VA Honored With Kevin O'Brien Quality Award for HIPAA-Compliant Electronic Payments

Posted April 2, 2004

NACHA - The Electronic Payments Association has selected the chief business office of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs' Veterans Health Administration as the recipient of the 2004 Kevin O'Brien ACH Quality Award. The award presentation will take place at NACHA's PAYMENTS 2004 conference in Seattle, Washington on March 22.

The VA is being recognized for its success in implementing a nationwide electronic health care remittance and payment processing system that complies with the electronic transaction standards of HIPAA. ACH stands for Automated Clearing House.

"This has been both a collaborative and innovative effort. The NACHA award underscores VA's pioneering role in electronic payment transactions, and we are honored to be receiving it," said Kenneth Ruyle, the VA's acting chief business officer.

The VA is the largest integrated health care provider in the United States. For veterans' nonservice-connected health care, the VA submits approximately 10 million claims every year and receives third-party payments from some 1,675 different insurers.

Along with its partners at PNC Bank and the U.S. Treasury, the VA developed e-Payments to replace paper checks and remittances. When payers submit payments electronically, VA has shown reductions in the average time from submitting claims to receiving payment of 43 percent, from 49 days to 28 days. Automated data entry and report generation are providing greater speed and accuracy; automated matching of payments and accounts receivable is streamlining the closeout of AR and the preparation of deposits.

The Kevin O’Brien ACH Quality Award is presented annually to one or more organizations to recognize best practices in ACH participants’ efforts to maintain and improve the quality of ACH services and the integrity and reliability of the ACH Network. The award is named for the late Kevin O’Brien, NACHA’s Chairman in 1999-2000.

The ACH Network is a national electronic payments system used by the nation’s 20,000 financial institutions and an estimated 4.8 million businesses and 145 million Americans. ACH payments include Direct Deposit of payroll, Social Security benefits and tax refunds, Direct Payment of consumer bills, e- checks, business-to-business payments, and Federal tax payments. In 2004 there were more than 12 billion ACH payments made, worth $28.7 trillion.

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