4 ways billing services can save your agency money and collect more unpaid bills
Learn how Sharp Ambulance Billing uses unique software to help your agency collect unpaid patient bills plus provide essential reporting data
Sponsored by Sharp Ambulance Billing
By Robert Avsec for EMS1 BrandFocus
Most billing software products on the market today don’t provide the analytic and reporting tools EMS agencies need to track patient bills accurately and at less cost.
That’s where Fair Oaks, California-based Sharp Ambulance Billing, a leader in customizable ambulance billing services for EMS agencies, can help. SAB has trained more than 30 of the top ambulance billing companies in the United States. The company uses that expertise to streamline billing processes and collect debt for private ambulance companies and the public sector using industry knowledge coupled with advanced software.
Here’s how the ambulance billing software can help your agency with its billing needs.
FIND UNPAID TRANSPORTS
SAB’s advanced reporting system can efficiently identify the typical 10 to 15 percent of an agency’s transports that have not been paid, said Barry Christian, co-owner and CEO of SAB.
This often includes billable transports that were not paid even though these transported patients had insurance coverage at the time of service. Christian said it is one of the first cost-saving measures the software finds, based on his experience working with more than 100 billing departments on conversion of their previous data from their legacy systems to a new system.
“One of the first things we do when we take over from another system is run a report that asks the software to find all the claims where somebody had insurance but didn’t pay and ‘bam,’ that’s when those claims pop up,” Christian said. “Then when we take over the billing, we continue to run those reports until they are paid. We remove the human element and automate the process of reviewing aging claims and finding those missing payments: primary, secondary or patient pays.”
This is an example of how reporting tools can find where agencies are losing money, he added.
“I’m not saying that an agency is going to collect on 100 percent of those unpaid tickets,” Christian said. “They might collect a percentage that they’ve been happy with. But what if they could get a few percentages more with the same amount of effort?”
FREES UP STAFF TIME
SAB automates to such a level that it relieves some of the strains on those staff members who are usually assigned to manually process that data.
Christian said that the resulting freed up staff time saves money and allows more work to be done on claims that need it, at a lower cost. Instead of searching for data, staff can use the SAB reporting tools to identify gaps and unpaid bills, such as those that were billed to a person’s insurance but not paid.
SAB’s custom ambulance software automates many manual processes and eliminates data entry errors. That automation improves speed and accuracy.
For example, the company’s software ensures all the required data for a particular payer is provided. This can vary by payer. This means necessary documents and data are entered prior to allowing a bill to be sent. This reduces human error so agencies can get paid faster, Christian said.
Also, all of the company’s ambulance coders, certified ambulance compliance officers and certified ambulance privacy officers are experts certified by the National Academy of Ambulance Coding. He said this is to ensure that a customer’s claims are compliant with federal and state rules, as well as all regulations.
The accuracy of claims increases revenue and reduces billing costs by minimizing claim denials, he added.
CUSTOMIZED TO MEET SPECIFIC NEEDS
Christian said the company can modify its software to meet the needs of each individual customer.
For example, the software can run customized reports. A supervisor no longer must look through a few hundred claims to identify denied claims or other unpaid claims. SAB can identify claims that have been denied and then flag them for a supervisor to review.
“If you want to know every ticket where the primary insurance paid and they have secondary insurance, and it’s been more than 45 days without payment, the system has that report. Also, it can be modified or we will create a new custom report,” he said.
The SAB technology also provides proactive data entry features, which can be programmed to specific needs. For example, a person coding a ticket easily can read all the necessary data and documents on one screen to code that ticket.
SAB reviews ePCR data and suggests missed billing items. For example while coding a claim, a person can see a patient having chest pains, enter the diagnosis code and set the procedure code to ALS1 (IV started with cardiac monitoring but no medical intervention) and be prompted to review.
“The ePCR lists that the paramedic also administered aspirin and nitroglycerine to a patient,” Christian said. “The system would flag that call and ask if the billing code should be ALS2 based on the administration of medication. The result is a properly coded billable ticket that’s far less likely to be denied or underpaid by the insurance carrier.”
ACCESS TO BILLING DATA
SAB ensures that a customer’s billing data is available 24/7.
The company provides each of its customers with a secure web portal that enables managers and supervisors to review their agency’s daily, weekly, monthly and yearly reports, as well as billing metrics. It can also be used as a tool to pass claim notes back and forth between the customer and SAB.
Christian said it’s easy to generate special reports, as SAB built and owns the software code created specifically for ambulance billing reporting software and can develop any special report an agency requests.
“We also can customize the import from any ePCR you are using today or in the future,” Christian said.
These are just a few ways the SAB billing service program helps private and public ambulance agencies improve their billing processes, lower costs, offer 24/7 access to reporting tools and ensure a higher collection rate.