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Georgia health system to increase services for self-pay patients

Emory Healthcare, the largest healthcare system in Georgia, is boosting eligibility services at its metro Atlanta facilities to help its growing self-pay patient population obtain healthcare coverage.

Chamberlin Edmonds and Associates, an Atlanta-based provider of patient eligibility and enrollment services to hospitals, has contracted with Emory to provide specialists who will help patients secure coverage from various federal, state and charity programs, including Medicare, Supplemental Security Income and Social Security Disability Benefits.

"The elevated levels of uncompensated care we face make it challenging to provide the best care possible while maintaining financial viability," said Jim Perry, director of patient financial services at Emory University Hospital. He said the eligibility assistance services would be offered at no cost to Emory patients.

Kirk Reid, executive vice president at Chamberlin Edmonds, said the firm has worked with Emory University Hospital Midtown since 1998, and the new agreement would extend services to eight other facilities.

Besides helping Emory obtain coverage for uninsured inpatients, Chamberlin Edmonds will extend its services to the high volumes of outpatients seen at the health system's facilities, Reid said.

Once a patient has been enrolled for benefits, Chamberlin Edmonds monitors the patient's account status to ensure billing is handled properly, said Roxann Arnold, director of patient accounts at Emory University Hospital Midtown.

She said the automated eligibility system continuously reviews outpatient accounts, searching for patients who may have acquired new Medicaid coverage.

"If it identifies that a patient has been enrolled, the system automatically generates a claim or bill for services," Arnold said.

Emory Healthcare facilities have a total of 1,184 licensed patient beds, 9,000 employees and more than 20 health centers located throughout the metropolitan Atlanta region.

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