What It Takes to Be an Emergency Medical Technician

Working as an emergency medical technician is definitely not for everybody. When the concept of emergency medical services first started, many EMTs were volunteers. These days, however, the field has been, to a great degree, formalized, and EMTs need to undergo extensive training before they are allowed to practice their job.

If you are thinking about becoming an emergency medical technician, you should first ask yourself whether you are truly passionate about helping other people. This field is extremely demanding and so it is imperative that anyone who gets into this field is truly committed to the work they will have to do.

Although the actual certification procedure varies from state to state, the overall trajectory is common to all states. Firstly, you should realize that you don’t need to become an emergency medical technician to save lives. A simple CPR certification that takes no longer than three hours could equip you with the necessary skills to save somebody someday. You can also join some local fire departments as a volunteer, without actually being a certified EMT.

If you are looking to become an emergency medical technician, you should look up a list of authorized instructors and training institutes that can provide you with the necessary training. Many people commute to different counties for their EMT training because different facilities offer different courses, and boast differing levels of flexibility.

Once you are enrolled in EMT training, you will be required to put in time every week to ride along in an ambulance so that you can get some practical experience of what life is like as an emergency medical technician. Some training centres require you to put in time on a simulator that put you in real life emergency situations and give you a practical chance to put your skills to test.

Your final goal should be to pass the National Registry EMT test so that you have the necessary certification to administer emergency medical care to people in need. The test normally consists of both a written test and a practical exam. A physical examination is also required in most states.

Why Outsource Medical Billing to Us?

Regardless of which part of the medical field you work in, you need to ensure you have an accurate and reliable medical billing software at the heart. As with all businesses, generating payment for services rendered is vital in keeping afloat. Whether your billing is handled internally or outsourced, the choice of software is pivotal in ensuring the process is streamlined and hassle free.

The benefits of advances in technology have helped us work toward eliminating issues when it comes to billing, such as a loss of files and the occurrence of human error. Although these mistakes will never be completely eradicated as long as man operates the computer, a well-designed piece of software is the next best option.

With the ever changing nature of the regulations surrounding medical billing and health insurance, dealing with invoice insurance companies can sometimes be a difficult task. It is estimated that 70% of insurance claims are accepted by insurance companies without drama and are easily processed within the next bill cycle. Surprisingly, some of the main reasons for rejection of the remaining 30% are due to either an out of date medical billing software or data entry error.

In light of this, it stands to reason that when outsourcing your medical billing needs, you must ensure the company you have selected is using the latest and best software on the market.  This helps to both minimize claim rejection and avoid the time-waste associated with reprocessing a claim and waiting for payment, Ambulance Billing Systems utilizes some of the industry’s best software in conjunction with state of the art security and imaging software. We ensure our software is up to date to reduce the wait time between the filing of your claims and the time in which you receive payment. This allows for healthcare providers to spend more time and energy on taking care of their patients, and less time worrying about the processing of claims.

 

 

Pros and Cons of Using Ambulance Billing Software

In a world that is increasingly being governed by technology, many emergency medical service providers are being lured towards the use of ambulance billing software. There is no doubt that over the past few years, the capabilities of these software have risen dramatically. As a result, EMS companies are relying more and more on them.

The biggest advantage of using these software is that the likelihood of human error is reduced significantly. Software are generally less likely to make the kind of mistakes humans make, such missing deadlines or sending out the wrong forms. However, by shifting to a software-led system, it may become slightly more difficult to handle exceptional cases and particular situations that tend to arise in the world of medical billing.

Many people believe that the big switch to ambulance billing software will mean that they will need little or no people actually monitoring their billing systems. Although an ambulance billing service may not need as much manpower if they start using the latest software, the fact of the matter is that these software are quite complicated and they require highly skilled labor in order to operate. Without properly trained operators, most ambulance billing software are rendered rather useless.

Like all technology, while ambulance billing software continue to be improved, basing an entire business on them can be risky. In case all your data is lost or the software ceases to work properly, your entire emergency medical services business could come to a grinding halt. While an ambulance billing software might improve efficiency, a backup system should be maintained. Moreover, since ambulance billing involves a lot of sensitive, confidential information, special measures should be taken into account to ensure that data is securely entered into the software.

