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5 Front Desk Cheat Sheets to Boost Medical Customer Service

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5 Front Desk Cheat Sheets to Boost Medical Customer Service

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medical customer service

Maintaining a high level of customer service isn’t a good habit just for retail, hotel and restaurant staffers. In fact, it’s almost more important to provide excellent medical customer service, because your staff members are dealing with patients at a vulnerable time — when they’re concerned about their health.

There are hundreds of ways you can improve customer service at your medical practice, but one that takes very little time and effort is to provide your front desk team with cheat sheets, also referred to as job aids, that allow them to more quickly satisfy patients.

Check out five medical customer service cheat sheets that can help your practice elevate patient satisfaction.

1. A List of Participating Insurers

When a patient calls your practice and asks if you take a certain type of insurance, it’s up to your reception desk to know the answer. Patients frequently cite this as a reason they hang up before making an appointment, and it happens more often than many practices think.

For instance, suppose a patient calls your office and asks if you take Anthem Blue Cross/Blue Shield PPO. If the front desk point of contact replies, “You’ll have to call Anthem and see if they participate with us,” the patient may say, “It was Anthem who gave me your information, but they said to call you to confirm.” This creates a loop of frustration for patients who are just trying to confirm that their visit will be covered.

Cheat sheet solution: A great way around this is to keep a list of participating insurance companies at your front desk so everyone who talks to patients can see it. Update it frequently as your insurance partners change so staff members are able to provide the most accurate information possible.

2. The Top 25 CPT Codes and Associated Diagnoses at Your Practice

Talking to patients about billing and insurance matters means your front desk will need to have the most frequently-billed CPT codes and their associated diagnosis codes on hand. Good medical customer service means they can answer questions about why claims were denied, whether certain codes may require pre-authorization, how much certain services cost, and when a denial might be anticipated and an ABN should be issued.

Cheat sheet solution: Print out a list of the most commonly-reported CPT codes — along with descriptors — and the associated diagnosis codes that are most frequently reported to accompany those procedure codes. Your front desk team should never use these diagnoses simply to get claims paid, but as a reference for the most common encounter types.

3. Revenue Cycle Workflow Charts

If your front desk team doesn’t know what happens to a claim after the patient leaves your practice, then they’ll be unable to answer questions about unpaid balances, claims status and pre-authorizations. Your staff members should be able to understand billing workflow, timing, systems used, who’s reconciling claims errors, and the point people behind the scenes managing transactions, both at your practice and at clearinghouses and insurance companies.

Cheat sheet solution: Keep a workflow chart at the front desk that clearly shows every step of the revenue cycle process, along with names and contact information regarding who handles each step. This will allow your staff to easily explain the process in simple terms, and help them reach out to the right person if there’s a holdup.

4. Sample EOBs With Guidelines

It’s not uncommon for patients to come into your practice with an explanation of benefits (EOB) to ask what it all means. This may be due to claim denials, balances going toward a deductible and myriad other reasons. Your front desk team should be able to help patients walk through the EOB line by line to help them understand what the payer is trying to say.

Cheat sheet solution: Share some sample EOBs with your front desk team, which have an “answer key” on them breaking down what each section means and what each denial code refers to. This way, even if a patient doesn’t understand each section, your front desk staff can refer to the cheat sheet and guide them to a better grasp of what everything means.

5. First Appointment Checklist

When a patient calls for their first appointment with your practice, your front desk is required to collect a significant amount of information from them. If they forget even one detail, from the insurance group number to the patient’s address, you may not be able to verify their insurance information before the appointment, which could lead to denied claims.

Cheat sheet solution: Create a checklist that the front desk should follow with every new patient. It should include the information that they must ask every patient during the first appointment scheduling call so you don’t miss anything essential.

Your medical practice must provide excellent customer service if you want to retain patients. Let expert Julie Bouziotis, MBA, FACHE, FACMPE, show you how. During her latest online training, Proven Patient Customer Service Strategies to Maximize Retention, she’ll share the strategies you need to keep patients happy. Register today!

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