Years ago, we scheduled patient visits in a big book, penciled in the patient name, phone number and reason for the visit. We were done.
Now, most practices are using a computerized scheduling system, that allows more than one person to schedule at once (remember passing "the book" back and forth?) and allows much more sophisticated scheduling.
But just as important, we now routinely collect all insurance information at the time the appointment is scheduled, particularly for new patients and consultations. This has forced us to change the work flow in many offices, adding a dedicated scheduler who is not also sharing responsibility for check in and check out. This dedicated appointment scheduler often collects all, or almost all, of the demographic information, including insurance information.
This allows the practice to verify benefits, verify eligibility and see if a referral is needed. It significantly decreases denials.
Some groups mail the patient a registration form. While this is better than giving the patient the form when they arrive for their appointment, it does not allow for eligibility or benefit verification, or for checking on a referral.
Staff members say that they don't have time to do this work. However, it takes just as much effort to work the denial, as it does to do this first. And, doing the work first means that the physician practice is paid in a timely manner.
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