The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, known colloquially as HIPAA, has brought a number of drastic changes to the medical industry. The idea of the legislation surrounding HIPAA is to improve security related to the way patient information is stored and transferred from office to office, making sensitive information less accessible to outside eyes and ears.
As medical collections involve a great deal of sharing of sensitive information between practices, patients, and insurance companies, many practices have been a bit at a loss over how to align their revenue cycle management practices with new HIPAA regulations. Medical collections and billing have been altered drastically by these standards.
1. Increased electronic submission of health insurance claims. Whereas most collections-related information was in the past submitted by email or through the post office, the governing bodies responsible for HIPAA are encouraging electronic submission over a HIPAA-compliant encrypted connection for increased security. Any claims and sensitive information submitted by ordinary email is not compliant.
2. Practices are reporting increased revenue and a more streamlined office. With medical accounts receivable and collections services, practices are no longer forced to dedicate staff hours to reviewing billing procedures, training, calling patients, and filing paperwork. Having a third-party medical collections agency handle collections means more time and increased accuracy. It also means that trained experts who dedicate their entire workday to medical collections will be handling the process, making it more efficient and increasing the likelihood that every unpaid bill will be collected upon.
3. More and more practices and hospitals are using medical collections services. With the increasing complexity of medical bill collections and increased patient volume, practices simply don’t have time to keep up with HIPAA regulations and research the best way to stay compliant. Electronic medical records and medical billing services have increased in popularity as a way to combat this, but medical collections are also starting to gain recognition as one of the best ways to handle unpaid bills while staying one-hundred-percent HIPAA-compliant.This information is not to be construed as legal advice. Legal advice must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. Although we attempt to provide up-to-date information, laws and regulations often change. We make no claims, promises, or guarantees about the accuracy or completeness of this document. For legal advice, please consult an attorney.