Mistakes always lead to inevitable consequences in life. The goal is to avoid them and, if they happen, to never repeat them. And one of the best ways to prevent errors is to be aware of what they are.
The healthcare industry requires accuracy in every step. Any minor error could lead to dire consequences.
In the case of non-emergency medical transportation (NEMT), a medical answering services (MAS) mistake may lead to a patient not getting to their appointment on time or at all.
What is MAS?
MAS is a Medicaid transportation broker that coordinates with NEMT providers so that beneficiaries can have access to vehicles that will take them to and from medical appointments. Medicaid beneficiaries are low-income adults, children, senior citizens, and persons with disabilities.
It has been widely reported that the lack of transportation is the main reason why many people miss their medical appointments.
MAS is similar to other brokers that distribute Medicaid trips. When they receive a request for NEMT service, they create trip assignments and relay them to the appropriate NEMT provider.
MAS currently oversees the transportation of over seven million Medicaid beneficiaries in the state of New York.
A Brief Overview of New York's Medicaid System
Medicaid is a joint national and state program that covers the medical costs for low-income families. Children, senior citizens, and persons with disabilities are also common beneficiaries.
The program pays for a wide range of medical services based on age, financial circumstances, and familial situation.
This New York Medicaid overview outlines its provisions:
Regular medical visits
Relevant medical supplies and equipment
Nursing home services
MAS is an integral part of the New York Medicaid program and NEMT services.
The Importance of Accurate Billing in the NEMT Sector
NEMT companies bill the New York Medicaid program for their services, and accuracy in this process is crucial.
Why is accuracy important in healthcare? Any wrong detail could lead to bigger issues. In this case, let’s focus on billing. A single error in billing could have dire consequences for the NEMT provider.
NEMT companies need money to operate. They need to pay their drivers, and all of their vehicles need gas and regular maintenance. A large chunk of the money comes from Medicaid because many NEMT passengers are beneficiaries.
Reducing billing errors will ensure a healthy cash flow and help NEMT companies provide the best possible service for all patients.
What are the Top 6 Common MAS Errors NEMT Providers Encounter?
The best way to prevent MAS errors is to know exactly what they are so you can be conscious of them at all times:
Appointment Scheduling Errors
Appointment can be cancelled and if your software is not integrated with MAS, it could lead to a no-show during the trip, leading to the NEMT company blocking an hour or two for a service that will not be used. This is a tremendous waste of resources, so scheduling must be as accurate as possible.
Mistakes in Medicaid Information
When MAS sets a transportation appointment, it must record the following information correctly:
Date of birth
Social security number
Wrong Medical Provider Information
MAS must also record the name of the facility where the patient needs to go and their physician's name. These are vital details for Medicaid records and claims.
Inaccurate Request for Medical Transportation
There are different types of NEMT services. A patient with no special mobility needs would have no problem taking traditional transportation. Still, a person who needs a stretcher cannot be accommodated in an ambulatory-type NEMT vehicle. This type of mistake could lead to a missed appointment.
While technically not an error, unanswered MAS calls could lead to patients not getting the care they need.
The above-mentioned MAS errors are preventable. NEMT software can help solve these problems, as billing issues can be significantly reduced with Medicaid billing software like BillPro.
GPS Data is not Submitted
If you do not use the approved software that sends timestamps with trip coordinates, you will not be compliant and may lose a contract with MAS.
The Financial Impact of MAS Errors on NEMT Businesses
An abundance of MAS errors will lead to delays or rejected Medicaid reimbursements and potentially cripple an NEMT business. While you could appeal, refunds will take even longer.
Vigilance is one way to reduce or eliminate medical billing errors and MAS mistakes. Reliable software is an essential tool for this. NEMT software will minimize scheduling errors and unanswered calls. Billing software like BillPro could eliminate mistakes in Medicaid data and medical provider details.
Avoiding common errors in the emergency department will lead to better healthcare for all. The same could be said for preventing MAS errors—accuracy will ensure Medicaid beneficiaries get to their appointments on time. NEMT companies will be paid the correct amount as soon as possible.