Posts Tagged compassion


21 Common Sense Rules for Medical Offices

Two nurses and child dressed  as "Uncle S...

Image by George Eastman House via Flickr

There seem to be a lot of people searching for rules for medical offices.  I’ve never heard of such rules, but since people are looking for them, I thought I’d write some.

  1. Medical offices are professional workplaces and staff need to dress, speak, and purport themselves professionally.
  2. Patients are customers and customer service should be paramount.  Give all patients the utmost respect and practice compassion, compassion, compassion.
  3. If it didn’t get documented (on paper or electronically), it wasn’t done.  If it didn’t get documented, you can’t charge for it.
  4. HIPAA.  First of all, please spell it correctly.  One P, two As.  Secondly, know what it means and make it so!
  5. Never enter an exam room without knocking.
  6. Confirm patient identity (name, date of birth, etc.) before giving injections, taking specimens or performing a procedure.
    a medical dropper

    Image via Wikipedia

  7. Remove very sick or very angry patients from the front desk immediately.  Take the sick ones to exam rooms and take the angry ones to the manager’s office.
  8. Do not use medical jargon with patients.  If they don’t know what you’re talking about, they might be too intimidated to ask.
  9. Wash your hands. Often.  No matter what you do in the practice.
  10. The office should be CLEAN, fresh and up-to-date.  No dying plants, no magazines more than 9 months old, no dust bunnies behind the doors, no stained seating or carpets.
  11. Train staff to apologize, and to apologize sincerely.
  12. Complaints from patients and staff need to be addressed in 2 weeks or less.
  13. Medical equipment is to be maintained and tested annually for safety and performance.
  14. Once a medical record is finalized, the only changes to a paper record are single line strike-throughs with corrected information and initials, or addendums.  There are no changes to electronic records, only addendums.
  15. Patients don’t understand insurance.  Be the expert.
  16. Shred confidential practice paperwork and patient-identified information on-site.
  17. Keep medications (including sample medications) in locked cabinets and use a good inventory system to log the use and replacement of stock.
  18. Strive to meet patients at their communication level. Use graphics, translated materials and interpretive services when needed.
  19. Don’t expect patients to be on time for their appointments when the provider isn’t.
  20. Don’t make copies from copies.
  21. Give everyone the benefit of the doubt.  There’s always more to the story. Okay, this is really a rule for life in general, but it works in medical offices too.

Leave a comment and tell me what rule you would add.

For more medical office rules, read “Ten Golden Rules for Your Medical Office Staff.”

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Posted in: Day-to-Day Operations, Practice Marketing

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A Sneak Peak at My New Book: Step-by-Step Instructions for Collecting Patient Balances in Your Medical Practice

From the Introduction:

It has never been more urgent or more difficult to collect patient-responsible balances.  The combination of high-deductible health insurance plans increasing in popularity and the massive loss of medical benefits creates a pressing need for medical practices to re-evaluate patient collections.  A strong collections program and the timely collection of patient balances are critical to the viability of the modern healthcare practice – important to the communities served as a source of patient care and a contributor to the local economy.

Healthcare has traditionally been a care-first and collect the money later type of business.  Traditionally, payments from insurance companies were enough to keep medical practices viable, and many practices did not worry about patient collections.  Today, the financial responsibility for payment for health services is swinging further and further toward the patient, and often without many patients  understanding what is happening.

The Practice Should Assume Responsibility for Being the Insurance Expert for the Patient
Learn the payers, learn the plans, and help the patient understand what coverage and financial responsibilities they have.  This book does not focus on filing claims, but insurance cannot be separated from the total payment process.  To know the patient-responsible portion, the practice must know what the insurer/payer will pay.  The ideal relationship is one where the patient relies on the practice for straightforward, non-biased information about paying for healthcare.

Disclose All Fees and Terms of Service Before the Patient Incurs a Financial Responsibility
Patients have the right to know your prices, compare your prices with other healthcare providers and make an informed decision about spending their money.  It is part of the practice of healthcare that the patient acknowledges (whether they have the means to pay or not) that they have received something of value.

Remember ”“ Your Practice Is In the Business of Compassion
Patients are not buying televisions or cars from you, they are buying the most important thing in the world ”“ good, quality healthcare services and advice.  Whether you believe that healthcare is a privilege or a right, always temper patient collections with the knowledge that paying for healthcare for themselves or their loved ones is a personal and often emotional transaction.

The Book: “The Smart Manager’s Guide to Collecting at Check-Out” $39.95

Released this Monday, November 16th, the book is only available for download here on this website.

This is not your traditional textbook!  It is an eBook  – downloadable in minutes and ready to start using immediately.  It contains bookmarks that make it easy to jump to specific sections,  and you can print only the pages you want.

This book will help any type of medical practice develop a front-end collections program.  The 30 day program can be intense, but for most medical practices, the need to start a patient collections program is so pressing that the sooner the program can be launched the better.

The book addresses the components of setting up a front-end collection program that is ready to launch in 30 days.  Depending on the resources (people, time, energy) that you have in your practice, your program could launch in more or less than 30 days.  Your timetable could change if you have significant barriers or insufficient resources, or if you elect to take the planning more slowly.

An integral part of the book is the calendar that you will use to complete the program within the time frame.  I supply the steps, the worksheets, the templates and the 30 day calendar, and you add or subtract days as needed.  The steps are in order for a reason, but you should rearrange them based on your practice’s needs and resources.

Packed with templates, worksheets and examples, this book leads you every step of the way through designing a program appropriate for your practice or healthcare entity.

In conjunction with the book launch, I will also be unveiling my brand-new website!  My tech guy has outdone himself in designing a more user-friendly and intuitive site.  See you on Monday!

Click here to view “The Smart Manager’s Guide to Collecting at Check-Out.”

Posted in: Collections, Billing & Coding, Day-to-Day Operations, Medicare & Reimbursement

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