Medical billing company or in-house medical billers must have deep knowledge of several areas, including insurer requirements, the rules for Medicare, Medicaid and all the billing codes. They also need to comply with complex state and federal regulations such as HIPAA and Stark laws. However, the most challenging part of a medical biller's duties is often explaining a patient's billing statement.
Anyone who performs medical billing services has to accept the fact that they will be spending a significant portion of their time explaining why a patient received a bill. Keeping a smile in your voice is a basic requirement of all customer service jobs, but medical billers have the added burden of routinely dealing with customers who are ill or in pain. Listening to a patient's concerns with calm understanding is essential for easing their anger. Additional steps for handling billing questions from patients include providing contact information and making follow-up calls.
1. Show Concern to Patient Questions
Everyone has days that began badly, whether it's arriving late for work or dealing with a broken coffee machine. However, it's vital that you not allow your frustration to show when speaking to an upset patient who is under stress from both a serious medical condition and a financial issue. It's easy to raise your voice in response, but it often helps to remember that you chose to work in this field because you wanted to help people. That desire includes explaining medical statements, which often fail to make sense to a layperson.
Some calls from patients may be perfunctory because they merely require you to provide factual information, but others will require months to resolve and multiple calls to the insurer, physician and patient. This process includes reviewing the claim that was submitted to the insurance carrier, verifying the diagnosis and matching the procedures performed with the policy requirements. This effort becomes worthwhile when the patient is finally satisfied with your answers to their billing questions.
2. Provide Contact Information for Call Back
Providing patients with a personal contact number instead of the main number of a corporate office can be a highly effective method of giving them a sense of empowerment over their situation. This simple act can show the patient that you're truly interested in helping them again if they require it. The possibility of future communication with the same patient is also one of the most important reasons for taking detailed notes during each phone call. This practice also allows a third party to determine what was said during the call.
3. Make Follow-up Calls
Follow-up calls are essential for assuring the patient that you're still actively working on their case and are doing everything you can to address their concerns. Additional activities are frequently necessary when appealing a claim, which involves determining a policy's contractual obligation in a particular case. This process can be a lengthy one, since it often involves submitting information to a third party for review.
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It's also important to manage a patient's expectations by keeping them informed on how long this process can take. Outlining the worst-case scenario upfront will help keep the patient happier in the long run, which is always a good public relations tool. The ability of social media to make or break a business of any size means that even small gestures have the potential to bring a practice more business. A reputation for tending to the patient's needs is priceless in the healthcare industry.
M-Scribe is a national leader in providing medical billing services, including patient support, auditing, and stand-alone medical coding services. We understand that the ability to put yourself in the other person’s shoes is a crucial requirement for working in medical practice. Call us 770-666-0470 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more about what we can do for you.