Cooperative spirit helps enhance access work flow

Admitting, patient accounting partnership cited

Improving the work flow between the admitting and patient accounts departments requires harmonious interaction between the two managers, say Loretta Scott, director of admitting, and Betty Barber, director of patient accounts at St. Joseph Hospital in Augusta, GA.

The cooperative attitude shared by Scott and Barber was instrumental in the successful streamlining of outpatient coding, an effort that has reduced error rates and time-consuming recoding.

Scott and Barber meet every two weeks — it used to be weekly — to go over issues of concern to both departments, passing along information quickly that might take much longer to filter through a less cooperative work relationship, Barber says. The situation is enhanced by the fact that Scott worked in patient accounts for three years before being promoted to admitting director.

"Loretta works hard to make sure we have as much billing and insurance information as possible, that we have the proper sequences of primary and secondary insurances," she adds. "And when there are changes [in patient accounts], such as new insurance companies, new addresses, we make sure the admitting people know."

Similarly, Scott says, "Betty brings the errors she finds when we’re not aware of new requirements. Communication is good, and there’s no finger pointing."

The two work together on updating the insurance master file, making it user-friendly for both staffs, Scott adds. When they have computer upgrade training, they do it together. Sitting through the other person’s training gives each an understanding for what the other does, she says. "It bridges the gap."

This kind of understanding filters down to the staff, who are given a reason for changes, not just told, "We need to do it because patient accounts needs it," Scott points out.