The state's largest health insurer is expanding its on-site hospital billing service to the Duke University Health System.
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina started posting employees on location at Raleigh-based WakeMed in 2009 to work with physicians and billing departments. The goal to resolve claims questions faster and more efficiently.
The insurer previously expanded the program to the UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill and is in discussions about doing it at other hospitals. Adding Duke gives Blue Cross partnerships with the Triangle's three biggest hospital systems.
The Duke Health system's facilities include its flagship hospital in Durham, Durham Regional Hospital and Duke Raleigh Hospital. Blue Cross will have employees at Duke Health's central billing office in Research Triangle Park.
"Ideally, this will all be transparent to the member/patient," Blue Cross spokeswoman Michelle Douglas said. "The goal is to resolve issues before the member is even aware of a problem."
A year after Blue Cross started it on-site effort at WakeMed, more than half of all claims inquiries were resolved on the first day, a 23 percent improvement.
Blue Cross and health providers are under increasing pressure to reduce costs and streamline the billing process as various changes related to the federal health overhaul are implemented in coming years.
“The on-site model has provided opportunities to increase efficiencies and reduce waste," Ian Gordon, senior vice president for commercial and government operations at Blue Cross, said in a prepared statement. "As a result, we have seen improved satisfaction among our customers and the physicians and hospitals with whom we work. Working side-by-side has improved communication between BCBSNC and health care providers."