous’ or ‘colossal’?

Don’t hang your head in shame thinking about how to answer those questions. You and your organization are not alone! Provider offices, health systems and businesses of all kinds share in the struggle of finding the correct addresses for mailing patient statements. It seems mailed statements are like boomerangs, coming right back to the places they started from and leaving teams like yours with the daunting task of rectifying the address errors in attempt to collect.

The reality is those stacks of mail aren’t just annoyances. They represent revenue that is going uncollected, affecting cash flow and the overall financial health of your organization. Rather than turn off the light and shut the door on your returned mail stash, it’s time to shed some light on ways to rein in the problem and start chipping away at the piles of returned statements burdening your business.

Here are some simple ways you can invest in return mail management.

Don’t trust; verify!
Yes, we know the saying actually is “trust but verify.” However, that approach won’t put a dent in that 116 cubic feet of return mail in the back office! You must ask patients for their mailing addresses and verify those addresses at every point of contact possible. During appointment scheduling, registration, discharge and at follow-up visits you should verify addresses whenever possible.

Fix the suffixes. Correct the directionals. Focus on the “four.”
Be sure that addresses include proper suffixes, such as Road, Lane or Street. Likewise, determine if the street address requires a directional notation, i.e. North, South, East or West. Never disregard apartment or unit numbers, and be sure of street names’ spelling. And what about those four extra digits on the zip code? Don’t ignore their value in ensuring your mail gets where it needs to go. All of these details can be the keys to avoiding your mail’s return trip, so don’t underestimate their importance.

Details to include for quality addresses:
• Pre-directional
• Primary address number
• Street name
• Street suffix
• Post-directional
• Secondary identifier
• Secondary number
• City
• State
• ZIP + 4® code

If unsure, don’t send.
It’s a safe bet that a fair percentage of your returned statements should have never been sent in the first place. If you can’t verify the accuracy or confirm essential details of addresses, it’s advisable to not mail out statements to those addresses at all. It costs time, money and labor to prepare, process, send and receive returned mail on top of the original mailing expenses.

If you need a little help with your undeliverable patient statements, consider using Emdeon Return Mail Manager at your facility. It expedites patient receivables cash flow by quickly identifying updated addresses and mailing corrected statements previously returned as undeliverable.

Using Emdeon Return Mail Manager, you can route undeliverable mail to Emdeon’s processing facility where returned statements are scanned and a subsequent, corrected statement is mailed if an updated address is identified. These automated tools are far more efficient and effective than a hands-on, piece-by-piece approach. And you can reclaim your conference room!

Feeling inspired to diminish that stash of returned mail? Discover more about Emdeon Return Mail Manager online or call us at 877.EMDEON.6 (877.363.3666).

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Emdeon Awarded Health and Human Services Contract to Define Process for Electronic Healthcare Transaction Standards

Emdeon, a leading provider of healthcare revenue and payment cycle management and clinical information exchange solutions, has been awarded a contract to define the processes and tools needed to move electronic healthcare transaction standards to a new version. Under the contract, Emdeon will develop and execute an analytical methodology for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to estimate the industry impact of moving to a new version of electronic transaction standards. The recommended process will be submitted prior to the standards development organization proposing adoption by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to the National Committee on Vital and Health Statistics.

The purpose of the project is to define the activities when new HIPAA and ACA transaction standards are adopted to avoid the implementation issues that have been associated with revised transaction standards in the recent past. According to CMS, the intent of the project is to greatly reduce the likelihood of technical issues going undetected until after the standards are adopted and to eliminate the negative impacts such technical issues would have on the healthcare industry. Under the terms of the agreement, Emdeon will analyze the functionality, usability, interoperability and business usage of a sample of draft versions of HIPAA standards for the following healthcare transactions: claims, claim status, claim payment/remittance advice, eligibility and referral authorizations, as well as any new standard that HHS may consider for adoption during the term of the project.

