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ADA advocates streamlining electronic payment transactions

The Association is acutely aware of the problems dental offices face in adapting to the continued push from third-party payers to gain administrative efficiency on their end by moving away from paper checks to electronic reimbursement.

"The ADA recognizes that electronic funds transfers are on the road to becoming the preferred payment method of the future," said Dr. Mark Mihalo, chair of the ADA Council on Dental Benefit Programs' Coding and Transactions Subcommittee. "However, the industry must recognize its role in assisting dental offices to be able to adapt to this change without inadvertently increasing inefficiencies for dental offices.  The 2018 CAQH Index Report estimates that by moving into electronic payments and remittance advice, third-party payers can save $131 million and dental offices can save $539 million. There is a win-win situation for all sides if the system works well."

CAQH is the Council for Affordable Quality Healthcare, a nonprofit organization. The CAQH Index, according to the group's website, "tracks adoption of HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996) mandated and other electronic administrative transactions for conducting routine business between health care providers and health plans in the medical and dental industries."

With that in mind, the ADA, along with several key stakeholders in the dental industry, issued what is called an "open community statement" on Jan. 23. The statement is intended to promote the use of HIPAA-standard electronic transactions for claims payment and electronic remittance in order to promote a system that secures efficiencies both for payers and dental offices.