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Streamlining Administrative Tasks Focus of New Interim Final Rule From HHS
By News Staff
The new rule, which was published in the Aug. 10 Federal Register, establishes operating rules for electronic remittance advice (ERA) standards, effectively building on electronic fund transfer (EFT) standards adopted by HHS in January. These and other administrative simplification-related regulations are projected to save between $2.7 billion and more than $9 billion during the next 10 years, says HHS.
Although physicians, hospitals and health plans will all reap the financial benefits of the rule, health plans, as senders of the information, will incur most of the costs of implementing the rule, according to a CMS fact sheet.
The interim rule describes effective ways to use electronic transactions and seeks to eliminate obstacles that physician practices and health plans encounter when using electronic transactions. It also requires insurers to provide a standardized, online enrollment for EFT and ERA to make it easier for physicians and hospitals to enroll with multiple health plans.
This is the third in a series of regulations on electronic transfers issued by HHS during the past year. The first regulation adopted operating rules for two electronic health care transactions to make to it easier for physician practices and hospitals to determine whether a patient is "eligible for coverage and the status of a health care claim submitted to a health insurer." according to CMS. That was followed by a second regulation adopting standards for health care payments made through ERA and EFT standards.
The comment period for the interim final rule closes on Oct. 9, and compliance is required by Jan. 1, according to HHS.