Good Ambulance Billing Practices

Ambulance billing services may encounter a number of different issues due to the complex and tedious nature of the work they perform. The slightest errors can result in large losses, and so it is important to try to streamline and perfect the process of ambulance bill recoveries. This guide will walk you through three factors that all ambulance billing services should focus on to ensure smooth operations.

It is important for ambulance billing companies to understand just how diagnosis codes work. Since most medical insurance providers only cover ambulance billing when it is deemed to be medically necessary, ambulance billing services need to provide them with a diagnosis code coinciding with the ailment for which the patient was being transported. If a vague code is used, the ambulance billing service may either be fined for providing exaggerating the claim, or not recover for a justified claim.

Arguably the most important part of ambulance billing is staying up with various policies. Since health care laws and policies are commonly amended at various levels, it is essential to make sure you know government and insurance company procedures to recover bills. Without being well-versed with these laws, your ambulance billing company might lose out on significant revenues and have otherwise justified claims accepted. For example, if you are trying to claim recoveries from Medicare, you must add various standard costs such as disposable gloves etc into the base rate. Other insurance providers need each cost mentioned separately.

Ambulance billing services should also pay particular attention to making sure they do not get trapped in a backlog of paperwork. Most insurance companies have policies that place limitations on the time within which you can reclaim a particular service. If the service falls behind, it could be devastating in terms of recovery rates. That is why whenever an EMS company turns over a request, it should be processed immediately.

The Ambulance Billing Appeals Process

Health insurance schemes rarely cover the entire cost of ambulance bills. One should familiarize themselves with the ambulance billing appeals process since insurance companies reserve the right to either partially or fully deny paying ambulance companies for any of the following reasons:

  • Ambulance is not among the covered services as per the insurance agreement

  • The ambulance did not take the patient to the nearest hospital

  • The use of an ambulance was not medically necessary

However, just because your claim to get reimbursed for an ambulance bill has been denied does not mean that you cannot recover your money. Most insurance companies provide for an ambulance billing appeals process. It may be useful to actually go through the appeals process before you decide which insurance company you get.

Before you begin the ambulance billing appeals process, it is important that you research what exactly the deadline is for filing the appeal. In the case of Medicare, an appeal must be filed within 120 days of receiving the denial. However, this figure may vary from one company to the next.

Part of the ambulance billing appeals process involves proving that ambulance transport was in fact necessary. A letter from the physician who treated you at the hospital can go a long way in convincing insurance companies that you needed an ambulance medically. You should also send in your medical reports, which can be obtained from your hospital for a small fee.

The exact ambulance billing appeals process varies from one insurance company to another. If you take the time out to look through your insurance deed, you will find out what exactly you need to provide to them. If you have Medicare, you will need to fill out the Medicare Redetermination Request Form that can be found on its website. Other insurance companies have similar paperwork that requires you to highlight why exactly you are appealing their decision not to fully compensate you for your ambulance bill.

Medicare coverage of Ambulance Services

Medicare coverage of Ambulance Services aims to be consistent but requires some degree of interpretation and judgement to determine what claim should be submitted for ambulance billing purposes. Medical insurance (Medicare Part B) will cover an ambulance service from or to a hospital, a skilled nursing facility or critical access hospital but only when any other form of transport may endanger a patient’s health.

However, there are cases when Medicare may cover the services of an ambulance under the following circumstances:

  • If a patient needs to transport from their home or medical facility for health care for a condition where transportation by ambulance is required.
  • If a patient requires dialysis, or an end-stage renal disease, and requires ambulance transport to or from a dialysis facility, in the event that any other form of transport is likely to endanger the patient’s health.

Under the Medicare coverage of Ambulance Services guidelines, Medicare will only cover an ambulance service to an appropriate medical facility that is closest to the patient and can provide the necessary treatment and care. If a patient decides they wish to use a facility further away, the Medicare payment is based on the normal charge to the facility that was closest.

In cases where the care that is required is not available in the local area, transport to the closest facility that can offer the required care outside the local area will be covered by Medicare.

Medicare coverage of Ambulance Services may provide cover for an emergency ambulance transport, in the cases where the condition places a serious threat to the patient’s life. Such cases may include unconsciousness, in shock, bleeding or in severe pain. The bottom line is just how serious a patient’s condition is at the time and if an alternative method of transportation was considered more appropriate.

