By ERIN GAZICA, associate editor
Sometimes the best speakers are those who don't purport to know everything, who engage an audience in a discussion so that they can sort out a problem and potential solutions on their own.
A Wednesday morning session (CM1-B) aired a lot of challenges experienced by those in the industry with e-billing. The mission: to get workers' comp professionals to sit with each other at roundtables and brainstorm about scenarios, such as how to deal with unknown claims numbers and a provider's inability to submit attachments electronically.
The speakers: Lonnie Hardin, chief operations officer and executive vice president, operations, at MedAvant Healthcare, and Marie Salud, associate director, product solutions group, at StrataCare.
Hardin and Salud have been successful in their e-billing initiatives, but they recognized that problems persist for others. So rather than use their experience as a case study, they encouraged the audience to speak up about their companies' e-billing obstacles and solutions.
Salud poised this question: "To make e-billing successful, you have to have automated claims indexing. How do you do that?"
After chattering at their respective roundtables for five minutes on the question, some brave audience members volunteered their answers. One man described his solution as a data feed going to a bill-review company that will create a Web portal accessible to the provider. When a match on a claim number is not available, he said, the provider would call the carrier for the information.
Another member of the audience, however, said the solution would not work at his very large Nevada-based company. Another man griped about certain shortcuts impeding the program, such as shortening Social Security numbers to the last four digits, shortening a date of birth to just the month and day or shortening an injured worker's name to only the last name.
When Hardin discussed one of the biggest roadblocks in achieving widespread adoption for e-billing--the provider's inability to submit attachments electronically--the conversation got downright heated.
One session attendee argued that perhaps the important question is not the provider being e-attachment illiterate but the shear number of documents required for a workers' comp claim compared with healthcare claims.
"It's nuts how much paperwork we have to submit with workers' comp so we can cost justify the bill," the attendee said.
Others chimed in that cost justification was not the only reason for the difference in paperwork, but Hardin's point at the beginning of the session was becoming all the more clear: "E-billing in group health and in workers' comp is like comparing apples and oranges."
(Read our write-up and commentary
on other Wednesday sessions at the NWCDC.)
November 19, 2008
Copyright 2008© LRP Publications