"We are pleased to work with HHS on such a high-visibility project and lend our industry experience to help avoid costly implementation interruptions that could potentially save the healthcare industry millions of dollars," said Debbi Meisner, vice president of regulatory strategy for Emdeon. "As the single largest clinical, financial and administrative health information exchange in the U.S. healthcare system, Emdeon's extensive experience will enable us to identify and correct potential technical issues during all phases of the transition to a new version of the transaction standards."

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An Industry Pro Advises: Outsource Patient Statements

Insights from a Long-time Emdeon ExpressBill Customer

“There’s no way you can compete with the quality and cost of a resource like this.”

That’s what Larry Mlynarcik has to say about Emdeon ExpressBill Services versus in-house management of patient statements.

And Mlynarcik should know. With 15+ years of experience with the Emdeon ExpressBill Services as well as 38 years as a medical billing expert, he has firsthand knowledge about what it takes to get patient statements mailed and revenue collected effectively and efficiently. Mlynarcik is President and Owner of Custom Data Services, Inc. (CDS), a company specializing in the management of medical billing for providers in all facets of patient care.

CDS sends 50 to 60 thousand patient statements each month on behalf of physician’s practices, hospitals and specialists, and in years past, before the rise of online delivery and payments, the company sent between 80 and 100 thousand statements monthly. Prior to discovering the turnkey automation of ExpressBill, Mlynarcik and his team handled all that mailing in-house, including the purchase and maintenance of massive equipment and supplies. The system was burdensome, time-consuming, labor intensive and expensive. In Mlynarcik’s words, “the associated costs were nuts.”

“So much spent on equipment and labor…,” he recalls.

Mlynarcik made the switch to the outsourced services of ExpressBill back in the mid-1990s and has never looked back at the old system or away from the solution that changed how he does business. The savings with ExpressBill was immediate and significant, assurance out of the gate that outsourcing was the right decision and the only way to go long term.

“I could not do this internally at the same costs. It eliminates the need for equipment, labor, paper costs…and processing time is shorter.”

After more than 15 years, Mlynarcik continues to be pleased with the advantages of Emdeon’s ExpressBill Services. He says that the service that wowed him more than a decade ago has only improved, incorporating technological advancements, new features such as the National Change of Address verification (NCOALink) and digital printing and improved statement design. And he’s so convinced, he has some clear advice for any organization still relying on its own devices for statement printing and mailing: “It’s foolish to do this in-house. If you’re doing it manually, you need to change.”

Based on Mlynarcik’s experience at CDS, here are three reasons you should heed his words and leave the statements to Emdeon.

1. Substantial cost savings.
Cutting the cost of equipment, supplies, maintenance and labor is bound to improve your bottom line dramatically. Over time, the savings served CDS very well, as the company didn’t have to staff for this kind of labor any more or allocate office space to house massive equipment and supplies. To this day, the efficiencies of outsourcing help CDS contain its costs while still serving clients seamlessly.

2. Improved collections.
Improved collections will come from a more effective, timely statement approach, and the dollar figures become even more compelling. By letting Emdeon, experts in statement creation and dissemination, hold the reins, you benefit from Emdeon’s resources and focused knowledge and know-how. Our solutions are designed to help you create more effective statements, help find the latest mailing addresses for recipients, send all mail promptly and trace updated address for returned mail if possible. All this is essential to collect payment from patients.

3. Improved customer satisfaction.
For CDS, clients are providers’ offices, so every statement sent is a representation of both CDS and those who’ve entrusted their billing to the company. Mlynarcik says that Emdeon always “shows us to be a professional company,” and he has the happy clients to prove it. Likewise, patients appreciate prompt, clear, well-designed statements received at proper addresses; it makes the collections process more simple for them and you. As the healthcare industry faces more and more patient payment responsibility, it’s essential that providers hone the methods by which they communicate and collect.

Mlynarcik concludes, “Explore what Emdeon can do if you’re experiencing customer service, technology or quality problems. They compete well in market with their pricing levels and will help you get started cost-effectively.”

