29 Sep Have You Assessed Your Front End Operations Lately?
It’s about that time of year – for some of us, that means the end of our fiscal year, for others it may be staff review time. It’s a good point in the year to take stock of some of your practice operations. Are you satisfied with your revenue cycle operations? Do you feel you have taken advantage of implementing all possible efficiencies in your office? We write a lot on this blog about back end revenue cycle operations, but if your front end revenue cycle operations are not up to par, your back end staff will be left picking up the slack, straining the whole cycle. It’s important to focus on all areas of your revenue cycle to ensure you have smooth, optimized operations throughout.
When assessing your front desk operations, begin by identifying obvious areas for improvement:
- Are staff doing a good job of verifying accuracy of patient data in your practice management system?
- Are staff asking patients to pay their copays and any outstanding balances at check-in?
- Are patients signing off on all necessary forms at check-in?
Once you’ve corrected areas where you have identified “low-hanging fruit”, dig a bit deeper to identify areas for improvement and efficiencies:
- Do staff understand the expectations you have of them with regard to collecting patient balances? How is collection of due balances tracked in your office? Are there consequences for those who don’t do a good job of collecting patient due balances?
- During your initial assessment, you may have confirmed that staff are asking patients for their insurance cards and saving this information in your practice management system. That’s a great first step, but how are they doing on verifying insurance benefits? Are staff only closing the loop on the benefits check for the “easy” payers, meaning those that return benefits via e-verification? How are they handling if benefits are rejected? Are they confirming that scheduled services are covered by the patient’s benefit plan?
There are many areas for optimizing your front end work flows. The more detailed you get with assessment and setting expectations for your staff, the better off your revenue cycle will be as a whole.