Local Dr.'s React To Change From Paper To Electronic Billing, Scheduling

Local doctors are reacting to a new rule the Obama administration issued Tuesday for doctors and hospitals advising them to convert all of their billing, scheduling and health care claims, from paper to electronic.

The Obama administration says the change will save up to $9 billion over the next ten years.

Health and Human Services says the new rule will allow doctors to spend more time seeing patients and less time filling out forms.

Some physicians WITN spoke with say they have been using the system for years, and say it has its pros and cons.

Greenville Dr. Bruce McCrae says, "Electronic filing has been going on for 12 years, receiving electronic benefits and checks electronically has been going on for the last couple of years. The amount of note taking that needs to be done electronically has been going on for 5 years or longer."

The new rule requires insurers to offer a standardized, online enrollment so that physicians and hospitals can more easily enroll with multiple health plans to receive those transactions electronically.

Gynecologist Dr. Gyndolyn Knuckles says, "We try to do as many things electronically as possible because they ultimately provide us a paper trail and make it easier for us to account for things.

While some physicians agree that the electronic system saves them time, others say they aren't so sure. Dr. McCrae says, "Whether I get it paper or electronically, I don't see that it really makes any difference."

Because changing over to the electronic system is costly, the Obama administration does offer reimbursements to doctors and hospitals. Neither doctor we spoke with has been reimbursed yet.

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