How to create Successful Systems for the Front Desk
By: Natalie Lucken, Account Manager
Since the dental office’s front desk is the command center of the whole practice, it makes sense to review the best ways to create an efficient flow so that everyone’s day is as pleasant as possible.
- First thing in the morning: Have the front desk staff gather everyone together for a quick huddle before the patients arrive, to review any sudden changes to the daily schedule, and request specific team members to help out where there may be special circumstances cropping up.
- Please remember to verify with EACH patient who checks in to be certain that their address or insurance coverage has not changed since their last visit, and make copy of driver’s license, dental insurance card, AND medical card if they have BCBS as coverage.
- Start confirming appointments scheduled for the next business day. This allows patients time to call and reschedule if necessary, or ask questions about payment options before they arrive.
- Scan ALL documents arriving by mail from insurance companies (including all checks, primary EOBs, EOPs, and letters requesting additional information to process claims) Checks should not be removed from EOBs until AFTER they are scanned.
- The following items are absolutely critical to the timely payment of dental claims. Please verify that all claims sent to batch for new patients have accurate profile info such as…
- Date of Birth (Subscriber AND Patient)
- Subscriber ID#/ Member ID (SSN is NOT preferred by most insurances) (Ensure that the correct preference is marked)
- Correct Insurance Company is attached
- Set patient’s relationship status to his/her insurance subscriber as “Self”, “Spouse”, or “Child”
- Go over the schedule for the next 1-2 days and make sure that all Medicaid patients have pre-Authorizations on file for all treatment before they are seen for their appointments. You may have to reschedule them! It doesn’t make good sense to perform services you will never be paid for, when other patients (or possibly emergencies) could be scheduled during that time.
- Be sure to verify that any new patients have received their paperwork in advance, so that their treatment time is not delayed. A quick call to the insurance company will tell you if their coverage is currently active, and what Subscriber ID and group number claims should be filed under. It is helpful to verify this information 1-2 days before scheduled treatment.
- If patients call requesting info on claim status or insurance payments, please make notes in their ledgers to communicate/record this so they are not called or emailed again by another staff member for the same reasons. The patient’s chart can be a very valuable “story” of the relationship you have created with your patient.
- Make sure to take time to go over treatment options with your patients. People appreciate time spent with them, offering them every option available. If a patient is truly resistant to the best treatment you can offer, whether due to fear, cost concerns, or time constraints, always let them know they have the option to do nothing. It sounds like a stark reality check, but your patient can then make a responsible decision for themselves, and you have done your due diligence to persuade them to return for treatment. In all my years of working with patients, I remember hearing from most of the disgruntled people that they felt pushed into treatment they didn’t understand, and didn’t think was necessary in the long run. Opting out is also an option that bears discussing to preserve a good relationship with your patients.
All of these guidelines can smooth out the flow of your schedule and make it easier to accommodate any unusual circumstance that may crop up. It takes practice to bring a team together and we are all invested in providing the best care for our patients with the most efficiency and least amount of hiccups in the road.
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