Emdeon Voice Pay is Here

Introducing Emdeon Voice Pay, an automated, interactive phone service that allows patients to make payments from anywhere, anytime over the phone. With this latest addition to our Patient Connect suite of services, you can accept patient payments online, by mail, at the point-of-service and now through the phone too!

Emdeon Voice Pay helps improve patient satisfaction by providing more payment flexibility. Patients can use their credit card, debit card or checking account information to make a payment. Emdeon Voice Pay enables patients to quickly make payments over the phone whether your organization’s business office is open or closed. Emdeon Voice Pay also provides a convenient payment alternative for patients without an internet connection to access online bill payment.

Emdeon Voice Pay also improves profitability by automating the payment collection process. Your organization can realize cost savings after implementation by redirecting calls normally handled by customer service to Emdeon Voice Pay. In addition, costly payment posting and billing errors associated with manually processing payments are virtually eliminated.

Emdeon Voice Pay is even more valuable when used in conjunction with Emdeon’s integrated patient billing and payment solution, Emdeon Patient Connect. The combination of Emdeon Voice Pay and Emdeon Patient Connect provides a turnkey solution for patient billing and payment, including a postable 835 (or other file format) to automate the entire patient billing and payment process.

Call 877.EMDEON.6 (877.363.3666) or visit us online to discover how Emdeon Voice Pay can help improve profitability by automating payment collection and processing.

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U.S. Healthcare Efficiency Index® Advisory Council Issues National Progress Report on Healthcare Efficiency

For more than a year, the Advisory Council for the U.S. Healthcare Efficiency Index® (USHEI) has asked the healthcare industry, "What would you do with $30 Billion?" as a way to raise awareness of the potential savings from the administrative side of healthcare.

The USHEI Advisory Council recently released new findings that suggest the needle is starting to move more rapidly on electronic adoption, though there is still much work to be done. The USHEI National Progress Report on Healthcare Efficiency suggests continued progress on the adoption of electronic medical claims which, according to the sample cited in the report, are being transmitted at a current rate of 85%, which is a 10% increase over the USHEI Phase 1 findings released in December 2008. Likewise, adoption of electronic remittance advice transactions stands at 46%, which is significantly higher than the 26% estimate from Phase 1.

The USHEI is an industry forum for monitoring business efficiency in healthcare and tracking the transition from a paper- and phone-based healthcare system to an electronic one. It is governed by an independent Advisory Council responsible for overseeing the effort, developing the data collection methodology and reporting on progress across the healthcare industry.

The administrative simplification provisions of the recently signed healthcare reform law call for additional electronic business transactions, such as electronic funds transfer (EFT) payments, to be adopted by the industry. The new law also requires more uniform standards and a set of operating rules for all covered electronic transactions. The USHEI will continue to serve as a central reference for tracking progress and the cost savings associated with electronic adoption, including the transactions called for by the healthcare reform law.

"The report will show you how we are working as one interdisciplinary team focused on one big goal," said USHEI Advisory Council member Jane Sarasohn-Kahn of THINK-Health. "Along the journey toward efficiency, Americans will realize improved convenience, quality and cost-savings. And they'll get the sort of health system they expect as modern, online tax-paying, bill-paying, healthcare consumers."

The USHEI National Progress Report on Healthcare Efficiency represents a snapshot of the progress of the USHEI. Phase 1, launched by Emdeon (NYSE: EM) in December 2008, focused on analyzing industry data available through research reports and other sources. Phase 1 included five basic medical claims-related transactions: Claims Submission, Eligibility Verification, Claim Status, Claim Payment and Remittance Advice.

Phase 2, launched last summer, marked the beginning of primary data collection with major healthcare payers. To facilitate the data collection process, the USHEI team spent several months developing its National Data Collection Center which allowed participants to self-report transaction data through a secure, password protected web portal. Non-identifiable data was sent to statisticians at Scheuren – Ruffner, where it was aggregated and analyzed. The USHEI Advisory Council, under the guidance of the statisticians, worked to develop a data collection methodology which would then be tested using a smaller sample of payers and transactions. Once the analysis is completed on the smaller sample, outreach will begin to the entire payer community to complete data collection and analysis on the remaining transactions.

Initial findings are based on data gathered from an initial sample of 113 payers that includes two large national payers and over 100 medium and small regional payers. This data sample is estimated to represent approximately 122 million covered lives or about 40 percent of the U.S. population.

