How Check-In Procedures can Increase Billing Efficiency
There are a number of ways a medical practice can approach the issue of billing efficiency. One of those, of course, is outsourcing the billing function, which allows the practice staff to focus on what they do best, and leaves the billing in the hands of those who have that expertise. Whether or not you outsource your practice billing, however, there are things that you can do in the daily in and out of your practice to help make sure that the billing function is as efficient as it can be and that you don’t wind up providing services for which, ultimately, you don’t get paid.
One of the areas in which you can increase the efficiency of the billing function is in your check-in procedures. Patient check-in is a critical component of the billing process, and if your check-in isn’t efficient and effective then your billing, likewise, won’t be.
Here are some things you can do during check-in to increase billing efficiency:
- Verify patient data each visit. The temptation can be, especially with your regular patients, to forego a data check. You don’t want to burden your patients with a bunch of paperwork, and that’s understandable. However, many practices go the opposite direction and simply don’t verify at all or just ask the patient, “has anything changed.” Instead, simply asking the patient to verify their insurance provider information on each visit can reduce rebilling and errors by a significant factor.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for payment. Many practices don’t want to get into the collections business, and rightly so. That’s why you outsource your billing or collections. Still, if a patient is in your office and has an outstanding balance, simply asking for a payment can move things in the right direction. Yes, it’s tricky if you’re waiting on insurance payments, but you can at least ask for co-pays.
- Be a source of patient education. While your staff can’t become experts on each and every insurance plan out there, and while you don’t want to dispense insurance advice, you can help patients to understand how their coverage works. Obviously, this is much easier if you have a substantial number of patients with identical coverage, but even if not you can offer to help patients examine their medical insurance policies so they better understand what they’re responsible for.
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