Why did Meridian decide to become a licensed collection agency and self report on patient credit reports?
On behalf of our clients, Meridian formed a business arrangement with a well known and respected collection agency for the collection and reporting of our client’s bad debt patients. After nine months, the collection agency came back to us and stated that they had to increase our client’s rates from 31% to 50% because they were not making enough money. This was due to our diligence in working the accounts prior to reporting them. Subsequently, they offered Meridian clients a rate of 35% of collection for reporting only; requiring Meridian to perform all of the administrative tasks associated with reporting. At that juncture, it became clear that Meridian was already doing the work of an agency and our clients were being gouged. Meridian took the necessary steps to obtain our collection agency license and develop a relationship with Equifax Information Services for the reporting of bad debt.
How are your insurance collection practices different than other billing companies?
- All correspondence is processed within seven business days. This means all monetary and non-monetary correspondence has been acted on within 7 business days of receipt. Some companies post the payments and “work” the non-monetary correspondence at their leisure, if at all. (Non-monetary means an EOB or a document sent that does not have a check associated with it.) Although this may not seem as important as the check, it is the lifeline to determining why your claim has not been paid. This includes all electronic remittance and errors as well as verbal communications with insurance companies and patients.
- All secondary claims are generated; EOB’s attached and mailed within 7 business days of receipt of the primary carrier payment. Although Medicare is supposed to forward their EOB electronically to the secondary insurance carrier we have found that the secondary carrier does not receive approximately 28% of all secondary claims from Medicare. Furthermore, Meridian submits secondary claims to payors electronically where applicable.
- All insurance carriers are set on a time line to be worked, by an insurance collector, depending upon their average response time. There is no reason a Medicare or a Blue Shield NCA claim should be aged beyond 40 days unless it is already in appeal. Medicare pays claims without attachments within two weeks of receipt; claims with attachments are generally paid within 30-40 days depending upon the attachment. Meridian starts working all Medicare and Blue Shield claims between 45 and 60 days.
- The aging of our patient accounts occur daily, not monthly. This means if patient qualifies for a document (i.e. dunning notice, statement etc.) today, the document will be printed tonight and mailed tomorrow morning. Most billing systems age accounts on a monthly basis. In addition, we process and print Monday through Friday, not once a week or once a month like most billing companies.
What percentage do you estimate that Meridian collects once an account is reported to Equifax Information Services?
Our clients collect approximately 3.7% of the charges that we report to Equifax for credit reporting. Please keep in mind when comparing to other collection agencies and/or billing companies that their rate will generally be higher as they don’t perform the work that Meridian performs prior to submission to Equifax.
How can Meridian collect an average of 30% more then its competitors?
We “go after” the “tough” dollars. In our opinion, most of our competitors do not allocate the resources for collection and appeals. They are too quick to perform the write off and\or send it to an outside collection agency. Generally, an outside collection agency charges 20 to 50 percent of collections once the account is referred to them.
Meridian is a licensed collection agency; therefore, we do not refer your accounts to an outside agency for collection and credit reporting. This service is included in your full service billing rate.
Can we contract for just the services our group requires or do I have to contract for all of your services?
Yes, you can contract for the service(s) your group requires. For instance, if your group just requires coding of the medical record you can contract for “coding only”; we will provide you a rate and contract for this service. In regard to the financial management aspect, you may contract for the payroll service or you may contract for the complete financial package of payroll, general ledger and accounts payable.
Are your coders certified? If so, are they required to take continuing education courses?
Yes, 75% of our coders have earned their Professional Certified Coding Specialist Certification (CCS-P) and\or are Certified Professional Coders (CPC). The remaining 25% of our coders are in process of achieving their certification. Meridian requires all coders to attend seminars and conferences for the different specialties we represent. In addition, in order to maintain their certification(s), our coders must fulfill at least 20 hours of continuing medical education per year. Moreover, two of our coders are Certified Coding Auditors.
How available are you for your clients? Can we schedule a monthly or quarterly meeting?
We are available by telephone Monday through Friday, via email seven days a week. A personal meeting can usually be arranged within three to five business days. Upon request, we will meet with you at any interval you prefer.
I noticed that you bill a lot of different specialties; my specialty was not on the list. Does this mean that you do not provide the services for my specialty?
No, it does not. Please check with us directly. We take on different specialties as the need arises. Meridian has a successful implementation plan for new specialties we have not yet billed. Remember, Meridian started out billing for one specialty; we have the resources to dedicate to learning different specialties.
Do you negotiate with 3rd party payors to assist in determining our reimbursement rate? If you negotiate on our behalf, is there a consulting fee?
We provide “contracting and negotiation” as part of our full service billing fee. If you contract for this service only, we charge a consulting rate of $125.00 per hour.
Will you provide a fee schedule recommendation? If so, is there a cost associated with this service?
We provide “Fee Schedule analysis” as part of our full service billing fee. If you contract for this service only, we charge a consulting rate of $90.00 per hour.
Are you HIPPA compliant? Do you submit HIPPA compliant claims?
Yes, we are HIPPA compliant in all aspects of our business and we assess your practice at no charge to be sure you are too!
Do you credential our group and physicians with Medicare, Medicaid and 3rd party payors? If so, is there a cost associated with this service?
We provide “credentialing” as part of our full service billing fee. If you contract for this service only, we charge a consulting rate of $90.00 per hour.
Which software vendor does Meridian use?
We have invested in excess of one point five million dollars in the development and writing of our billing and collection software. Our software is written in SQL, using Oracle 9i.
Prior to writing our own software, we reviewed billing systems written by other vendors. Although most met our requirements for the initial billing, none of them met our requirements and standards for the collection, appeals process and follow-up required to maximize reimbursement. In addition, our software allows our programmers access to modify, change and add code to support changes in regulations and allows us to customize and accommodate the specific needs of our clients.
Can you communicate with our computers so we do not have to send paper to your office? Can you access the hospitals computerized billing system for updated patient information?
Yes to both questions. We have the technology to access any computer system (pending permission).
Can we access our accounts and reports via the internet?
We are in the process of deploying this service to our clients by the summer of 2015.
Do you submit electronic claims?
Yes, we submit electronically to all carriers who provide the service.
Do you receive electronic remittance advice (835)?
We also receive 835, electronic remittance advice from all carriers who offer it.