NACHA-The Electronic Payments Association has selected the chief business office of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs' Veterans Health Administration as the recipient of the 2004 Kevin O'Brien ACH Quality Award.
The VA is being recognized for its success in implementing a nationwide electronic health care remittance and payment processing system that complies with the electronic transaction standards of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA. ACH stands for Automated Clearing House.
"This has been both a collaborative and innovative effort. The NACHA award underscores VA's pioneering role in electronic payment transactions, and we are honored to be receiving it," said Kenneth Ruyle, the VA's acting chief business officer.
At its Payments 2004 conference today in Seattle, NACHA presented the award to Barbara Mayerick, director of the chief business office's business development group, which developed and deployed the electronic payments system, e-Payments.
The VA is the largest integrated health care provider in the United States. For veterans' nonservice-connected healthcare, the VA submits approximately 10 million claims every year and receives third-party payments from some 1,675 different insurers.
Along with its partners at PNC Bank and the U.S. Treasury, the VA developed e-Payments to replace paper checks and remittances. When payers submit payments electronically, VA has shown reductions in the average time from submitting claims to receiving payment of 43%, from 49 days to 28 days. Automated data entry and report generation are providing greater speed and accuracy; automated matching of payments and accounts receivable is streamlining the closeout of AR and the preparation of deposits.
The Kevin O'Brien ACH Quality Award is presented annually to recognize best practices in ACH participants' efforts to maintain and improve the quality of ACH services and the integrity and reliability of the ACH Network.
The award is named for the late Kevin O'Brien, NACHA's Chairman in 1999-2000. The ACH Network is a national electronic payments system used by the nation's 20,000 financial institutions and an estimated 4.5 million businesses and 135 million Americans.
The VA's full case study is published in NACHA's 2004 Electronic Payments Review and Buyers' Guide, available on the NACHA Web site.