VA Raises the Bar on Health Care Billing

The Department of Veterans Affairs has a long history of providing for disabled veterans, who made sacrifices to protect our nation. Today's VA provides veterans with more than pensions and home loans. Through the VA's Veteran Health Administration division, veterans are provided with no-cost or low-cost medical care from one of the most respected and efficient health care systems in the country. However, as our nation continues to face financial crises, the VHA is also faced with financial challenges to its mission of providing quality care. In response to these challenges, the VHA has established the Consolidated Patient Account Center.

In response to a congressional mandate, the CPAC is part of a program that will consolidate the traditional set of VHA business offices and related functions into seven regional centers. The goal of these centers will be to transform VHA billing and collections to industry best practices standards.

In 2006, the pilot CPAC program was established in Asheville, N.C., at the Veterans Integrated Service Network. The pilot was a remarkable success. The program showed an 18 percent increase in third-party collections, demonstrated lower operation costs and established best practice performance standards.

With the success of the CPAC pilot, the VHA plans to expand the program system-wide. The pilot site, Asheville, N.C., will be designated as the Mid-Atlantic CPAC. Centers will be established for the mid-South states in Murfreesboro, Tennessee; for the North Central states in Madison, Wisconsin; for Florida and the Caribbean in Orlando, Florida; for the Northeastern states in Lebanon, Pennsylvania; for the Western states in Las Vegas, Nevada; and for the Central Plains states in Leavenworth, Kentucky. The Mid-Atlantic CPAC has been converted from a pilot program to a fully operational center. The Tennessee and Wisconsin sites will transition this year, and the other sites will transition over a period of three years.

With the program expanding, the VHA will be able to increase quality services with the help of virtual employees and on-site staff. The operational cost savings will be used to reduce overall health care costs and provide added revenue for services.

As health care reform continues across the nation, federal agencies will continue to look for ways to reduce costs to increase quality services. The VHA's CPAC system will not compromise the high health care standards that disabled veterans and their families have come to expect.