Electronic Payments Fast Becoming the Norm


The past two years have ushered in a shift in the revenue stream flowing from EMS billing programs from paper checks to electronic payments.

The trend is quickly moving toward an all-electronic reimbursement method arising from the major insurance payers and their need to streamline, as well as save costs. Paper checks cost insurers dollars. Everything from printing the paper checks, stuffing, folding, mailing costs due to rising postage, loss from misrouted checks and even fraud prevention is factoring into the health insurance industry’s need to streamline the process by remitting payments electronically.

Electronic Payments Fast Becoming the Norm

Remote Check Deposit

Even when paper checks are forwarded to the provider, it’s likely that your ambulance billing office (especially if you use an outsourcing solution, like Enhanced Management Services, Inc) has already moved to a process of scanning hard copy checks to convert those payments into an electronic deposit into either a direct account or a holding account set up to benefit your EMS agency.

The digital age has ushered in so many new avenues for your billing office to interact with your EMS agency and the insurance payers that contribute to your EMS agency’s bottom line.

The Benefits

It’s not just the ambulance industry that is benefiting from the electronic shift, other healthcare providers are jumping on the electronic payment bandwagon, as well.

In an article published earlier this year in the Beckers Hospital Review, writer Helen Adamopoulos points out five benefits to moving to electronic healthcare benefits (“5 Benefits of Shifting to Electronic Healthcare Payments,” Beckers Hospital Review.com, January 22, 2014.)

Adamopoulos points out the following pluses realized by moving to electronic fund transactions which are also accompanied by electronic remittance advice notices.

  • Faster payments and better cash flow (lower accounts receivable days outstanding and faster accounts receiveable updates plus automatic deposits speed up cash availability and spee up cash flow)
  • Better Risk Management (electronic transactions eliminate the risk of paper checks getting lost or stolen.)
    Improved processing efficiency (automated data entry/posting plus reporting leads to increased accuracy and lower processing costs for your EMS billing office.)
  • Claims administration improvement (electronic transactions provide tools to help your EMS billing office manage claim denials and speed up secondary insurance filings.)
  • Enhanced company service (less time spent interacting with your billing office, no need for physical “bank runs” and less hands-on oversight is required leaving EMS agency administrators more time to focus on other areas of their business model.)

The Mechanics

Initially your EMS billing office will most likely contact your EMS agency’s administrators to secure some signed forms and probably obtain a voided check or other bank account verification information.

In 2015, your EMS billing office should be connected to a leading electronic claims clearinghouse to efficiently navigate the digital channels but in order to set up all the connections there will be a bit of paperwork submitted for your administration’s signing and maybe even a bit of coordination with your EMS agency’s banking institution to make it all happen.

The nice thing, once it’s all in place it pretty much runs on its own with very little provider time requirement. Your EMS billing office will take care of the day-to-day interaction.

Of course, you’ll want to monitor your bank statements to insure that all is flowing correctly. Dialogue between you and your EMS billing office should happen if you notice that reimbursement dollars are not adding up to the revenue reports you are provided by your EMS billing office. In addition, working with an EMS billing outsource company should include a user-friendly and secure client portal interaction experience to assist you in monitoring the digital transactions that are taking place on your behalf.

Embrace Change

It’s time to embrace change in the EMS billing industry. While we are sometimes skeptical of some changes, this one is pretty much a “no-brainer.”

So, when your EMS billing office inquires about moving to electronic payment solutions make it happen!

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