Sponsored by ZOLL Data
By James Careless for EMS1 BrandFocus
In a perfect world, patients would pay for EMS help as soon as they received it. This is because the true value of emergency medical assistance is never more obvious to people than when paramedics are providing them with medical care. At this point in time, patients would be happy to pay!
But in real life, EMS agencies don’t get paid until after the patient has left their care – assuming the agencies do get paid. EMS agencies need a steady stream of revenue to keep saving lives and pay for staff, buildings and equipment. This is why agencies need billing systems that support accurate record-keeping, verification of patient insurance/Medicare coverage (or lack thereof) and automated tracking to spot delinquent accounts and collect on them promptly.
One such option is ZOLL Billing. Made by ZOLL Data, ZOLL Billing is a cloud-based EMS transport billing system that automates the processes associated with patient records, billing and collections. ZOLL Billing is specifically designed to help EMS agencies experience more operational efficiency, higher levels of revenue collection and transparency into the agency’s outstanding invoices, expected revenues and cash flow. Here’s how ZOLL Billing does it.
1. A more efficient workflow
ZOLL Billing comes with embedded workflows purpose-built for EMS revenue management. These workflows provide EMS staff with:
- Predictable, intuitive procedures for data entry.
- Fast, software-driven insurance verification.
- Automatic management of Medicare fee schedules/regional definitions and Medicare Administrative Contractor coverage (with updates).
- Account invoicing, tracking and collections (including self-pay analysis).
Using ZOLL Billing’s cloud-based platform can help eliminate the costs, errors and storage issues associated with conventional billing systems. Meanwhile, the availability of all relevant data at the billing officer’s desktop means that accurate invoices can be sent out sooner, and to the correct government, private insurance or private individuals responsible for paying these bills.
Using an automated, cloud-based system like ZOLL Billing can also help save time on in-house software updates and security patches, because ZOLL Data pushes updates as needed.
2. Increased revenue collection
Effective revenue collection starts with the precise, accurate recording of patient data and insurance/payment information. This includes quickly analyzing patient demographics against their coverage eligibility to maximize an EMS agency’s claims collections.
Next, the revenue collection software needs to have access to the most recent Medicare and private insurance payment schedules, and to update this data as needed to ensure that the EMS agency is receiving as much of its deserved revenues as possible.
For instance, ZOLL Billing includes a tool called AR Boost that automatically compares a patient’s account information against all relevant insurance providers to verify that patient’s coverage. This verification process, which typically takes a human being 30-60 minutes to perform, is executed in the background by ZOLL Billing in seconds.
The software also checks the patient’s information against credit rating reports, providing the EMS agency with the most current data about the patient’s creditworthiness and ability to pay. In doing so, ZOLL Billing can detect patient addresses that are out of date and not in use, ensuring that invoices are sent to the patient’s most current address. These automated processes help billing teams capture more revenue.
3. Gain a transparent view of your agency’s finances
In many enterprise-level billing systems, billing officers can’t get a bird’s-eye view of their cash flow until the period is closed out at month’s end. But with ZOLL Billing, this information is available any day of the week. Every time an invoice is sent out and a payment is received, ZOLL Billing has this data at hand.
The system also provides real-time information on refunds, write-offs and other revenue adjustments to help the agency monitor everything that affects how much money is at hand, what is coming in based on calendar dates and what patient accounts remain outstanding and require attention.
This is the kind of real-time data every EMS agency needs to manage their finances effectively. It allows EMS managers to make informed decisions about operating expenses and equipment acquisitions, and it can help you to understand why some accounts remain unpaid and how much can be done to recover these revenues.
It also helps agencies ensure that they are getting the full payments they deserve from Medicare and private insurance companies – and that any increases in eligible payments are added to the agency’s billing schedules.
The importance of being paid
EMS agencies are meant to save lives, not serve as collection agents. But in a world where quality of patient care is directly and inexorably linked to revenues, the effective management and collection of accounts is a mission-critical function. After all, EMS agencies who don’t get paid can’t provide the highest levels of patient care, because they can’t afford to.