HHS has issued an interim final rule with new standards for electronic funds transfers that the department says will reduce provider paperwork and save billions in administrative costs.
HHS sets standards for electronic funds transfers
Mandated by the healthcare reform law, these latest standards follow another final rule from HHS, issued in July 2011, that contained simplified transaction standards for checking patients' health coverage eligibility and the status of claims. In a news release, HHS said the two regulations together are projected to save the healthcare system more than $16 billion over the next decade.
HHS says the new electronic funds transfer standards will eliminate many of the inefficiencies associated with submitting claims for payment. For instance, the new rule requires the use of a trace number that will automatically link bills from providers with payments from health plans, thereby avoiding "costly manual reconciliation that must currently be done," according to the release.
"The less time a physician has to spend on paperwork is that much more time that can be devoted to patient care," Marilyn Tavenner, acting administrator of the CMS, said in the release. "Having standardized procedures across the healthcare industry can only lead to lower costs and greater efficiencies all around."
HHS said its next targets for simplification include unique identifiers for health plans and standards for claims attachments.
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