Health Information Technology – CMS Took Steps to Improve Its Beneficiary Eligibility Verification System, GAO-12-973, Sep 12, 2012
“The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) currently offers to Medicare providers and Medicare Administrative Contractors the use of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) Eligibility Transaction System (HETS) in a real-time data processing environment. HETS is operational 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, except during regularly scheduled maintenance Monday mornings, from midnight until 5:00 a.m., and when CMS announces other maintenance periods during one or two weekends each month. According to program officials, 244 entities were using HETS in 2012, including about 130 providers, 104 clearinghouses that provide data exchange services to about 400,000 health care providers, and 10 Medicare contractors that help CMS process claims for services. From January through June 2012, HETS processed each month an average of 1.7 million to 2.2 million queries per day with most of the queries submitted between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. eastern time.”
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