Beaverlog Tips:  Volume 36 - May 24, 2007

THIN and Availity Redux

This is the third time we've written about THIN and/or Availity in Beaverlog Tips (see volume 16 and volume 35). This time there is both good news and bad news. As you may know, Availity has taken over THIN and is merging all operations into the Availity offices in Florida. In case you are unfamiliar with these companies, they are an electronic claims clearinghouse (ANSI X12 format) owned largely by some large payers. You can learn more about the company on their web site and even more by doing a Google search.

For us, dealing with THIN and now Availity has been a roller-coaster. One time they make unreasonable demands and put up roadblocks and the next they work with us and everything's great. Then the cycle starts all over again. Several weeks ago they told us they required a software vendor ID placed in 1000A.PER06 element. A very loose interpretation of the standard could allow for this usage so we have added support for that use in The THERAPIST Pro version 2.5.022 (Billing > Electronic Claim Receivers > [select X12 receiver] > Generator Options > EDI Access Number). Yesterday we heard from another Availity contact (one who actually sits on the official X12 committee). She told us that this usage was not allowed and that it couldn't be required. Ok! Good news for a change. Not so much for us because we had already implemented the change, but for you if you are submitting X12 claims.

Next we were told that we had to go through yet another round of testing or all or our customers' claims would be rejected, even those customers who were already in production and successfully submitting claims and getting paid. Not only did they want us to do more testing, they insisted that we use real data with real patients and real services, etc. That presents a problem but the representative was adamant. Bad news. Yesterday we had more good news (from the same X12 committee member). If we could persuade one customer to send some test claims, they would approve us and all of our other customers. Hooray! That's something we can do (at least we're pretty sure).

So the roller-coaster goes on but the future looks promising. As always, we will fight the good fight on your behalf.


Sending Results to Adobe® Acrobat® Files

At times it would be nice to send reports via email or store them electronically rather than maintaining paper copies. This would mean creating the reports as a file rather than (or in addition to) printing it. The obvious format choice is Adobe's Portable Document Format (PDF), also called Acrobat files. Almost every computer in the world can read and display PDF files as can some EBook readers and phototypesetters. The big question is how to get The THERAPIST results into that form as simply as possible.

Because The THERAPIST is already generating the results and sending them to a printer, the easiest thing would be to have a printer driver that would create the PDF file instead of actually printing the report to paper. Fortunately, there are several products that do just that. Once installed, a new printer shows up in the list on your computer and all you have to do is select it to create the PDF document. We have two such products to recommend. The first is Adobe Acrobat itself, in either the Standard or Professional version. These can be purchased from many software suppliers or directly from Adobe. At Beaver Creek Software, we use Acrobat Professional to create our online manuals directly from Microsoft Word documents.

For occasional use, the Adobe solutions might be overkill and perhaps too expensive. A very nice (and yet free) solution is PrimoPDF. You can download it from their web site. It works with any software that can print and even lets you password-protect the PDF document to prevent it from being changed. You can also use the password security to prevent the document from being printed or having its contents copied.