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 DETROIT, Oct. 4 /PRNewswire/ -- Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Michigan shut down part of its claims processing computers on Friday, Oct. 1, to install a new electronic claims processing program that allows hospitals to switch to a new, simplified claim form that is a key element of President Clinton's Health Care Plan.
 The shutdown is scheduled to last until sometime today.
 The new form is called "UB-92." UB stands for universal bill.
 It's part of a joint industry-government program completed in 1992 to simplify and improve efficiency in processing claims from hospitals, psychiatric and substance abuse centers, and skilled nursing care facilities.
 While the project began before Clinton unveiled his health-care proposal, UB-92 has been identified as one of four standard forms that the president wants to use across the U.S.
 Earlier this year, the federal government's Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA) ordered all Medicare administrators to begin use of the new claim form this month. The Blues are the major Medicare administrator in Michigan, and were part of a committee that wrote guidelines to use the new form in the state.
 Besides Medicare claims, the Blues have decided to concurrently switch all other hospital claims to the new form as well.
 "We want to keep it as simple as possible for hospital administrators," said Tom Licht, who has been in charge of part of the changeover for the Blues.
 An estimated 10 million claims will be handled next year by the Blues in the state on the new system.
 The Blues have proceeded with the changeover despite a strike by 3,400 of its employees represented by four United Auto Worker (UAW) locals across the state.
 The changeover, as well as other essential operations, are being handled by 3,600 non-bargaining and supervisory employees who have been reassigned during the strike which began Sept. 21.
 Both the old and the new forms will be accepted temporarily by the new computer program that the Blues are putting in place.
 Hospitals that submit paper claims must switch to the new form by the end of the year. Those that now submit claims electronically must switch to the new form by next April.
 Hospitals and other facilities can send the new form to the Blues by computer or on paper. The latter can be scanned by an electronic reader and turned into an electronic claim. Electronic processing eliminates the need for time-consuming retyping of the information by the Blues.
 This means once a claim is filled out in the hospital billing department, either on a typewriter or a computer terminal, it can go to a claims processing computer without being re-entered by hand into a second computer terminal. This eliminates a step in the process, and the possibility of errors in data re-entry.
 The Blues and the Michigan Hospital Association have jointly sponsored a series of seminars, and distributed other communications to hospital administrators to help them prepare for the conversion.
 Hospitals in Michigan submit approximately 97 percent of Medicare claims and 75 percent of other claims to the Blues by computer. The Michigan Blues have been recognized by HCFA as a leader in implementation of electronic claims processing.
 The UB-92 form also will be adopted by the state's Medicaid program as well as other health insurers and workers' compensation insurers in the state.
 The Blues cover 4.3 million of the state's residents with either Traditional, HMO or PPO plans. Medicare covers 1.2 million of the state's residents who are over 65 or disabled and on Social Security.
 -0- 10/4/93
 /CONTACT: Rue? Difazio, 313-225-8113, Helen Stojic, 313-225-7975, or Joe Johnson, 616-258-2053, all of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Michigan/

CO: Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Michigan ST: Michigan IN: HEA INS SU:

JG -- DE027 -- 8351 10/04/93 12:25 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Oct 4, 1993

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