HIPAA, the 2003 law that mandated new security procedures for patient records,
brought medical billing into the twenty-first century by requiring the electronic
submission of bills. Initially regarded as administrative red tape, HIPAA has
proved a blessing in disguise for the industry. With the help of medical
billing services, clinics are going electronic and netting higher returns
Billing Services Offer a Direct Route to HIPAA Compliance
The federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) compelled
the industry to adopt more efficient administrative processes. In an effort
to comply with the complex web of regulations, many clinics turn to external
services. These services bring to the table the expertise to implement
the new standard. As one analyst puts it, Outsourcing infuses an organization
with best practices, enabling far more efficiency and benefits than incremental
changes over time. In other words, health practitioners avoid the growing
pains of learning a new system and reap the benefits of efficient records
One of the biggest leaps forward in medical billing was HIPAAs advocacy of
electronic claims submission. Bringing medical records management online
reduces error and increases returns dramatically. Billing
the following benefits for their clients through electronic billing:
- Electronic claims are paid in less than twenty-one days, compared to an
average of ninety days using paper submission.
- Switching to electronic submission
reduces outstanding receivables by an average
of sixty percent.
- Electronic claims cost an average of eighty-five cents
per claim, less than half of the $1.85 it takes to file a paper claim and
the $2.05 cost
claims requiring manual review.
Given these benefits, its no wonder more than three-quarters of health insurance
claims are submitted electronically, up from twenty-four percent in 1995.
Finding a HIPAA-Savvy Billing Service
To ensure that your business takes advantage of these benefits, look for a
third-party medical billing service adept in HIPAA compliance. Medical
billing experts recommend asking the following questions of your billing
- Can you point to specific steps youve taken in response to HIPAA?
- Are your
agents trained in HIPAA compliance? Do they understand the impact of the
regulations on the delivery of medical
- How do you ensure
the security of patient information?
- What medical
billing software do you
use? Is it compatible with my in-house records management applications?
you offer comprehensive patient records management services?
The complex regulatory environment of healthcare records management demands
an efficient and accurate billing system. A medical
billing services partner
can help streamline the billing process. Electronic claims submissions have
accounted for huge gains across the healthcare industry. Some analysts estimate
that practitioners have saved well over two billion dollars by implementing
the standardized transactions required by HIPAA. Administrative efficiency
is just the beginning. Third-party billing
services are helping healthcare
practitioners optimize the collections process, producing a higher rate of
return than ever before.
AMBA (American Medical Billing Association)