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3 Things You Can Do Now to Prepare Your Business Office for the Months Ahead

Posted by Norman Woolworth | Mar 25, 2020 8:00:00 AM

We are truly in unprecedented times. The ripple effect of the COVID-19 pandemic has only started to make its way through our industry. With the expected increase in hospitalizations, many affected patients will be responsible for most, if not all, of their deductible in 2020. As you know, business offices feel the effects of spikes in volume after caregivers do.

Here are three things you can do now to prepare your business office for the months ahead: 

1.  Discuss remote options with IT, HR, and Compliance

If your organization restricts non-essential personnel from coming to work or some of your staff need to take care of children during school closures, you could face a major disruption to operations. If your team does not have remote capabilities they will return to an overwhelming backlog of work and likely a loss in revenue. Get out ahead of this possibility and put a contingency plan in place. Here are some ideas:

  • Identify what tasks can and cannot be completed remotely
  • Provide temporary laptops or VPN connections so that staff can continue to work at home if necessary
  • Complete any technology training ASAP (video conferencing, VPN access, etc.)
  • Identify backup options for video conferencing and switchboard
  • Create a document of policies, procedures, and expectations of remote work

 

2.  Clearly outline task priorities for staff

With the likely increase in claims and account volume over the coming months and the chance of disruptions to normal operations, it is possible your staff won’t be able to get to every flagged account, held claim, authorization, or denial. Clearly communicating task priorities and responsibilities to staff will be essential to minimizing disruption and maximizing your cash flow. Here’s what you can do:

  • Produce a written document that staff can reference including:
    • Which queues should be worked first
    • How to best sort queues
    • How tasks will be divided between staff

 

3.  Educate patients early

Unexpected hospitalizations are not something most people budget for. In 2018, the average deductible for single coverage was $1,573 (Source). Educating hospitalized patients about what portion of the bill they will be responsible for and what their payment options are is essential to a good collection rate. Here’s what you can do:

  • Discuss Charity Care qualification, self-pay discounts, extended payment plans, and any other payment options your organization offers
  • Increase the visibility of payment options through pamphlets, posters, and screens
  • Check with their health plans because of federal exemptions being put in place for how COVID-19 care will be billed and handled by insurance.

 

Topics: Team

Written by Norman Woolworth

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