In an article yesterday Modern Physician reports that several medical groups are having technical problems submitting claims via WebMD. Given that WebMD took over several claims clearing houses and transaction systems in its roll-up phase in 1999-2001, the complaint from several medical associations may signal bad news for the company. WebMD’s stock has recovered from its tumble in September-October over accounting problems at one of its taken-over subsidiaries. But, given the extent of it’s roll-up shopping spree in 1999-2001, (which as Steve Hoffman points out is ongoing!) when it engulfed many of the big claims transaction companies and clearing houses, WebMD plays a central role in much of the HIPAA mandated electronic administrative transactions in the country. (For more on WebMD’s history see my post here)
Don’t forget that it was late payments that caused the final unraveling of Cigna, Aetna and the other national "managed care" plans and effectively ended the 1990s style of cost-constraints as we knew them. This problem may be just a technical hitch, but on the other hand it could indicate deeper problems within the bowels of WebMD, which will of necessity reverberate around the system. So this is one to keep an eye on.