Take an expert’s advice. Go hands-off with your statement processing. Contact Emdeon today to learn more about Emdeon ExpressBill Services.

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Three Indicators Your Patient Billing Portal Needs a Makeover

...And What You Can Do About It Today!

Technology within your organization’s business operations is only helpful if it simplifies processes for you, your staff and your patients. For example, our industry is rapidly adopting patient billing portals as a more convenient, easy option for transmitting payments and keeping patients apprised of the status of their accounts. It makes sense that web-based payments and account access is a useful technology for the business of healthcare; it’s a win-win for providers and patients alike.

Or is it?

When online patient payment technology is working like it should, there’s often no question of its helpfulness to an organization. But some providers’ patient billing portals aren’t living up to their fullest potential, leaving something to be desired when it comes to process simplification.

So how’s your solution performing for you and your patients? Here are three key indicators to help you determine if your patient billing portal—or your processes for using it—are in need of some changes.

1. It’s not being used
Many providers report that their patient billing portals received almost immediate use by patients, even without campaigns to promote their availability, because people today are so accustomed to online account management and making web-based payments. If your patients aren’t adopting your billing portal or aren’t coming back to use it after a first login, there’s likely a barrier (or two or three) in their way.

Look at your portal from a user’s point of view. Is it easily accessible through the home page of your main website? Does it carry the same branding and visual elements found on all other patient communications? Does it appear secure and offer statements assuring privacy and security? Is the login process intuitive and is it a breeze to retrieve forgotten login credentials? Is the graphical interface well designed and easy to use? If the answer is no to any of these questions, it’s time to consider changes...and fast.

2. Accounts are not updated automatically.
Perhaps the most important advantage of online payment portals is real-time account updates. This is beneficial for provider and patient, as both can access accounts 24/7 for current status information. If your portal is not immediately reflecting updates, it’s time to review your solution.

Are you required to send your solution provider post-payment information so that accounts may be updated? Again, technology is most helpful when it simplifies processes; if you’re required to take even one extra step to complete what should be an automatic, closed-loop transmittal, it’s time to review your solution.

3. It’s not user-friendly on smart phones or tablets.
Mobile accessibility is essential for any business in today’s marketplace—including healthcare. In the fourth quarter of 2012, smart phone shipments rose 36% to 219 million, and the tablet market grew 75.3% over the same period the previous year. In other words, it’s likely that your patients are using mobile devices to keep track of their accounts with your organization.

It’s imperative that your portal offer mobile detection so that it configures to fit the screen on which it’s being seen. If your portal’s interface is clunky, awkward and not suited for mobile’s touch screen interactions, you will miss countless opportunities to collect and deepen the satisfaction of those you’re seeking to serve, while also training portal users not to return to the site because it lacks functionality.

The best way to avoid these shortcomings in your patient billing portal is to partner with a company that has the technical expertise, healthcare-specific knowledge and implementation know-how to do it right. Emdeon Patient Pay Online is a tool designed with both provider and patient in mind.

Emdeon ensures that Emdeon Patient Pay Online integrates seamlessly with providers’ websites; from consistent branding to superior system interoperability, this solution hits all the marks. It’s patient friendly, effectively assures users of security and privacy, guiding them to make payments and track account status and helping them feel empowered regarding what they owe.

Importantly, Emdeon is well-versed in system integration so that accounts reflect updates as immediately as possible. Emdeon’s solution works with most major hospital software to aid in conveyance of the most current collections information across organizations’ platforms. Emdeon Patient Pay Online not only helps providers collect more revenue promptly, but it also helps them manage the revenue cycle, as well.

We’d be happy to help you audit your current solution to determine what’s best for you and your patients. Contact us today to learn more about Emdeon Patient Pay Online!

Article References:
Smartphone sales surged in fourth quarter, led by Samsung

Tablet Shipments Soar to Record Levels During Strong Holiday Quarter, According to IDC

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