Key findings discussed in the USHEI National Progress Report on Healthcare Efficiency include:
1. Continued progress on adoption of electronic medical claims. The data shows a current electronic rate of 85%, which represents a 10% increase over the Phase 1 findings.

2. Adoption of electronic remittance advice transactions is also higher. The data shows a current electronic rate of 46% as compared to 26% in Phase 1.

3. Continuum of Automation: Calculating the cost differences between manual and electronic healthcare transactions is becoming more complex. Rarely is a provider practice purely manual or purely electronic, and a provider's place along the continuum can vary. Stakeholders must understand all the components of healthcare transactions to remove costs and enhance the value of those transactions.

4. System level cost reduction. Approaching the systemic inefficiencies in healthcare to decrease overall costs is critical to help avoid the continual cost shift among healthcare industry stakeholders that has plagued healthcare for so long.

5. Clinical and Administrative Convergence. "Meaningful Use" requirements are expected to drive further adoption of electronic claims and eligibility transactions. The inclusion of these administrative transactions as a part of "Meaningful Use" reflects the ongoing convergence of clinical and financial information, which is an important trend in the evolution of health information exchange.

6. Pragmatic Solutions. Federal healthcare reform provisions enacted this year include some administrative simplification elements, such as a mandate for electronic funds transfer payments. These practical provisions enjoy broad bipartisan support and were scored favorably as "pay-fors" by the Congressional Budget Office.

7. Reporting. Automating basic administrative transactions and measuring progress on adoption can be an important and impactful first step to real cost savings.

8. Change is hard. But for the nation's healthcare system, not changing will be much harder. With Medicare Trust Fund Reserves expected to be exhausted by 2017 and 41 states currently facing mid-year budget shortfalls, it is critical to capture tangible savings today wherever possible.

While work continues to expand the data set and analysis, the initial findings in the USHEI National Progress Report provide a new baseline for tracking progress and validation of the data collection methodology. This methodology can now be scaled for a more complete set of payers and then beyond to other healthcare stakeholders.

Plans are already underway for later phases of the USHEI, including development of a Pharmacy Efficiency and Adherence Index.

"Monitoring the progress of healthcare efficiency through channels like the National Progress Report only stands to increase awareness of this vitally important issue," said Miriam Paramore, Emdeon senior vice president of corporate strategy and government services. "Today's report shows that electronic adoption in healthcare is trending upward, but opportunities for significant cost savings still exist. As we move towards a more efficient healthcare system, it will take everyone in the industry working together to achieve this goal. That is real healthcare reform."

Download the full USHCEI National Progress Report.

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Five Critical Strategies for Providers to Transition from Paper to Paperless Patient Billing & Payment

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The world has changed. On any given day—at any given moment, millions of people are online, checking bank accounts, paying bills electronically, conducting web-based transactions and getting statements via email or secure login systems. With every point-and-click, payables and receivables draw closer together, and the world moves further from paper dependency to paperless fluency.

It’s no wonder most of us now embrace and expect technology to make our lives easier. One such example is electronic funds transfer (EFT)—for financial transactions in both personal and professional life. Not only do advancements like EFT provide convenience and immediate gratification by accommodating real-time movement of money, they exponentially heighten the accuracy of those transactions. By circumventing potential human error, electronic communications and transactions are more reliable, efficient and secure.

Countless market sectors, from institutional services to…

Download the entire white paper report.

To find out more about Emdeon Patient Connect or see how Emdeon is Simplifying the Business of Healthcare contact us today at 877.EMDEON.6 (877.363.3666) or visit us online.


Anatomy of a Patient Friendly Bill

Practical Lessons in Success from Seattle's Northwest Hospital & Medical Center

“Patients need clear, understandable statements...sent out in a timely fashion. It has made a huge difference for us.”

To hear Janet Walthew discuss the topic, it seems so simple. You see, Walthew is the Director of Patient Financial Services at Seattle’s Northwest Hospital & Medical Center, an organization that has successfully transitioned to a patient-friendly billing model. Walthew and Revenue Cycle Senior Director, Mike Smith, led Northwest Hospital’s shift from an approach focused on major payers to a system keenly in tune with today’s patient-consumers.

So—just what did Walthew, Smith and the Northwest Hospital team do? They leveraged industry best-practices, consulted patients and found a new billing partner in order to create clear and concise financial communications.

