Three Front-End RCM Tips

Whether at an outpatient clinic within a health system or a private physician's office, patient engagement leading up to healthcare appointments is vital for the revenue cycle optimization process. Simple, yet overlooked steps can save significant follow-up time for business office staff and streamline revenue collection. Consider the following three front-end tips:

  1. Pre-appointment reminder calls- Make sure to communicate expected copay amounts to patients during their pre-visit phone call reminder. This allows patients to be prepared for the amount to be collected. If the exact amount is not known prior to the visit, the topic of financial responsibility for deductible and copay should be estimated to set the proper tone from the start. During the call, also remind patients to bring active insurance cards and IDs with them to jumpstart the patient verification process. Even if they are regular patients, insurance verification is still needed with each visit, since frequent plan changes have become the norm.

  2. Insurance eligibility- Run patient insurance eligibility no later than three days prior to the appointment date. Note any issues with insurance prior to the visit in the patient’s chart. At patient check in, run a second insurance eligibility check, as the deductible amount may have changed. Request copay collection amounts using the insurance card information prior to patients leaving the facility.

  3. Rebook no shows- Immediately reschedule appointment no shows and cancellations to avoid missed revenue and possibly readjust necessary patient care plans. Designate time during each day for the office assistant or clinic manager to perform follow-up calls for missed and cancelled appointments, ensuring the contact attempts occur the same day as the missed visit. Detail call notes, the plan of action, call date and time.

Though these tips seem simple, most observed healthcare clinics and physician offices fail to follow these simple steps. Amidst hectic patient schedules, proper actions fall to the wayside with repeated shortcut behaviors. Provider teams should take a step back to realign front-end processes and provide documentation and training to new team members.

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