The recent COVID-19 pandemic that is sweeping the globe has caused a shift in the way most people live. Many states have issued lockdown orders, while the CDC has encouraged social distancing. Thousands of people in the U.S. have already been diagnosed, and the death toll from the disease seems to be going up every single day. 

Emergency responders are always an important necessity for any community, but they deserve even more attention now, as this virus continues to spread and more people need medical attention. 

As more people seek out medical care, what can your medical billing team do to work with healthcare providers and individuals who will eventually have to pay their bills? 

Understand the Process

In the wake of this virus, things seem to be changing by the minute. But, knowing the steps you need to take ahead of time will not only save lives, but can provide people financial relief. We’ll cover more about that process throughout this article. Thankfully, most billing practices and what is offered will remain unchanged by insurance companies. 

That should make your job easier, knowing you can rely on somewhat “standard procedures” for billing. Because of the influx of patients dealing with this, being familiar with the process will help you to keep things streamlined and won’t clog up the billing timeline. 

Know What’s Being Offered in Terms of Financial Relief

If your patients don’t have insurance, there are a few financial aid programs already available in light of how many people COVID-19 is affecting. For example, the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society has set up an immediate relief program for cancer patients with the virus. 

The government stimulus package related to COVID-19 is also meant to help with financial struggles during this time, and certain existing aid programs (like SNPA and FEMA) will receive additional funding to help those hit hardest by the virus. 

Additionally, Congress passed a Families First Coronavirus Response Act bill to give workers in small businesses two weeks of paid sick leave with their full salary (up to $511/day). 

Document, Document, Document

It’s always important to keep documentation of every emergency situation, so you can provide clear and convincing evidence that may be able to help your patient(s) get financial relief. 

Be sure to write down everything from existing medical information (including any chronic conditions or underlying illnesses) to what actions were taken, medications were given, etc. It can be difficult to remember such things after the fact, so once you’re out of the heat of the moment, be sure to make your evidence as clear as possible, especially because it seems as though there are shifting opinions on the symptoms of this virus. 

Know What Insurance Companies Are Offering

Because of the impact of social distancing and state-wide lockdowns, the technology behind your medical billing services is more important than ever. Thankfully, the tech world is something that has remained relatively unscathed throughout this pandemic. So, you can continue to provide patients with the billing information they need and ensure you get paid promptly. 

For the most part, billing practices haven’t changed. Private insurance companies are still offering the same coverage, as is Medicaid/Medicare. Patients and providers alike can find some comfort in that. In fact, one helpful tip is to tell your patients that bit of information. They’re likely just as scared and uncertain about how they’re going to afford medical care as they are about catching COVID-19. 

Looking Out for a Process That Can Assist Your Team

The main difference you’re likely to see in the coming weeks/months is how people plan on paying for their services, and the extra time they might need to cover their medical bills. 

When you work as an emergency responder, even in the billing department, you already know the importance of patient care first and payment second. At NEMB, it’s our job to care for you. It’s easy to feel alone in times like these, and so uncertain – even when it comes to a career you’re familiar with. 

If you’re a medical biller for an emergency response team, we at NEMB want to thank you for the work you’re putting in through these difficult times. Our ambulance billing technology can make your billing process easier and more streamlined, impacting your patients and your services in a positive way. Plus, we can offer customized reports to keep everyone informed. Those reports can help with data analysis and can eventually be used as training tools if times of crisis or viral pandemics ever occur again. 

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