Keeping the patient-friendly billing standards outlined by the Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA) in mind, the hospital designed several sample statements and surveyed patients to better understand which format most clearly communicated the information. Based on their input, the statement format was finalized.

The next step for Northwest Hospital was to find a partner who could implement its customized patient statement. This was not an easy task.

In the past, patient statements were relatively easy to produce since most of the information was pulled directly from one data file. To present the information in a more patient-friendly manner, the new statement required complex information processing – pulling data from six files and summarizing the content as needed. After contacting eight companies about printing and mailing the new statements, only Emdeon was able to comply with the requested design and manage the complex web of reporting required to generate the patient statements.

When the new statement was introduced, Northwest Hospital helped current account holders understand their new bill by providing a patient statement guide. This reference tool included an image of a sample statement with call-outs to identify the most important pieces of information on statements.

Since Northwest Hospital implemented a more succinct, plainly stated and well-designed patient statement, the hospital has enjoyed improved receivables, reduced volumes of patient inquiries—and a much healthier revenue cycle all around.

Below includes a list of the patient statement best-practices that Northwest Hospital implemented in order to become a patient friendly billing institution. How does your current statement compare?

a. Use unique fonts, color and capitalization for section headers.
On Northwest Hospital’s past statement layout, it was hard to quickly find information since section headers were the same font size as variable data. Northwest Hospital’s new statement features headers in a green font nearly two times larger than the black variable text. This helps patients visually categorize information and follow content easily.

b. Organize content in a logical order.
A glance at Northwest Hospital’s past bill could be overwhelming, as it contained minimal financial summaries and presented the information in a letter format. In contrast, the new layout eases customers into the details – beginning with basic account identifiers, to a summary of charges, then a detailed listing of itemized charges, ending with the patient’s outstanding balance.

c. Communicate that the insurance claim has been processed.
This clearly communicates that the insurance company has successfully processed the claim and the amount due listed on the statement is truly the patient’s responsibility to now pay.

d. Provide a summary of services and a subtotal of charges.
Northwest Hospital’s new bill includes a “Patient Services Provided” section on the left side of the statement that provides a general summary of charges such as “Pharmacy” and “Room Charges” along with subtotals for each.

e. Separate more detailed information from overview sections.
Northwest Hospital created a separate “Account Information” section located on the right side of the statement that provides more specific information. This section starts with the top-line charges (total from “Patient Services Provided”) minus insurance and patient payments previously applied. Finally, the remaining patient balance is listed.

f. Visually call out the amount you are requesting the patient to pay.
Northwest Hospital’s bill makes the “amount due” hard to miss. The bottom portion of the bill is green with a white call-out box reserved for this all-important total.

g. Use a call to action when highlighting the amount to be paid.
Previously, Northwest Hospital’s patient bill stated “Total Amount Due”. While accurate, this does not give instruction to patients about what to do with this information. On Northwest Hospital’s new bill, “Please Pay This Amount” clearly communicates what patients need to do.

h. Include a “Contact Us” section.
Clearly communicate all of the options available (by phone, by email, online, etc.) and provide your customer service hours of operation.

i. Give simple, quick alternatives to pay.
Northwest Hospital added a credit card payment form at the top of the patient statement that is pre-populated with customer information. Patients only need to add their credit card information and mail the payment stub to complete the transaction.

Pay-by-phone and internet based payment options with directions were also added to the patient statement to encourage the use of automated payment collection.

Emdeon is the leading provider of integrated Patient Billing & Payment Solutions that help healthcare professionals, like Smith and Walthew at Northwest Hospital, optimize their cash flow management while reducing administrative costs. To learn more about Emdeon ExpressBill Services and the entire suite of integrated patient billing and payment solutions call 877.EMDEON.6 (877.363.3666) or visit us online.


Emdeon Achieves CAQH CORE Phase II Compliance

Emdeon has achieved compliance with the CAQH® Committee on Operating Rules for Information Exchange (CORE) Phase II rules. CAQH, a nonprofit alliance of health plans and trade associations, is a catalyst for industry collaboration on initiatives that simplify healthcare administration for health plans and providers, resulting in a better care experience for patients and caregivers. Emdeon achieved CORE Phase I compliance in March 2007.

CORE Phase II sets industry-wide standards that improve electronic administrative information exchange between health plans and providers. Both CORE Phase I and Phase II were designed by CAQH to resolve communication disparities created by original Health Information Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) regulations. Persistent ambiguity in language and code sets from payer to payer has perpetuated healthcare IT inefficiencies and made adoption of electronic solutions especially challenging, labor intensive and expensive for providers that must interact with multiple payers.

