New system speeds up processing

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo.--A year after it was launched, Missouri’s Smart PA Cyber Access system has decreased providers’ paperwork load and the  time it takes them to put equipment in the hands of beneficiaries.

“Missouri is setting the curve,” said Ron Burns, Missouri chairman for the Midwest Association of Medical Equipment Services. “It’s an electronic world. Let’s use it.”

The online system streamlines the entire process of providing DME to Medicaid beneficiaries. Once a physician enters a prescription into the system, the beneficiary can go to any provider to get it filled. The provider then accesses the system to verify the prescription has been approved and to file claims.

“The average time to do a prior authorization (outside of the online system) is 60 to 90 days,” said Burns. “This stuff is taking 30 days or less.”

Providers can use the system for basic DME like canes, walkers and hospital beds, along with respiratory equipment and diabetic shoes. The state plans to add manual wheelchairs, cushions and incontinence products. Getting complex rehab is proving more problematic, Burns said.

“We haven’t come up with a process for it,” he said. “We are not sure how or even if it’s going to work. It’s a complicated service.”

Other kinks to be worked out: Dial-up access in rural areas makes it harder to use the system, and many patients are still bringing in written prescriptions to providers, who then must make sure the physician has actually entered it into the system.

Still, Burns says Smart PA is doing what it’s supposed to do.

“The system takes the burden off the providers,” said Burns.