I have a friend who starts reminded everyone in the middle of summer just how many days there are until Christmas.
Every year about this time, I take the solemn oath that this will be the year I get all my shopping and wrapping done before Thanksgiving so that I can really enjoy the holidays. With sugarplums already dancing in my head, I thought about what billers would really like for Christmas. What would really make a biller really happy to find under his or her tree? Here are the top 10 things on my “Billers’ Wish List.”
1. A standardized explanation of benefits (EOB). For years I have been perplexed as to why every medical provider in the United States must submit claims to hundreds of different insurance companies on a standardized claim form or electronic format, yet the hundreds of insurance companies do not have to use a standardized EOB?
2. One fee schedule. Having just one fee schedule to keep up with would make my job so much easier. Evaluating claim payments would take much less time and so would updating the fee schedule module in my system.
3. A shock collar functionality built into the practice-management system. When the same mistake is made by the same user more than three times, when the doctor doesn’t complete the electronic medical record before the patient checks out, or when the front desk “forgets” to ask for a payment, they would get a little jolt to remind them.
4. Electronic statements. Some billers out there are still in the dark ages when it comes to monthly patient billing and I am currently one of them, not by my choice at all though. Sending a file of statements takes only a few minutes whereas printing, folding, stuffing, and mailing paper statements can take a few hours. The cost per e-statement is very low compared to the money offices spend on printing, paper, envelopes, and staff wages to do the statements in house.
5. Co-workers who really understand how their job affects my job. Some days half of my time is spent fixing what someone else has messed up or doing what someone failed to do.
6. Truth serum for insurance customer service representatives. Wouldn’t it be so nice to know when they tell you “that claim will be reprocessed in 10 to 14 days” what they really mean is “that claim will be processed in 10 to 14 days IF I actually send it to the claims department and don’t need to deny it to meet my quota of denied claims for the week?”
7. Return phone calls when promised. If people would always return phone calls when promised, I wouldn’t have so many things on my to-do list.
8. Seminars that are actually helpful. I would love to attend a billing seminar that gives me practical how-to advice for the real world. And not so boring that I need four cups of coffee to keep myself from snoring louder than the monotone drone of the speaker.
9. A boss who shows sincere appreciation for my hard work. That should probably be number one on the list.
10. Cancellation of the ICD-10 code set. Billers have enough to do already without having to learn a new diagnosis code system.