As a leading provider of electronic healthcare transaction processing, Emdeon has long provided technology solutions to manage the flow of information between healthcare payers and providers and bridged the gaps caused by disparate rules for data exchange. In achieving CORE Phase II compliance, Emdeon furthers its position as an industry leader committed to healthcare efficiency and broadens its capabilities to transact information in accordance with industry standards.

"Our CORE Phase II compliance is not only good news for the thousands of providers and payers we interact with daily, it ultimately benefits patients whose care may be improved as their healthcare providers and payers can more easily exchange essential electronic information," explains Damien Creavin, chief information officer of Emdeon.

Creavin continued, "Emdeon is dedicated to reducing costs involved in the claim lifecycle and simplifying the business of healthcare— with the goal of making the system more efficient and affordable."

CAQH launched CORE to promote interoperability between healthcare payers and providers and to improve provider access to administrative information. The CORE rules are being developed by over 115 participating organizations, representing providers, vendors, health plans, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, state and federal government agencies, associations, standard-setting organizations and other healthcare organizations. More than 20 leading health plans, large provider groups and technology vendors committed to completing Phase II rules certification on or before the end of March 2010. Emdeon is among these organizations.

"The CORE Phase II rules represent a transparent, consensus-based national approach to an expanded set of operating rules for electronic administrative transactions among providers, health plans and vendors," said Robin Thomashauer, CAQH executive director. "By completing CORE Phase II certification, Emdeon is making it easier for everyone to exchange real-time administrative transactions more effectively, thereby improving efficiency and freeing up time for physicians to focus on their patients."

To learn more about Emdeon, call 877.EMDEON.6 (877.363.3666) or visit us online.


Transparency in Healthcare: Patient Responsibility Estimation Best Practices

Attend an HFMA Webinar to Learn More

Delivering accurate and timely information to patients about their financial responsibility is becoming increasingly important as the shift to consumer-directed and high-deductible health plans continues to accelerate. Ensuring transparency in the price of healthcare can have a positive impact for providers by accelerating revenue collection and reducing the risk of bad debt. Communicating estimated out-of-pocket expenses early in the provider/patient encounter also empowers patients to make informed decisions about their care and payment options.

Register now to attend an HFMA Webinar July 29th 2:00 to 3:30 pm CDT to hear more about this topic! Moses Taylor Health Care System will share best practices and recommendations for using patient responsibility estimation to shape internal policies and processes to maximize results.


Adding Value to Emdeon ExpressBill Services

The IntelliJet™ Printing System

Emdeon is pleased to announce the arrival of the next generation in printing technology, which will expand and improve the capabilities of Emdeon ExpressBill Services to accelerate patient statement printing and provide more communication opportunities, all with an exceptional level of system reliability and accuracy.

Maximize communication opportunities with custom statement messaging
Save money by communicating with your patients directly through their statements instead of paying extra for separate mailings. With this sophisticated printing technology, Emdeon can print statements that include customized messages at the batch, group or individual statement level.

Greater statement design flexibility
With this new printing system, statement information such as standard legal disclaimers or letterhead design can be quickly updated to accommodate your needs. This added flexibility in statement design also provides cost savings by eliminating the additional fees for destroying unused preprinted paper stock.

Advanced print quality for razor sharp, vibrant patient statements
The Pitney Bowes®IntelliJet™ Printing System prints full-color statements in a high resolution (1200 x 600 dpi resolution) which produces sharp logos and imagery with crystal clear text. Emdeon will also be able to accommodate nearly any request for adding four-color printing to either side of the statement to produce eye-catching patient statements.

Accelerate patient payments with expedited insertion into the United States Postal Service® mailstream
Emdeon will be able to get statements into the United States Postal Service® mailstream more quickly. Since the IntelliJet™ Printing System integrates with advanced presorting software and eliminates the need for preprinted forms, statement printing, processing and delivery is accelerated.

Closed loop processing for greater print and mail precision
The IntelliJet™Printing System offers an unmatched level of system integrity and process control. A closed-loop workflow monitors the entire process from beginning to end, to help ensure statement accuracy. With this advanced printing system, you can also get peace of mind knowing your patient statement printing and mailing can seamlessly continue to function with enhanced reliability using our secure network of redundant back-up servers.