Computer Viruses and System Maintenance

Computer viruses and system maintenance have to be an obvious consideration for any business as any business can suffer from the consequences from an attack on their local computer or servers and each business needs to determine the best and most cost effective solution to provide 24/7 protection from the vandals that distribute these harmful emails and files.

Companies such as MacAfee and Norton offer a range of packages that are renewable annually and on the whole are pretty good at preventing “known” viruses and malware from accessing the system but they also throw up a couple of other issues that are cannot always be considered helpful to other applications that you may use from day to day and can, for the average user, not be straight forward to reconfigure to allow the system to function properly. Employing a dedicated IT employee (or two, allowing for holidays, sickness and other unforeseen eventualities) to maintain computers or a network is an expensive solution but for a business that is accountable to the likes of Medicare, is essential so as to ensure the data is not corrupted and submitted claims will be accepted and correct.

In the case of ambulance and fire departments there is a better solution that will take care of both your ambulance billing services and fully protect the data so that all claims made are accurate. Businesses such as ABS Inc. have dedicated servers with equally dedicated network staff that are responsible for the maintenance of the servers and individual computers that are operatives use, and the cost to you is then significantly reduced for both aspects – ambulance billing and network maintenance.

If it is a risk you are prepared to continue taking then that is of course your choice but why not contact us and discuss what we can provide you with and how much time, effort and cost we can save you. 

Viral Damage

Viral Damage

So what exactly do viruses do to a computer system or network? It depends on the aims of the person that has spread the virus in the first instance but we are going to focus mainly on the viruses that effectively cripple a Windows operating system.

Once the virus has found it’s way in to the operating system, the signs are sometimes immediate but on occasions it may take several days, or even weeks, to become apparent. The bulk of the damage that is likely to be done is in the computers registry files where your  configuration settings and system options are stored in a hierarchical database. A virus may be intended to corrupt one or more of these files and even in cases where just one file is initially corrupted, the impact on other files can be severe and can easily render the system as inoperable as programs fail to either open, close, store newly added data etc. Backing up data on to an external drive (CD or Memory Stick) will help keep your data stored and the actual data is unlikely to be affected, in most cases, but the program itself may not function correctly. In years gone by this was not a serious issues as prior to the launch of Windows Vista, formatting the computer hard drive was a relatively easy process and you could eliminate all traces of all viruses and malware but alas this is not the case with Windows Vista and beyond.

This now presents two choices.

1. You can replace the entire hard drive and/or system and re-install your saved data.

2. Hire the services of someone that knows how to format the systems hard drive.

These two option cost time and money and the knock on effect is that you could be without your computer for several days and the ambulance billing data needs to be logged somewhere and this in turn can cause issues and result in inadvertent false claims to Medicare at a later date once the system is restored.

Common forms of computer viruses

Common forms of computer viruses

Ambulance Billing Services is going to expand on last weeks blog and delve in to the common types of virus on your desktop or laptop computer where you store all your ambulance billing data.

In most cases a virus or malware appears as an exe file (Executable file) and typically remain harmless until activated. Again in many cases these exe. files appear when performing downloads from the Internet from an unknown source but there are “computer hackers” that are a little more cunning in their approach and can disguise the exe. file as another type of file, for example a JPEG, or PNG format. These of course appear to be totally harmless on the surface and if a friend or colleague was to send you this type of file by email you probably would not think twice about opening it.

Email with tempting links are especially nasty as they can take you to a specific website that will automatically infect your system. While it is easy to teach a user to not click on such links, or even open an email from an unknown source, humans are curious creatures and if the temptation is great enough they may just have a look. Managers and Fire Chiefs are likely to hand out disciplinary action, short of dismissal, to the member of staff for activating a virus on the system but this does not solve the problem and it is virtually impossible to stop them from repeating the action unless they are not permitted access to your computer system or network. The person replacing them may be just as curious in the future and so it goes on, while your business is paying out money to either resolve the problem or replace the system and hoping that the billing data is “clean”.

Next week Ambulance Billing Services will explain the potential consequences of a virus on your system or network.