Calls come in daily for new appointments. Some calls are existing patients and some are new patients. There may be patients waiting to check in. How fast can you get the patient an appointment and get them off the phone? Is this the correct way to measure customer service? Patients might become impatient with wait time or hold time on the phone.

Would you rather have an impatient patient on the phone for three to four minutes or an uncollectible balance on an account because proper information was not obtained? If an existing patient calls in for an appointment – before a time slot is provided the scheduler needs to take thirty seconds to verify current insurance and demographic information. “Could you please confirmation your date of birth and address? Do you still have x insurance? With Jane Smith as the policy holder? Please verify the date of birth of the policy holder.” Ideally, at this point – you would be able to verify the insurance is still eligible on the payer website or a clearinghouse website in real-time. Great – easy and on to set the appointment.

When new patients call – there is more information that needs to be collected. If you have patients waiting in front of you or on another line – ask the patient to briefly hold so you may get them the proper attention needed. New patients require your full attention to details. Make sure to notify the patient this call will take a few minutes as you ask several questions. Gathering all the correct spellings of names, payers, policy holders, and dates of birth is critical. Real-time eligibility check will help detect any errors you recorded or if the payer has it incorrect in the system there would be time prior to the appointment for the insured to get it corrected. At this point an appointment may be set.

Most front offices pull medical charts a day or two prior to medical appointments. This allows the team to prep the rooms for procedures and review the history of the patient. Another benefit for reviewing the chart a day before is not re-verify eligibility of the patient’s insurance. This allows time to verify a referral was received if required, allows the staff to flag if money is owed on the account from past appointments or a current co-pay, or if a prior authorization might be required. Spending 5-15 minutes on the front end prior to the patient coming saves billing staff HOURS of work on the back end trying to research denials and appeal insurance for reimbursement.

Contact FinanSynergy for FREE CONSULTATION to help evaluate your current medical practice processes. We are Iowa’s Premier Health Care Financial Experts.