HIMSS 2012 – Emdeon, Tom Turi

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Amy Monagan, EHRtv correspondent interviews Tom Turi, Senior Vice President of Emdeon.

Category: HIMSS12, Tradeshows, Uncategorized
Date: April 6, 2012
Views:13,522 views

Amy Monagan: Hi! This is Amy Monagan with EHRtv. We are at HIMSS 2012 in Las Vegas. Today, I’m with Tom Turi, Senior Vice President of Emdeon. Thank you, Tom for being with us today.

Tom Turi: It’s my pleasure.

Amy Monagan: Tom, tell me a little bit. You’re showcasing at the Interoperability Showcase this year. Can you tell me a little bit about your involvement with them?

Tom Turi: Well, in the Interoperability Showcase, we’re displaying our tools that providers can use to enroll for electronic payments and electronic remittances.

Amy Monagan: Uhum.

Tom Turi: That is a big movement today in the industry. In fact, in January, just a month ago, so the Health and Human Services came out with the first set of standards towards that. In July, they’re going to come out with some operating rules and there are just some mandates in the Affordability Care Act around the use of EFTs and ERAs.

Amy Monagan: Can you tell me a little bit about your involvement with co-chairing that committee to get the rules–– the rules passed.

Tom Turi: Health and Human Services outsourced, if you will, subcontracted, if you will, to the CH–– CAQH CORE to help recommend what the rules, standards, mandates ought to be.

Amy Monagan: Uhum.

Tom Turi: So I was approached by them to help co-chair it with a banker and also a major provider was involved. So the three of us co-chaired and we had weekly meetings of about 90 people on a conference call every week for hours and we created what we believe are some industry standards and operating rules that will facilitate–– actually, they were with the provider in mind––

Amy Monagan: Uhum.

Tom Turi: –– of how to facilitate the transmission of electronic payments and electronic remittances to the provider from the payers.

Amy Monagan: Okay, very good. Can you tell us a little bit, with the rules that were made with the physician mind, tell us a little bit about how that might affect them or their workflow or anything along those lines?

Tom Turi: Well, one of the issues that a lot of providers have is that–– it is the multiplicity of payers that pay them.

Amy Monagan: Uhum.

Tom Turi: We had a talk yesterday where small physician’s office in–– up in Northern Ohio, it was just a small pediatric office but they had 99 payers. If you’re a hospital, you could have hundreds of payers. And if you have to individually enroll for electronic payments with your banking information at all of those, it’s a nightmare. So what do you do? You only do a couple of your important payers.

Amy Monagan: Uhum.

Tom Turi: So it’s not going to change the industry. So what we try to do is put standards that, going forward, once these standards go into play, there’s going to be one enrollment form, and all payers have to use the same enrollment form.

Amy Monagan: Okay, very good. So it makes it seems simple.

Tom Turi: One enrollment–– is simple. So if you filled out one, you automatically have all the data and the information to go fill out a bunch of any others and the same as on the ERA.

Amy Monagan: Uhum.

Tom Turi: The additional–– there were some other operating rules around things such as–– a provider’s office has a hard time re-associating to get a deposit in their bank account, they get this A35 or the remittance advices that come to them to explain why that payment is, but they’ve got to re-associate the payment with, that’s in the bank, with the data that they have, and that’s hard. So some of the rules say that that banking deposit has to have certain elements of data in it that correspond to the remittance advice with the A35, and the A35 has to have certain pieces of data that are in the payment data file. So it re-associates that.

So there are rules along those lines and the mandates are very strong on the payer but not the provider. So we had this again provider in mind, when these mandates go into effect which is January 1st, 2014, if a provider asks a payer for an electronic payment and electronic remittance, the payer is obligated to pay them. If the payer is not equipped to pay them and they have to have been certified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services by January 1st, it costs the payer $1 per day per covered life. So if you, a payer, have a million covered lives, you’re now paying a million dollar a day penalty that you can deliver to that provider electronic payments, electronic remittances. So a very big burden on the payer, no obligation – the provider doesn’t have to sign up with it. Candidly, I wish the provider had a little more obligation, but they don’t.

Amy Monagan: Uhum.

Tom Turi: But if–– if and when the provider is ready, the payers will be obligated to deliver it to them electronically.

Amy Monagan: Okay, that’s fantastic. So it sounds like you were in the real part in helping these rules come about?

Tom Turi: Well, I try.

Amy Monagan: (Laughs)

Tom Turi: I try. So we were coming, as a vendor, and I’ve been in the payments base for over 20 years but in other industries as well as over a decade in healthcare. So that just, that’s the one area I know and then we had a banker which obviously, payments banks, right?

Amy Monagan: Uhum.

Tom Turi: And then a major provider who is the recipient of all of these.

Amy Monagan: Okay.

Tom Turi: So we make sure that we balanced what the rules were to take into account the various stakeholders.

Amy Monagan: Uhum.

Tom Turi: And while a payer was not part of the chair, they were active participants in the committee that actually formed, the 90 people that––

Amy Monagan: So, so you still got their input?

Tom Turi: Oh, yeah.

Amy Monagan: Okay.

Tom Turi: They had a lot of input into this.

Amy Monagan: Okay.

Tom Turi: So it’s–– but, but at the end of the day, the government has said, “We’ve got to stop cutting down the trees; we have to stop wasting paper.” The government has put peg that there’s $11 billion of savings if the industry would move to electronic payments.

Amy Monagan: So it sounds like you guys are definitely moving in the right direction?

Tom Turi: We’re going in, and the truth is, is our company, Emdeon, has solutions already there. So we’re already doing this so that’s what we’re displaying in the Interoperability but it’s really not a solution so much that the provider has to pay for. The payer retains us to equip them to be able to do this, this for the provider. And the provider can enroll free.

Amy Monagan: Uhum.

Tom Turi: And we have now over 76 payers actually paying electronically now. And so if those happens to be one of the provider’s payers, they can enroll, and then we keep adding more almost weekly.

Amy Monagan: Okay. Alright. Well, thank you so much for taking the time to be with us today. I’ve really enjoyed chatting with you.

Tom Turi: Well, thank you very much for giving us the opportunity.

Amy Monagan: This is Amy Monagan with EHRtv at HIMSS 2012.

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