The front desk is not an easy job; you are constantly multitasking and trying to please everyone while keeping a smile on your face and having a full understanding of all moving parts. That is why rather than having the front desk staff just going through the motions, it is best to explain why everything is done a certain way and how important all tasks are so the they truly understand how the practice functions and stays alive. They will be a better asset, bring in more money efficiently and will be take initiative.
- Verifying a patients eligibility
Verifying a patients eligibility is a very important task by the front desk and can really affect your cash flow. Before a patient comes in to see the physician, it should be customary to make sure their insurance actually covers what they are coming in for as well as if they are in network with the physician. If each and every patient’s eligibility isn’t done correctly then you will be sure to have some hang-ups when it comes to getting paid. It is important to sit down with your front desk team to make sure they know the specific information they are looking for when contacting the insurance company because it isn’t only about making sure the insurance is active or not. If specific details are incorrect during this process or are not verified, the claim will go out incorrectly which will delay payment OR the physician wont be paid at all because the patient isn’t covered.
- Demographic information
As it is very important to gather a correct phone number and address, it actually equally as important to gather the primary insured party , birth date and other patient demographic information. A lot of claims will get denied because a patients birth date is incorrect or the insured party isn’t correct. Also, with meaningful use, race, ethinicity and the language they speak are specific measures that need to get collected in order to meet checkpoints for incentive payments. This information is definitely something you need to talk to your front desk staff about so money isn’t left on the table.
- Being in front of the Patients
Anyone who works at the front desk will have a lot of face time with the patients. It is important to make sure not only to be friendly and nice, but to also be knowledgeable about accounts receivable. It is up to the front desk to make sure all copays are collected correctly and if something changes in the room with the doctor, make sure the right level of copay was collected. It is also important to know the past due balances of the patients coming in so that you can collect on them while they are in the office. It is easier to collect from someone who is right in front of you, rather than through sent statements and phone calls. If your front desk is well educated, you will collect more money.