What Are the Roles of the Front Office Staff?
Updated: Oct 25, 2019
Last week we went over the responsibilities of a collection agency. Many medical and dental offices have patient balances that go unpaid at the time of service. Failing to collect balances before treatment is done may set the office up for acquiring past due accounts. A collection agency may be hired by the practice as an attempt to collect bad debt. In our poll, we asked at what point offices are sending their past due accounts to collections. Thirty percent said '90 days', 50% said '120 days', and the remaining 20% said 'Never'. Our recommendation for past due accounts is to send them to collections within the range of 60-90 days. It is true that the longer the account remains past due, the more difficult it is to collect all or a portion of the amount owed.
This week, we will spend time on the roles and responsibilities of the front office staff. Since these employees are typically the point of first contact with the patient, it is important that they provide an excellent first impression. We have said in the past that new patients are vital to your practice, but a recurring patient is worth much more. Because of this, the front desk staff may be your most important hire.
Roles of Front Office Staff:
Estimate Insurance Before Visit and Collect Patient Portion at Time of Service
Get necessary information for insurance verification over the phone when the patient makes the appointment.
Communicate approximate amount due before they attend the appointment. (Acquire a patient signed treatment plan estimate)
Explain Financial Policy.
Communicate basic insurance benefits to clinicians.
Keep Schedule Full
There should be production scheduled every hour.
Keep a list of patients waiting to be seen in the event of a last minute cancellation.
Call patients who are past due on preventative procedures or patients that have unscheduled treatment plans to fill schedule.
Implement a 'no-show' policy.
Always inquire about follow-up appointments during patient check out and schedule their next appointment.
Be polite and understanding when talking with patients.
Smile when talking in person and over the phone.
Communicate positively and respectfully to clinicians.
Talk Positively About Doctor On and Off Duty
Patients will be more likely to have good faith in the care they are receiving if office employees build up the doctor.
If an employee sees a patient outside of the office setting, they should still act as if they are on the clock.
Talk Positively About Office and Staff On and Off Duty
This is just as important as talking up the doctor.
The patient must have confidence in everyone involved with their care.
Know Products and Services Offered.
This includes knowing which insurance providers are in network.
Implement an organized and up to date guide with the cost of cash pay products and services.
Generally, the first person that the patient sees or speaks to is your front desk employees. To make a great first impression and build a relationship with patients, the front office staff must be exceptional. Patients should be greeted with a friendly smile and courteous conversation. It is the responsibility of the front desk to ensure accuracy of insurance information and communicate benefits to the patient. They control the scheduling of your production. A solid knowledge of how to keep the schedule full and the services provided is crucial to maximize the efficiency of the entire office.
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Developing a management report is not easy and Doctors CFO currently has a robust model for most practice types that is customized for our monthly and bi-monthly clients. If you have questions on how this model applies to your practice or you are interested in applying the Doctors CFO model in your practice, via one of our annual, bi-monthly or monthly assessments, please reach out to us as email@example.com. Doctors CFO provides financial analysis and valuations for doctors and dentists in the United States. We also offer programs for new patient marketing, revenue and collection management, medical practice consultant, dental consultant, and practice analysis.
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