Officials for Orange County Medi-Cal Billing System Address Problems During Meeting With Supervisors
A computer billing system for Orange County to submit Medi-Cal claims to the state should be working by December, officials at Missouri-based software company Cerner told the county Board of Supervisors Tuesday, the Los Angeles Times reports (Pasco, Los Angeles Times, 3/31). The system was originally scheduled to be operational by July 2002, and the county Health Care Agency will have to spend an additional $475,000 to submit Medi-Cal claims to the state manually this year while Cerner completes the improvements. The system is intended to centralize mental health patients' medical records and submit claims to the state for services eligible for Medi-Cal reimbursement, but it immediately malfunctioned when launched in September. David Riley, chief compliance officer for the agency, said that some of the problems arose because the state now requires all Medi-Cal claims to be filed in a new format -- which neither the new computer system nor the previous system could replicate -- to comply with provisions of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (California Healthline, 3/15). Mike Neal, western regional vice president at Cerner, said that software improvements expected to be implemented in April and May would correct the problems. He added that company officials will update supervisors on the system at an April 20 meeting. If Cerner does not meet a May 24 deadline set by the county to install the new software, the county will most likely set another deadline, Supervisor Chris Norby said. The county has been submitting to the state claims from September. About 10% of the claims have been sent back with errors and will be resubmitted, Dave Riley, chief compliance officer for the county health agency, said. According to Norby, the county should charge Cerner for the cost of duplicate billing (Los Angeles Times, 3/31).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.