Freeing Doctors to Focus on Patients, Not Paperwork

By Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Health and Human Services. Cross-post from Healthcare.gov

Did you know your doctor has to spend 12 cents of every dollar she makes to hire staff just to fill out insurance forms and other paperwork?  Wouldn’t you rather she spend that time with you?

Today, the Department of Health and Human Services issued rules to simplify the mounds of paperwork that doctors, nurses, and other caregivers have to complete in order to get paid for treating you. We estimate that these changes will save our health care system $12 billion over the next 10 years.  More important, it will free caregivers to spend more time with you. We estimate these changes will give doctors back four hours a week and another five hours to their staff.

This common-sense streamlining means fewer phone calls between physicians and health plans, lower postage and paperwork cots, and fewer denied claims.  All in all, this means physicians can cut through the red tape and spend more time and money administering quality care to their patients.

Under these rules, called for by the Affordable Care Act, doctors and other health care professionals will be able to use a simple, streamlined form to ask your insurance company if you are eligible for benefits.  And a second form will be used for doctors’ offices to check to the status of insurance claims they have filed. And insurers have agreed to accept these forms rather than use multiple systems.

This is only the beginning of our efforts to cut out waste and inefficiency in our health care system and free dedicated doctors, nurses, and caregivers to focus their time and efforts on keeping patients healthy, treating illness, and restoring health.  Stay tuned.