Give access staff a `visual’ for plans
Patient access leaders at The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston created a visual tool in 2013 to help staff to determine the correct payer.
"It looks like a Jeopardy board. It was designed by a group of front line staff as a fun’ way to get to the correct answer in as few clicks as possible," says Connie Longuet, MBA, MHA, CHAM, director of patient access services.
The tool is accessible to all patient access staff. "It is updated frequently," says Longuet. "Staff open it in the morning and keep it open all day as they load new insurance plans."
The tool gives patient access staff an easy way to select the correct plan code among the hundreds of insurance plans they see each month. "Our patients come from all over the world," explains Longuet. "Our staff see not only local market plans, but unique plans from all over."
Feedback from patient access employees has been very positive. "As staff make further suggestions to enhance the tool, we update it regularly," says Longuet.
Payers’ phone numbers and websites recently were added to the tool, as a result of staff feedback. "It takes one to three clicks to determine the payer, depending on the insurance plan," adds Longuet.
An email "hotline" was set up so that staff can get a quick answer to any question about a particular plan.
"Our educators answer them usually within minutes," says Longuet. "We are ensuring the data is as accurate as possible from the start."
At Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare in Glendale, WI, patient access leaders post sample insurance cards on the hospital’s intranet. Terri Miles, patient access manager, says, "Many of the cards have a similar look or logo. The sample cards can be referenced by any associate."
Having the sample cards helps employees to identify the plan level the patient selected: Gold, Bronze, or Silver.
"This has been especially helpful when working on the phone with our preadmit processes," says Miles. "It allows them to prompt the patient for the complete information."
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