Those who work in the field of emergency medical services (EMS) know that the work of saving lives never stops. But a well-run EMS department relies on more than the physical work of tending to patients. It is just as important for the EMS organization to be on top of its money matters, namely its invoicing, billing, and collection processes.
An EMS organization that’s mastered these aspects will have enough resources to continue doing its lifesaving work unhampered. In contrast, an obsolete and disjointed financial system will make it harder for an EMS provider to manage its resources properly and to resolve payment issues for outstanding cases. Worse, if bottlenecks in payment, mistakes or delays in invoicing, or problems with insurance become extreme, an EMS organization may be forced to close its doors.
One way EMS organizations can ease stress on its staff, its partner insurers, and its patients is to invest in EMS billing software that is fully integrated with other modules. The billing solution should make it easier for staff to calculate charges per case, issue accurate invoices to the right people, and streamline medical and insurance data. Here is a list of top six benefits that illustrate the difference such software solution could make on an EMS organization.
Excellent Data Management and Calculation Capabilities
One of the most notable advantages of having an upgraded EMS billing software is greater mastery over financial data for EMS organizations. Gathering and consolidating data for each EMS case can be difficult, especially if data is siloed off or managed in disjointed IT environments. That means that it takes staff longer to compile patient care reports and to determine the exact amount needed for billing. A great billing software solution is where it is fully integrated with other modules from different departments, and can automatically initiate the billing process when patient reports are complete. Thus, cases can be accurately tagged as ready for reimbursement, and staff can go about invoicing and billing with even greater confidence and speed.
Full Knowledge and Control Over Accounts Receivable
EMS accounting staff know that it often takes time for bills to be fully paid. But the department should never be in a situation where the balance on their accounts receivable is so high that puts them in the red. An integrated EMS billing software will allow staff to keep real-time information on balance and enable a 360-degree view on which accounts are of concern. This will kickstart more targeted collection processes, especially for accounts that are more than 45 days overdue. This initiative will keep the organization’s cash flow healthy and ensure the continuity of its emergency service.
Fully Customized and Preset Rules for Billing
Another standout quality of a good EMS billing solution is the level of customization it allows. The ideal platform will enable staff to take care of different billing situations with ease. The system’s rules should be configured to help them narrow down who to pay, how much, and through what means. Some applications of these rules include separate auto-billing for federal health insurance programs like Medicare, for private insurance carriers, and for patients themselves. This also eliminates the risk of reimbursement requests being delayed or rejected because your department is not charging the right entity.
Quick Alignment with Patients’ Insurance Benefits
Some of the most heartbreaking situations in emergency service involve patients, insurers, and healthcare providers not seeing eye-to-eye about payment settlement. For example, a patient may request their insurer to cover the bills while they receive emergency treatment. Then, later on, EMS staff will find out that the patient hasn’t met their deductible, and the insurance carrier can’t actually cover the treatment yet. An intelligent system can help EMS providers tighten their coordination with partner insurers and be made aware of situations like these well in advance. In the case mentioned earlier, a good EMS billing system will make it possible for the EMS organization to track a patient’s deductible status. EMS staff can then make a choice to hold the invoice until the deductible has actually been met.
Timely Case Management and Up-to-Date View of Cash Flow
Lastly, beyond handling individual transactions, a great EMS billing solution should allow “big picture” management of the EMS organization cash flow. It should allow staff to log transactions and then access updates to the cash flow in real-time instead of generating reports at the end of the month. Staff should also be able to conduct analytics and reporting about important financial issues, such as how fast they can collect from accounts receivable and whether their collection processes are getting better month over month or year over year.
Conclusion: Build a Good Financial Foundation for Lifesaving Emergency Medical Services
The backend work of EMS—such as logistics, billing, and reporting—are no less important to emergency care than the emergency service itself. Having a solid financial foundation for EMS organizations is what will allow them to sustainably deliver emergency medical care. If you’re involved in the administration of such a facility, consider upgrading your financial foundation with a new EMS billing management solution.