Be clear: You expect accuracy

A registrar's position is very detail-oriented, and his or her ability to obtain accurate information is crucial for good patient care, says Roxana Newton, CHAA, patient access supervisor at Porter Adventist Hospital in Denver.

"It all begins in the hiring process. During interviews, it is relayed that we do hold staff accountable," she says. Newton tells new hires that they must be able to maintain accuracy while multi-tasking and must prioritize tasks in high-volume areas such as the emergency department.

Newton monitors every registrar's accuracy, including payer codes, guarantor information, patient demographics, and duplicate medical records or accounts created. "In total, we monitor 75 different errors that can occur," she says. "We hold staff to a 98% accuracy rate." Registrars run a "pre-bill edit report" every shift, which shows them any mistakes that were made.

"The errors can be fixed, so the bill can drop cleanly. They can correct the mistake before we count it against them," she says.

For example, if a certain payer's policy numbers all begin with a letter, and the payer code the registrar used started with a number, this number will show up as an error on the report.

"Denials have decreased by over half, by giving the registrar the ability to correct their own errors," says Newton.