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At Emory Healthcare in Atlanta, patient access leaders developed training programs to allow front-line staff to have knowledge of all patient access areas.
"Having a diverse team allows us to save on overtime and FTEs," says Miriam Laster, assistant director of the quality assurance, training, financial counseling, and precertification departments.
Because departments have similar processes for scheduling and registration, any patient access employee has the skills if a position opens up. "There are nuances to each area. But having those basic skills serves as a foundation to succeed in their new roles," says Laster.
The main goal is for frontline staff to have a working knowledge of the entire revenue cycle, says Tinnie Garlington, CPAR, CFC, CHAA, CHAM, supervisor of the Quality Assurance and Training team. "We use a homegrown method known as "IDN,’" she adds. This acronymn stands for:
Identifying individuals who demonstrate a passion for learning and are willing to embrace change.
"We have several ways of identifying these individuals," says Laster. These methods include inviting employees to participate in special projects and using feedback from trainers of new hires. "Individuals that demonstrate a willingness to go the extra mile are the ones who meet the criteria to progress within our department," says Laster.
Developing their skills and providing them with the tools needed to be successful in various areas.
"Using this method enables us to maintain stability when we are challenged with call-outs, special projects, and increased volumes," Garlington says.
Nurturing them through continuous learning and opportunities to expand their horizons.
The department provides in-services on various subjects such as Medicare, customer service, and peer-to-peer communication.
"We are currently using an e-learning system to assist in providing continuous learning," says Garlington. "We also have several focus groups that surround quality and staff accountability." The focus groups include representatives from patient access, billing, Medicare collections, and managed care, as well as the director of the revenue cycle.
"Currently, we are focusing on Medicare patients and reviewing the various types of Medicare rejections," Garlington reports.