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October 1, 2010

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  • Is excellent service always given? Observe staff and know for sure

    Giving excellent customer service all the time sounds simple enough, but for most patient access departments, it's becoming pretty complicated. There's a lot more to the job than just being polite while getting all the information necessary to register a patient.
  • First rate, then reward your access associates

    At the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) Health in Charleston, registration staff are carefully trained in greeting patients and providing a high level of service. "The staff are then monitored to assure adherence to this practice of great customer service," says Susan Pletcher, director of health information and patient access services.
  • Share feedback — bad and good — with staff

    Kettering Health Network in Dayton, OH, looks at both good and bad comments pertaining to access on Press-Ganey surveys. "We want to reward and recognize our people who are doing things right every time, but coach and mentor those having trouble with the processes," says Jana R. Mixon, director of patient access and central scheduling. "We make sure we are addressing both sides of the issue."
  • Too many clinical claims denials? Education is key

    Don't expect a bouquet of flowers if patients gets their appointment reminder, they show up on time, the right payer gets billed, and the hospital is reimbursed.
  • Are complaints fact-based, or unfounded?

    If you sometimes feel as though every complaint in the hospital is directed at your department, you may not be that far off. "I believe that because patient access is the starting point for patients, we tend to receive complaints for the whole organization," says Maureen Moreno, manager of the patient access financial services contact center at Danbury (CT) Hospital.
  • Fix mistakes before the payer denies the claim

    How many claims denials have occurred at your hospital because of mistakes that could have been easily corrected? Unless this information is put into the hands of registration staff in a timely way, errors will at best, get further along in the process. At worst, this will result in a denied claim.
  • Go beyond normal audits of MSP data

    Many reimbursement dollars may be lost if patient access fails to obtain accurate information on whether a patient has another form of insurance that will supersede Medicare during the registration process. Medicare Secondary Payer (MSP) requirements are one of many ever-increasing demands put on front-end staff, says Jennifer Nichols, director of patient access at Spectrum Health System in Grand Rapids, MI.
  • Program rewards staff with low-dollar cost

    You're probably being asked to do more with less in your department, while rewarding staff for the good work they do. Roxanna DeMoss, director of hospital patient access at Ohio State University Medical Center in Columbus, says that a "Bravo" reward system has worked very well to provide registration staff with recognition.
  • Trace claims denials back to provider offices

    A patients may present for services without a referral required from his or her insurance company, or lacking a supporting diagnosis or procedure codes. These resulting claims denials are linked to the provider's office, along with prescriptions without diagnosis codes.