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Improving Front-Desk Collections

The key to improve front–desk collections is preparation. If your front desk does not collect from a patient while at the practice, then your results will include less revenue and weak cash flow, coupled with more work. Here's how to maximize your revenue results for collections.

Step 1: Two days in advance–make reminder calls to all scheduled patients

Review the accounts receivable with the names of scheduled patients. Patients with outstanding balances should be given a reminder call that includes a reminder on the outstanding balance. These patients should be given the name and number of a person on your billing staff.

Step 2: One day in advance—review all scheduled patients' collection statuses

You may prefer to couple this with Step 1. All accounts of those patients scheduled should be reviewed. Most of the following three activities can be done with assistance from your clearinghouse and / or practice management system. For each patient:

  • Determine eligibility. Validate that the patient is still enrolled in the health plan. If not, a billing staff team member should call the patient to get more current data. Patient data should be updated at that time.
  • Determine if any deductible is due. If so, this should be noted in the appointment schedule.
  • Determine the amount of the co-payment and / or co-insurance payment due. This should be noted in the appointment schedule. appointment schedule. Today, it is not unusual to see patients who have co-insurance and co-payments in excess of 25%-30% of the total payment due.

Many practices are unaware that their clearinghouse systems can provide data on patient eligibility, deductibles and co-payments. The following are examples of leading clearinghouse companies who provide the usual claims submission functions as well as the data being sought in Step 2: RealMed; Gateway; Navicure; and ZirMed. Their customary charges, including all these services, are usually in the range of $80 to $125 per physician, per month.

These preparatory steps will lessen pressures on your front desk staff and will result in much improved collections results.

For more information on this topic, you may contact the author at: Mr. George Conomikes, c/o Conomikes Associates, Inc. 990 Highland Dr. Suite 110A San Diego, CA 92075, call (858) 720-0379 or (800)421-6512 or fax (858) 720-0437.

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