Studies Prompt Attention To Streamlining Medical Billing
The Wall Street Journal reports on two different studies published recently that focus on the billing practices of doctors. One, in the New England Journal of Medicine quantifies the work done in billing at a small primary care practice.
Another study done at Massachusetts General Hospital looked into the third-party billing system. "Researchers calculated the costs of administering different claims from so many different insurers and found that between labor costs and lost revenue from delayed or mistakenly rejected claims, it added up to $45 million in 2006, or 12% of net patient revenue. The researchers calculated that steps to streamline "the system's typical administrative inefficiencies could save four hours per week for doctors, five hours for support staff and a total of $7 billion per year." The changes were mostly administrative, and only reflect what the cost savings would be at this particular hospital (Hobson, 4/29).
Yesterday's Morning Edition provided detailed coverage of the New England Journal's Study.
CNN tells the story of how medical billing experts can help decode a medical bill and potentially save patients money. Since most medical bills are not the easiest documents to understand, billing advocates can help you sort out "what's legitimate and what is highly overpriced. They generally work by charging you a percentage of the total amount you save on the bill" (Cohen and Rice, 4/29).