Technology is advancing quickly here in the 21st century. As a result, medical practices should take steps to upgrade the technological capabilities of their practices with fast internet access, up-to-date software and computers, otherwise, they could be left behind. EFTs – Electronic Funds Transfers EFTs help you to receive your payments electronically from health plans. This would be a big step into the future. Starting in January 1, 2014, HIPAA regulations went into effect requiring health plans to make EFT via Automatic Clearing House available to health care providers upon request and giving health care providers the right to choose the electronic payment option for claims reimbursement. That year, health plans transferred $876.6 billion in claim payments to health care providers through 149 million EFT transactions, according to data reported by the National Automatic Clearinghouse returns and Some of the advantages of getting EFTs include:

  • faster receipt of payments, often in days rather than weeks;
  • same-day access to funds deposited;
  • online documentation to reconcile payments;
  • payments made directly to a practice’s account, eliminating the need for staff to leave the office to make deposits at a bank;
  • no checks being lost in the mail; and
  • minimized possibility of HIPAA breach on patient confidentiality.

Data collected in 2014 and reported by the nonprofit alliance Council for Affordable Quality Healthcare showed that the average cost per claim was $4.15 for manual transmission and just $1.11 for electronic, resulting in a $3.04 savings per transaction. Electronic transmission of remittance advice resulted in an even greater savings, with manual transactions costing $5.36 per claim compared to $1.19 for electronic. Receiving EFT does not require special equipment or a dedicated bank account. Furthermore, EFTs are more secure than any other method of payment. Funds are transferred directly from the health plan bank account to the provider’s bank account via the ACH Network. EFTs also eliminate the risk of lost or stolen checks or stolen virtual card numbers. In addition, getting online also means becoming compliant with the regulatory mandates such as I9, EDD, and CURES. I9 Without an ability to get online, or without the most up-to-date software, some of these regulatory resources are difficult to use. For example, because of the security built into the new Form I-9, which verifies the identity and employment authorization of individuals hired for employment in the U.S., a current version of Adobe Reader 8 or higher is required to view and use the form. Several notices, brochures and forms that employers must provide to new hires are also available online. Gathering and recording these documents without internet access would be time-consuming and cumbersome. Employment Development Department (EDD) As of Jan. 1, 2017, employers with 10 or more employees are required to register with the EDD’s e-Services for Business and electronically file all wage reports and employment tax returns and electronically pay all contributions for unemployment insurance premiums. Under this new law, all employers are required to register and file by Jan. 1, 2018. CURES Other regulatory requirements that must occur electronically include registration and use of CURES, the state’s prescription drug database that tracks prescriptions of Schedules II, III and IV controlled substances, which applies to any healthcare profession with a DEA registration, and registration and annual reporting on CERS, the state’s environmental reporting system, which applies to any medical facility with an EPA registration. To upgrade your technology for your practice consider assigning the project to a delegated person or consultant who can help with EFTs setup and other electronic regulatory filing requirements and develop a plan for helping the practice move seamlessly into the new online-based practice and business requirements of the 21st century. Resources:

  • I9
  • EDD
  • Cures 2.0
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