Health Information Technology: CMS Took Steps to Improve Its Beneficiary Eligibility Verification System

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Description

A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) currently offers to Medicare providers and Medicare Administrative Contractors the use of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) Eligibility Transaction System (HETS) in a real-time data processing environment. HETS is operational 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, except during regularly scheduled maintenance Monday mornings, from midnight until 5:00 a.m., and when CMS announces other maintenance periods during one or two weekends each month. According to program officials, 244 entities were using HETS ... continued below

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United States. Government Accountability Office. September 12, 2012.

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Description

A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) currently offers to Medicare providers and Medicare Administrative Contractors the use of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) Eligibility Transaction System (HETS) in a real-time data processing environment. HETS is operational 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, except during regularly scheduled maintenance Monday mornings, from midnight until 5:00 a.m., and when CMS announces other maintenance periods during one or two weekends each month. According to program officials, 244 entities were using HETS in 2012, including about 130 providers, 104 clearinghouses that provide data exchange services to about 400,000 health care providers, and 10 Medicare contractors that help CMS process claims for services. From January through June 2012, HETS processed each month an average of 1.7 million to 2.2 million queries per day with most of the queries submitted between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. eastern time. The users with whom we spoke confirmed that operational problems they experienced with the system in 2010 and the first few months of 2011 were resolved in spring 2011 after CMS implemented several hardware and software replacements and upgrades. System performance reports for the first 6 months of 2012 showed that the average response time per transaction was less than 3 seconds. Users described experiences with the system that were consistent with these data. They told us that they are currently satisfied with the operational status of HETS and that the system provides more complete information and reliable service than other systems that they use to verify eligibility with commercial health insurers."

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Government Accountability Office Reports

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) is an independent, nonpartisan agency that works for the U.S. Congress investigating how the federal government spends taxpayers' money. Its goal is to increase accountability and improve the performance of the federal government. The Government Accountability Office Reports Collection consists of over 13,000 documents on a variety of topics ranging from fiscal issues to international affairs.

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  • September 12, 2012

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  • June 12, 2014, 7:50 p.m.

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United States. Government Accountability Office. Health Information Technology: CMS Took Steps to Improve Its Beneficiary Eligibility Verification System, report, September 12, 2012; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc299439/: accessed April 21, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.