Less Red Tape To Save U.S. Healthcare $9B

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WASHINGTON, (UPI) — New rules will cut red tape for U.S. doctors, hospitals and health plans and save up to $9 billion over the next 10 years, a governmental official says.

Kathleen Sebelius, secretary for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, said a regulation that goes into effect Friday provides operating rules for making healthcare claim payments electronically among doctor’s offices, hospitals and health insurance plans.

“These new rules will cut red tape, save money and ensure doctors spend more time seeing patients and less time filling out forms,” Sebelius said in a statement.

Studies found that the average physician spends three weeks a year on billing- and insurance-related tasks, while in a physician’s office, two-thirds of a full-time employee per physician is necessary to conduct these tasks, Sebelius said.

In addition, many physician practices and hospitals receive and deposit paper checks and manually post and reconcile the healthcare claim payments in their accounting systems. By receiving payments electronically and automating the posting of the payments, a physician’s practice and hospital’s administrative time and costs will be decreased, Sebelius said.

The regulation is at www.ofr.gov/inspection.aspx and will be effective upon its publication in the Federal Register Friday. The comment period closes Oct. 9.

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