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Thursday, April 29, 2010

Saving Billions without Electronic Health Records

The issue of one single set of rules for insurance billing was promulgated in the 1970s. It is now almost 40 years since this was proposed and someone is actually showing what many, including me, have been saying.

Note that is was always Big Insurances that created more layers, more paper, separate paper, and higher cost during this time.
Simpler medical billing saves $7 billion
BOSTON, April 29 (UPI) -- Simplifying and standardizing administrative procedures for medical bills could save about $7 billion a year, U.S. researchers estimate.

Bonnie B. Blanchfield of Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston and colleagues have created a hypothetical model for medical billing that involves a single set of payment rules for multiple payers, a single claim form and standard rules of submission.

If doctors' offices used the streamlined medical billing system they would save 4 hours a week of physician time and 5 hours a week of staff time, Blanchfield said.

The researchers analyzed the billing system of a physician's group affiliated with a large, urban, academic teaching hospital. The researchers found 12.6 percent of submitted claims are initially rejected, but 81 percent are eventually paid -- after using considerable staff time.

"The savings from reducing administrative complexity could be translated into decreased costs in general," the study authors said in a statement. "Mandating a single set of rules, a single claim form, standard rules of submission, and transparent payment adjudication-with corresponding savings to both providers and payers-could provide system wide savings that could translate into better care for Americans."

The findings are published in the journal Health Affairs at

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