Where’s My Money?

One leak in your money funnel could be your front desk.  Is your front desk collecting all the monies the patient owes at the time of service?  Some offices just focus on collecting copays.  Then the EOB comes to the financial department, and then they see the patient also owes for a deductible or for some non-covered services.

Do you have a system to know the patient’s benefits prior to their appointment? If not, are your patients upset that they owe money unexpectedly?  Now, watch what happens.  The financial manager sends the patient a bill.  The bill is either ignored or the patient calls complaining about it.  No one, not even you, doctor, likes bill surprises.  You just made it difficult to collect money. 

You should have a staff member verify everybody’s benefits for the day.  One recommendation is to have a smart high school or college student check the schedule for all new patients and for all patients who have not been here for a year.  This should be done one to three days in advance.  A form should be given to the student that has all the questions he or she needs to ask.  The information is put into their electronic records.  So now if you are giving patients ankles supports and those are not covered, you can tell them the cost prior to them leaving the office.  In addition, any deductible that is owed can be collected as well.  This way there are no surprises for anyone.

It is the job of the front desk to collect all past-due fees, so you will need to train this staff person to always look at the account when a patient checks out.  The goal is to collect every dime before the patient leaves.  The front desk person will need to write any notes in the system explaining why the patient may not have paid and what the next course of action will be.  This way the financial person will know the front desk person attempted to collect and will know what to do next. 

In order to increase collections, make your financial person in charge of any system that pertains to collections and billing.  This way, she can be in total charge of her department.

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