Optometrist Ian Chapman couldn’t believe how easy it was to introduce the Medicare Easyclaim system and reap the benefits immediately.
Mr Chapman, from Kempsey NSW, called Optometry Australia national professional services manager Jared Slater for advice and within a day the system was operational.
‘It is easier than paper claims and the money [from the day’s consultations] is in your bank account before the next morning,’ he said.
‘It perhaps took me an hour to organise with my calls to Optometry Australia and the Medicare Easyclaim consultant, then downloading and printing instructions for staff.
‘We used the print-out only on the first claim as the two front desk staff had no trouble with it from the start. It is just an adaption from the usual HICAPS procedure and the terminal screen prompts you throughout.’
The impetus for Mr Chapman implementing Easyclaim in late August came because he had lost money on a Medicare claim using paper claiming.
‘I became annoyed when we bulk-billed a 10900 using paper-based claiming after checking the telephone hotline, which said a 10900 was OK.
‘It was later rejected because a colleague to whom I had referred the patient had claimed the 10900 online immediately on presentation,’ Mr Chapman said.
‘Our paper bulk-bill claim went in 10 days afterwards so we got nothing and Medicare essentially said “too bad”.
‘We had not done online claiming previously because of software limitations and because the internet in our country town is not 100 per cent reliable.
‘I had been under the false impression that Easyclaim was only for the patient to pay by card and then get the rebate back into their account.’
Both bulk-billing and paid patient claims can be done using Easyclaim.
In the case of bulk-billing, the claim is registered with Easyclaim then forwarded to Medicare and processed at the end of the day and paid into the provider’s account.
For paid patient claims, the claim is made in real-time and paid directly to the patient’s EFTPOS account on the spot.
‘The next day we began using card swipes or paper for those who didn’t bring their Medicare card. We phone to get their correct Medicare number and with name, residential address and date of birth, the front desk gets them easily,’ Mr Chapman said.
‘We soon realised we could hand enter the Medicare information when we didn’t have the card, so paper claims were done into Easyclaim.
‘The time to do an Easyclaim is similar to that needed to fill in a paper claim, about one minute at most, and much of that is waiting for the system to move on.
‘After the first claim each day, the terminal asks if you want a report listing and we accept and it prints all Medicare transactions from the previous day,’ he said.
‘This list can be quickly reconciled with the claims for the previous day, which are in the computer. Dollars are added up and this amount is checked against the total that has been deposited into our account the previous evening so money from today’s claims is in the account late afternoon the same day.’
For information about implementing Easyclaim call Optometry Australia on 03 9668 8500 or the Medicare Australia eBusiness Service Centre on 1800 700 199.