Monday, July 2, 2012

A Day in the Life

I am approaching my 90 day mark at my new job, which frankly is hard to believe. It seems like every day I am still learning new things to look for and to have to remember. Here is kind of an overview of how the day flows:

When checking in patients, new patients especially, we need to scan their insurance card, Driver's license or ID card and take their picture. We have to hand off their paperwork that they need to complete and make sure to mark the appointment off on the calendar in the computer, that way the MA's know the patient is here. IF we have a new patient and they didn't provide their insurance information at the time they made the appointment, then we need to make sure that we write down their insurance name, their number and if the copay is listed on the card.

THEN if they have Medicaid, which we only take for children, we have to log onto a website and check what kind of Medicaid they have and if they in fact have the coverage. And if they do have the coverage, do they have their referral from their Primary Care Provider, PCP? If they DO NOT have their referral then they have to wait to be seen while we try to contact their provider. IF we DO NOT reach their provider to request the referral than they have to reschedule until a referral has been received. Most of the patients that come in are not aware that they in fact need to have a referral.

THEN there is s kind of insurance referred to as Medicaid - Share of Cost. This is for those who are medically needy, but do not qualify for full on medicaid. They are responsible for a certain amount of their medical bills, but once they meet a certain threshold, Medicaid will take over from there.

While one person is checking in the patients as they arrive to see the doctor, the other front desk person is checking the charts and making sure that we have all of the insurance information and that the patients who need to update their paperwork have the paperwork in their charts. We need to make sure that their insurance is active and we need to indicate their co-pays. There are several other idiosyncrasies as well.

So to add to the pressure, for certain doctors we have to make sure that we are monitoring the clock. If a patient shows up 15 minutes late they need to reschedule. At times we have even had the doctor come up front and take the chart out of our hands. There are times when the MA will come up to get the chart for the patient while you are still scanning their cards or taking their picture or giving them their paperwork. While it's nice of them to wait quietly for you to complete the patient transaction, it also adds to the pressure.

This happens on the day to day.

Starting this week, we are going to have to take the co-pays from the patients as well as checking them in. While it may sound like an insignificant and totally tolerable addition to the work load, there is more to it than swiping a credit card or accepting cash. There is additional paperwork involved. We are still learning this process and it's supposed to take affect this week. Needless to say I am not overjoyed.

In light of the fact that this hasn't started yet, I am trying to be realistic about it and not so negative. There are going to be times when taking the co-pays will be no problem, but there are going to be times when it won't be ok. I am trying not to be a defeatist, but I can't help but feel overwhelmed by the idea of yet another thing we have to do. Given all that we already have to do, it seems like we are being set up for failure. We are spoken to if mistakes are made. If too many are made, than we have a counseling or coaching session. But with all that is going on, how can mistakes not be made?

Another thing that slays me... this decision for us to take co-pays was thought up by someone who doesn't even work in the front office. It's an order that was handed down my one of the higher ups. I will never understand why people insist on fixing things that aren't broken.


  1. If you don't take the co pays who would? Who normally does? Sounds very interesting. It seems fast paced and as if your days will go by pretty fast. I am not a fan of working with people so that would be the hardest part for me but it seems like a cool job. I hate being new and trying to learn all kinds of stuff and not mess up. I'm sure you'll be a pro in no time.

    1. There are ladies who collect the copays after the visit at the checkout window. What they want to do is move the scheduling girls into the back office and separate the checkout ladies and they will be in charge of collecting outstanding balances and scheduling follow up appointments. So in order to do that we would have to collect the copays.