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Last Modified: 1/18/2018 Location: FL, PR, USVI Business: Part A, Part B


“When SPOT added secure mail to handle appeals too, it was like, wow this is so great. SPOT just keeps getting better.”

-Kristin Sierens,
UF/Shands Supervisor
Medicare/Tricare Payors
(Photo Courtesy: Kristin Sierens, UF/Shands)

Click here and tell us about your success story with First Coast’s web tools.

Physician group feeling secure with SPOT love

You’ve got secure mail.
Since the release of the similarly titled 1998 movie starring Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks, technology has evolved dramatically. For the dozen Medicare billers handling claims for physicians at the University of Florida/Shands Hospital, First Coast Service Options’ secure provider portal, SPOT, is delivering much more love and happiness than the sappy Hollywood story.
“We have a team of 12 billers. We handle everything Part B and use the SPOT for everything we can. It saves so much time,” says Kristin Sierens, Supervisor for the Medicare/Tricare billing team at UF/Shands physician group practice.
With the recent addition of online access to remittance advice information and addition of PDF documents through secure messaging, SPOT is offering even more efficiencies for providers managing their Medicare billing.
The team handles about 11,000 claims each month for more than 120 physicians practicing under the UF/Shands umbrella. In addition to being the team supervisor, Sierens works claim rejections, follow-ups, and appeals. As the team leader she has seen productivity and efficiency increase greatly with their use of First Coast’s SPOT portal.
“With SPOT, we put our information in. BAM, there it is. It’s in the system. It’s cut down by half the amount of time we were spending on each patient claim. We love SPOT,” she said.
In December 2014, First Coast extended SPOT, adding the option for providers to submit correspondence for claim redeterminations and overpayments through the secure mail tool. For Sierens’ team and UF/Shands, this has translated into less time spent going to the post office and tracking correspondence with First Coast.
“I spent 30-45 minutes a day logging appeals in a spreadsheet to track where we were in the process. We handle 20-30 appeals each day. This adds up to a lot of time for me and for my team handling appeals. When SPOT added secure mail to handle appeals too, it was like, wow this is so great. SPOT just keeps getting better.”
In addition to saving time, the secure mail tool within SPOT also gives Sierens assurance her time spent isn’t wasted. “Being able to handle the appeals online is great. We started filing electronic appeals right away. Before SPOT offered secure messaging, we would call the customer service line to check on appeals status. Sometimes there was no record of First Coast receiving the paperwork for the appeal,” Sierens said. “With secure messaging it is reassuring. We know when we get the email confirmation from SPOT, our appeals have been received by First Coast and they are in the system.”
In addition to the secure mail tool, Sierens found love at first sight when First Coast added the ability to reopen claims. “Reopenings has drastically cut down the amount of time we spend on claims. My team was so happy when reopenings came out in SPOT We can go in and change an incorrect diagnosis code and cut the time in half in what it takes for us to handle that claim,” Sierens said.
“We might have a charge go out with an incorrect modifier. With reopenings, we can make the correction online. With the IVR, we could do a reopening, but we would have to wait two weeks before we received a new EOB to find out if we keyed in the correct information.”
For her peers in medical billing offices throughout Florida, Sierens says if the office doesn’t have SPOT they should get it right away. “SPOT will increase your staff accuracy and productivity. It is also a lot easier to track what you have done with the email confirmations. And, wow, it’s free. Why wouldn’t you get SPOT.”
First Coast Service Options (First Coast) strives to ensure that the information available on our provider website is accurate, detailed, and current. Therefore, this is a dynamic site and its content changes daily. It is best to access the site to ensure you have the most current information rather than printing articles or forms that may become obsolete without notice.