Most practitioners start out solo, answering their phones, treating their patients, ordering supplies and before too long they need to hire an office person. This new person does all the things that the practitioner isn’t necessarily the best at or he never would have gone into the patient business in the first place. This is the absolute correct thing to do – take care of your patients, and let someone else take care of everything else. It’s the next step that starts the whole thing heading in a bad direction.
Just because you did EVERYTHING AND treated the patient doesn’t mean you can treat the patient and leave everything to someone else. Start by making a list of all of those things:
Answer the phone, take messages and book appointments. Greet patients, handout paperwork, handle patient folders. Create super bills, collect cash and run credit card payments. Call patients to reactivate and remind them of their appointments. Clean up, dust and maintain the office. Verify patient’s insurance.Bill insurance, post payments.Call on accounts receivable. Create end of the month reporting. Check inventory and reorder as necessary.
This list can go on and on. I know assistants who do these things AND many more including going to post office and office supply store as well as take gowns and towels to laundry etc. I’ve seen offices that included vacuuming, dusting and emptying trash included as duties etc.
Looking at this list there is a clear dividing line between people oriented duties and detailed tasks. What I end up seeing is offices that settle for less, giving jobs to people that aren’t particularly good at them, just because, not realizing:
The person interacting with your patients should be a people person. The person answering the phone should really LIKE talking to people and making people happy. The person making the appointments should be a customer service professional that tries to make a good fit for patient and time. ANY job duties that require patient interaction require an extrovert that is service oriented and friendly. The part of the job they love is spending time with your patients.
The person handing anything financial should be a detailed person. Verifying insurance, billing and follow up require an almost anal maniacal attention to detail. You don’t want adjustors to like this person; you want them to fear them. They like it when things match and everything is collected and organized. The part of the job they love is when everything is in its place and the bottom line is where it should be.
To me it’s clear – you need two people, (perhaps they can be part time) or you need to outsource the financials. By trying to force one person to be two different people it’s clear to me either your patients aren’t getting the best experience they should or your are possibly losing money. Neither scenario is ideal.