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Share your story: Electronic Funds Transfer and Electronic EOB’s, replacing paper checks and reports

Are you part of a practice that uses EFT? Do you use the capability of your practice software to receive and reconcile EOB’s? Have you tried and made it happen? Or maybe not. No matter. We want to hear from you!

What is an EFT?

EFT is the electronic transfer of funds from one account to another. EFT offers a safe, convenient, timely and less expensive alternative to paper checks or virtual card payments. Everyone who has used an ATM, or paid a bill via their bank’s web site or app, has made an EFT. In the dental payer reimbursement world, EFT means that a payer will send the payment directly to your bank account in lieu of sending you a paper check.

What is an ERA?

An ERA is the electronic equivalent to a paper Explanation of Benefits (EOB) or a proprietary Explanation of Payment (EOP) transaction, documents that explain claim payments made to a dentist.

A benefit of accepting both EFT payments and ERAs is that they can be linked. When used in combination fully automated reconciliation is possible – saving staff time for other important work that will keep operatory chairs filled and the practice busy.

On average, EFT funds are available seven days faster than paper checks and staff time is not required for bank visits to make deposits. EFT also eliminates the risk of lost or stolen checks, or stolen virtual card numbers.

While only 6 percent of dentists receive their claim payments via EFT—in contrast to over 90 percent for other health care providers—that number is expected to grow, with more dental payers requiring EFT as the favored method of payment to dental offices.

The Center for Dental Benefits, Coding and Quality wants to hear your stories. Why? Because both new and established dentists can learn from each other. There is no reason to reinvent the wheel. What can you talk about?

  • Have you considered accepting EFTs or ERAs or both—and what did you decide to do?
  • What pros and cons were considered when deciding whether or not to accept either or both electronic transaction?
  • What steps were taken to integrate one or both into your office workflow?
  • Provide descriptions of what worked and why? What did not work and why?
  • Give examples of obstacles faced and how they were, or were not, overcome.

Please tell us at dentalbenefits@ada.org.

2 comments

  • Naomi FIordimondo

    Is there a toolkit available for dental businesses navigating how to set up EFT and ERA? We are a small, sole-proprietor practice in PA and all the options and “easy fixes” being offered out there are mind-numbing. Would love to get guidance from someone who is _not_ standing to benefit from us doing it one way or another. (Here’s the AMA’s version for their members: https://www.ama-assn.org/sites/default/files/media-browser/public/psa/eft-toolkit-full.pdf ) Thanks!

    • Dear Dr. FIordimondo,

      You aren’t alone in wondering about how to migrate your payments and EOBs from paper to electronic. Your ADA is in the midst of a pilot program designed to determine what it takes for different sized dental practices, from solo on up, to incorporate EFTs and EOBs into their daily back-office activities. The pilot is due to conclude later this year, and its findings, conclusions and recommendations will become implementation models, a roadmap for you and your colleagues who wish to be leaders, moving the dental profession further down the cost saving automation road.

      Did you know that manually processing a payment and a remittance advice is over 5 times more expensive than processing them electronically – eight dollars and fifty-eight cents vs one dollar and sixty-four cents – and that the average manual processing time is 22 minutes versus 5 for electronic? This is a lot of time and money over a month as well as a year.

      You do not have to wait until summer is over to learn more. On May 11th the ADA is sponsoring a webinar on EFT where you will hear from one of the dentists whose practice is in the pilot program, as well as others from practice management system vendors, payers and the banking industry. We’ll be exploding myths and laying the groundwork – and you can earn one hour of CE credit for participating. You can register at https://cc.readytalk.com/r/jo70xx7ju5r8&eom

      Stay tuned for more, and we are looking forward to more feedback from you and your colleagues.

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