Leverage Your Front Desk Staff To
Increase Revenue

Leverage Your Front Desk Staff to Increase Revenue

Many physicians are familiar with the drop in cash flow that occurs in the first few months of every year. During this time many patients have not yet met their deductibles and must pay 100% of their healthcare costs out of their own pockets. An average of $4,000 annual deductible for a family on a high deductible insurance plan makes it difficult to keep up. Needless to say that payment plans are the only option for some patients to be able to pay and for doctors who want to keep these patients.

Leverage Your Front Desk Staff to Increase Revenue

One big healthcare system change that is underway is the growth in popularity of consumer directed health plans (CDHP) which place more responsibility on patients for their health care costs. A 2015 survey showed a sharp rise – from 22% to 35% – in employers that plan to implement CDHP’s in their employee healthcare offerings. With this change medical practices can expect to see an increase in revenue coming from patients instead of insurance companies.

A recent JP Morgan report revealed a trend of medical practice managers focusing on implementing electronic health records and increasing patient scheduling. These are definitely important aspects of a medical practice, but the trend has taken some focus away from managing the revenue cycle. This is an area where your front desk staff could be leveraged. The following tips are especially effective for small medical practices, but larger organizations can benefit from them as well.

Collect Payment when Services are Rendered

For years, or even decades, the overriding culture has taught patients healthcare costs are something you worry about later. Either your insurance company will take care of it or you will receive a bill in the mail at a later date. In truth, if a patient does not pay for their part of the obligation right away you may have trouble collecting and in most instances never see that money at all. The front office staff is in the best position to collect the patient obligation during the visit as well as collecting on previous balances when the patient returns.

The best approach is to insure that the front desk staff is familiar with the payer contracted fees, the details of patients’ benefits and deductibles, outstanding patient balances, etc. They should be ready to inform the patient of the amount due and collect upon the patient signing in. Once a patient is out the door, the chance of collecting their copayment drops to 50%, and if it is a larger bill the probability of collecting could fall to as low as 10%. In fact, the Medical Group Management Association, states that those practices that don’t collect from patients at the time of service, leave 30% of their monthly revenue on the table. Put a process in place that has your staff well prepared to inform patients and being upfront about collecting before they leave, or, better yet, when they arrive.

Remove Payment Barriers

The information age has brought with it a number of payment options that consumers now expect practices to offer, including electronic statements and online bill paying. More and more, patients today view healthcare as simply another consumer product. With their growing financial obligation, they want to easily understand what they owe and have options on how to pay. Meet their expectations by offering payment options like online payments and payment plans. One reason cited for not paying medical bills is that they are difficult to understand. Have your front office staff available to review and explain patients’ medical bills. Also, implement a system that allows your staff to offer payment options to your patients.

More than almost anyone else, your front desk staff should be viewed as a resource by your patients. Keep your front office staff informed and trained on billing trends and changes. Insure that they are readily available to answer patient questions and concerns, while also communicating an expectation of timely payments. ProMD offers a variety of medical practice consulting and billing services. Contact ProMD today for a full circle practice assessment and be ready to take advantage of the changing healthcare landscape.

ProMD Medical Billing is happy to help with your billing assessment needs so you can maximize profits and increase patient satisfaction. To learn more about how ProMD can make your practice run like a well-oiled machine, call 866-960-9558 or fill out our online form to request a billing assessment.

Back ↵