In a field of work as busy and fast-paced as emergency medical services (EMS), much of the focus goes into saving lives. But when the work of saving lives is done, the administrative work has to get done, too. Proper management of resources, like finances, is key to the continuity of EMS operations. Every penny saved by being more efficient, more attentive, and more conscientious keeps the EMS department’s doors open to serve the public another day.
That’s why it is important for EMS organizations to implement technologies like ambulance billing software to enhance their control over their money matters. Doing so will help alleviate these six problems.
Delayed Billing Processes
Very few modern EMS departments in hospitals and public and private EMS providers still use manual methods for billing. But even with the implementation of technology, sometimes issues arise that keep them from being as efficient as they should be. Sometimes it’s an issue of EMS departments not knowing exactly who to bill. Other times, it’s an issue of scrambling to calculate billable treatments and tasks, alongside other extra fee reimbursements.
Any delay in the release of an accurate bill delays the collection process, which can be detrimental to organizations tight on cash flow. If one set of transactions is delayed, then more delays may follow on top of that. The right EMS billing software should easily streamline this whole billing process, thus improving efficiency and speed in billing, and ultimately prevent cash flow problems in your organization.
Gaps in Patient Care Reporting
Another problem EMS billing software could solve is the occasional mistake in patient care reporting. Those instances are where staff forget to note down patient details, confuse this patient with another, or neglect to add them to the patient care report in a timely manner. If this issue is not addressed, it could snowball and cost your organization a lot of money.
The ideal EMS billing solution will help your organization turn out complete and accurate bills all the time. It can use automation technologies and rules-based configuration to verify patient care reports for completeness so that no bill misses out on the required details.
Unmanageable Account Receivables
Account receivables is a regular pain point of EMS billing departments, but it shouldn’t be a crippling problem for the organization. Administrators should pay attention if their receivables are actually increasing and if certain customers, or certain types of customers, are taking exceptionally long to settle their debts.
One significant benefit of an ambulance billing software is that it will help your staff identify the debts that are in need of urgent resolution. Your organization will know who to prioritize for follow-up and how to address future choke points in debt settlement.
Lack of Integration with Patients’ Insurance Providers
Yet another problem that haunts EMS providers is lack of alignment with the insurance providers who foot the bill for their customers’ treatments. There is often a technology gap that prevents the streamlining of insurer’s coverage plan information and the EMS organization. This results in one common problem, where after transporting a patient, you find out that your claim is denied because the patient’s deductible has not been met.
A reliable EMS billing software should have the ability to integrate with technologies used by other partners in the provider network, like insurance companies. This will help detect whether a patient’s deductible is met, so you can choose to send the patient’s invoice to the insurance company after the patient’s deductible has been met.
Entering Incorrect or Fraudulent Information
Horror stories about billing fraud in EMS organizations may be few and far between, but they do happen. One need only look at Dallas, Texas. In 2011, the city was fined for violations against the False Claims Act and the Texas Medicaid Fraud Prevention Act because ambulances were blanket-classified as Advanced Life Support (ALS). If this is possible in your organization, you have a potential time-bomb that can damage both your finances and your organization’s reputation.
Outdated and less customizable billing systems make your EMS department more vulnerable to situations like these. You will want to invest in software has rules-based configurations to prevent transactions that lack vital details from moving through the process.
Untimely Reporting Metrics
Some EMS organizations compile financial reports and key performance metrics on a weekly or monthly basis. That means staff may be too late to address problems in cashflow or excess expenses in certain areas.
A robust EMS billing solution can help your department monitor certain key metrics based on real-time data. Further, you can use the billing solution to create tasks that enable you staff to conduct regular audits of your financial situation and your financial processes. This allows you and your staff to stay up to date and to make sure there’s always enough cashflow to keep your EMS organization running smoothly and profitably.
System upgrades for billing and financial management require an investment in time, money, and energy. But given the increasing complexities of our current healthcare situation and the constantly evolving landscape, the investment is a necessary one.