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    New funds transfer rules expected to save time, money

    The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) says new rules governing electronic funds transfers, along with other changes that make it easier to check patients' health coverage eligibility and the status of claims, will save the national healthcare system more than $16 billion over the next decade.

    The new rules streamline the data a health plan send to its bank when it pays a claim to a provider electronically and issues a remittance advice notice. In addition, a new tracking system that links the remittance notice and the payment means providers will no longer have to reconcile the two manually, thereby saving time and money for both providers and third-party payers.

    "The less time a physician has to spend on paperwork is that much more time that can be devoted to patient care," wrote Marilyn Tavenner, acting CMS administrator. "Standardized procedures can only lead to lower costs and greater efficiencies."