Help Heal the Claims Process™ by Increasing the Use of EFT

The American Medical Association (AMA) “Heal the Claims Process”™ campaign’s goal is to help physician practices streamline and automate their practices by providing resources about using electronic health care transactions. By using these electronic transactions, physician practices can eliminate many of the manual processes from their daily routines, so more time can be spent on direct patient care.

This year’s campaign is focused on helping physician practices request and use electronic remittance advices (ERAs) and electronic funds transfers (EFTs) that will be available through the new Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)-mandated EFT and ERA operating rules, effective January 1, 2014.

Visit www.ama-assn.org/go/join-htc to pledge your support of the campaign and commit to claims processing efficiencies.Together, we can reach the ultimate goal of helping physician practices reduce the cost of claims processing from as much as 14 percent to just 1 percent of revenue.

Below is an excerpt of one of the resources AMA is providing as part of the campaign to help physician practices use EFT, called, “Questions to ask a bank before signing an EFT agreement." Consider sharing this with your healthcare customers and encourage them to visit www.ama-assn.org/go/eft for additional EFT resources.

Questions physician practices can ask a bank before signing an EFT agreement:

1. Will I need to change my bank account?

To participate in EFT, you can continue using your current bank account or create a new bank account. Whichever option you choose, you will need to provide the payer with your preferred bank account information as instructed in the EFT enrollment form and request fees, if any, associated with receiving the EFT transactions.

2. What is a TRN— Reassociation Trace Number?

The TRN— Reassociation Trace Number is an electronic data interchange (EDI) segment that the payer includes both the ERA and the ACH CCD+ (HIPAA mandated EFT format) Addenda Record that is forwarded to the bank. The EDI data segment used is the TRN – Reassociation Trace Number and is designed to be a machine-readable number. The TRN Reassociation Trace Number is a series of numbers and asterisks, similar to what you see below:

 TRN*1*12345*1512345678*999999999\

The TRN— Reassociation Trace Number on the ACH CCD+ Addenda Record should match the TRN number supplied on the corresponding ERA.

3. What safeguards does the bank offer for commercial and personal accounts receiving EFTs?

Your bank should have detailed policies and procedures in place that protect the EFTs they receive. Make sure to get a copy of these policies and procedures and discuss them with your bank. Note that commercial and personal accounts are governed by different rules and regulations.The NACHA Operating Rules govern all EFTs that are sent over the Automated Clearing House (ACH) Network. Many financial institutions offer treasury or cash management services to prevent unauthorized or fraudulent debit transactions. Ask to speak to a cash or treasury management officer at your financial institution about services available to manage and protect your account.