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Friday, 23 May 2014 00:00

Electronic Remittance and Dentistry Featured

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electronic remittance service“Here’s a dirty little secret about healthcare: Money is a really big deal.  Practices need to be reimbursed, the lights need to be kept on, and even doctors need to get paid.”    
Benjamin Harris, Healthcare IT News

Some call it a Payment Disbursement Register (PDR), others call it an Explanation of Benefits (EOB), but when it comes to you over the wires it is an Electronic Remittance Advice (ERA) and to quote Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof, “that would be the sweetest thing of all”. 

It is the electronic communication from the insurance carrier to the dental practice on how much, for whom and when your claims have been paid.  It usually is accompanied by an Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) placing the payment for the claims directly into your bank account. 

Many dental practices still receive their insurance payments through the mail.  These consist of a check and numerous pages of paper providing the detailed breakdown of what has been paid and on whose behalf. 

The office takes this paper and dutifully records each credit into the appropriate patient’s account.  Time consuming?  Yes.  Fraught with the potential for error?  Yes.  Time spent growing your practice or caring for your patients?  None. 

There is a better way and it has been around long enough to have proved its utility and effectiveness.  

The ERA presents you with the ability to post those payments and adjustments to patient accounts with the push of a button.  Automatically.  No more paper cuts. 

The ERA/EFT combination also allows you to get paid sooner.  When carriers process payments the paper and its electronic counter-parts are produced at the same time.  Where the paper is now sorted, stuffed, stamped and assigned to the postal service for delivery, the electronic transmissions travel to you at the speed of light.  This can amount to a difference of several days. 

Which carriers are performing this magic?  Almost all of them.  HIPAA mandates that insurance companies support a group of electronic transactions and the ERA is one of these.  All you need is the appropriate software in your office to accept the transmissions and post the payments to your accounts.

The company I work for has provided this capability to our clients for almost five years and has connected many of our customers to almost all of their major carriers.  An important piece is about to be added with Regence Blue Cross Blue Shield.  Regence is a major Blue in Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Utah.  Testing is underway to connect their ERA’s with our practice software. Once complete, this carrier will be added to our ERA offering at no additional charge. 

Whether you use our software or another product you should be taking advantage of how automated ERA processing can save your staff time, collect insurance payments more quickly and reduce posting errors. 

ERA’s are a right click no matter what you call them.

Since this blog was originally posted in January 2013,  a number of additional ERA carriers have been added, most notably Regence Blue Cross/Blue Shield and Delta Dental of Washington.

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Read 1692 times Last modified on Friday, 23 May 2014 08:41
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