Tip #100: Pre-Visit Protocols, Part One

The billing process starts well before the patient sees the physician. Part of the Front Desk job is making sure the pre-visit work is done accurately and timely. Your practice can avoid problems related to non-covered services, inaccurate insurance information, coverage ineligibility, and payment delays by having excellent front-end processes. In addition, the patient financial clearance process is a chance to establish any expectations regarding the patient’s financial responsibility before the service is provided.

Any paperwork, data capture, data updates, insurance verification and other business functions your staff handles prior to the visit will enhance the patients’ experience during and after their encounter and ensure we have the data needed for a clean claim or accurate statement. Waiting until the patient arrives at the office before collecting the information is not an efficient or effective way to start the revenue cycle.

The high volume of patient scheduling and other incoming calls may preclude practice staff from obtaining the information during scheduling. There are also several other means that can be used to capture registration information including but not limited to a new patient registration packet, the appointment reminder process, and real-time patient financial clearance.

You may opt to send a registration packet to new patients via mail. Patients are then asked to complete the information and bring it to their first visit. Alternatively, they may download the forms to the practice website.

For established patients, the financial clearing communication should take place during the appointment reminder process that is conducted 24-48 hours before the scheduled appointment. At that time, staff informs patients of any outstanding balances that are due and can update insurance and demographic information.