VA treating its medical centers' IT needs

Department of Veteran Affairs' medical centers will get a shot in the arm from a contract to improve inpatient and outpatient coding.

VA has awarded QuadraMed Corp. of Reston, Va., a $20.5 million task order, which was part of the existing blanket purchase agreement, to update billing systems for the agency's Health Information Management departments.

QuadraMed will upgrade its inpatient coding system, Encoding Product Suite, and also will implement its VIP Compliance Suite at all 147 VA locations.

'We'll provide a utility code that will allow human coders to make sure they are coding according to the rules and regulations,' said Michael Loyd, QuadraMed's vice president of government programs.

Currently, VA uses EPS for 'inpatient and outpatient coding, compliance, claims and editing, and revenue cycle workflow stations for [health information management] and billing departments,' Loyd said.

'VIP Compliance Suite will upgrade and enhance the inpatient utility within EPS, which will allow the VA to do robust VistA [Veterans Health Information Systems and Technology Architecture] analysis in real time,' Loyd said.

The new utility will help VA 'improve the management of case loads, inpatient and outpatient coding, compliance monitoring and reporting,' QuadraMed officials said.

Once the new system is in place, Loyd said, 'VA can better manage its coding processes for inpatients. It [VIP] will increase efficiency and productivity.'

VIP Compliance Suite, which is customized to VA's revenue cycle management process, will be implemented immediately. Locations have been prioritized based on which are capable of implementing the system. QuadrMed officials expect a six-month implementation period.

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