Front Office Best Practices

The front desk person in any medical office has a very important role in the organization.  If this employee fails to complete their responsibilities accurately and timely, errors will trickle down all the way to the back office and ultimately impact the practice’s revenue.  Hiring the right person for this role is extremely important.

The front desk person should not be the receptionist but serve only as a backup in that capacity.  Remember, they are responsible for the entire “Front Office”.  While skill levels vary from person to person, every front desk person should:

  • Have a positive attitude – as they are the face of the practice and set the tone.
  • Communicate clearly – The staff must be able to discuss and educate patients on financial policies, deductibles, copays, and patient balances. Upfront collections will decrease outstanding patient balances and our Patient Cost Estimator will help you manage those patients with high out of pocket expenses. Also, asking the right questions is imperative especially if you have Medicare patients as there are so many alternative insurance options and getting complete and accurate information is key.
  • Be computer literate – as you will rely on this person to maintain accurate information in your practice management system.

The front office staff is responsible for many important aspects of the patient encounter and should be able to complete the following tasks:

  • Verify all insurance coverage at least 48 hours prior to the appointment. This allows you to contact patients before their visit in case you either have incorrect insurance information or need to notify them that they should be prepared to pay for the visit.  It is imperative that the insurance verification process be completed prior to the appointment.
  • Maintain appointment reminder reports from your automated appointment reminder system.
  • Distribute the provider’s daily schedule.
  • Make sure all patients are notified about HIPPA Privacy Policies.
  • Scan or photocopy all patient insurance cards (i.e., primary, secondary, tertiary) along with a driver’s license and/or state identification. This is very important in situations where you may have a misspelled name or you need to contact the patient.
  • Have patients complete new patient forms routinely via online forms. AssuranceMD can assist you with this process.
  • Discuss and collect all patient payments while the patient is present (e.g., copays, deductibles, etc.).
  • Reconcile all payments received via a check in/check out process and maintain a financial ledger sheet.
  • Set up recurring payment arrangements (i.e., a financial agreement) where the patient’s credit or debit card is automatically charged each month with an agreed upon amount. AssuranceMD will be able to assist you with a Merchant Service provider that has this capability.

Each of these steps requires attention to detail and will assist your practice in keeping accounts receivable down and help increase your cash flow.  Utlizing technology to enhance these steps will benefit both your practice and your patients. If you are interested in introducing or upgrading services such as online forms, appointment reminder services or merchant services, AssuranceMD can help.

Contact us to learn more.