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Oversights and errors in front desk operations can result in rework, denials, or rejections. Safeguard your revenue and your team’s time by ensuring accuracy from the start. These front desk best practices help your staff get information right the first time — and the checklist PDF at the end can assure nothing is missed.

Training and Tools

The first best practices to implement are managerial tasks that set up front desk staff to be successful. If you’re using a patient engagement tool, make sure you’re accurately setting required fields so that neither staff nor patients overlook something important. In addition to that, make sure you keep staff up to date on:

  • Nuances of your top 5-10 payers, especially Medicaid/Medicare
  • How you’re credentialed
  • How to read Real Time Eligibility (RTE), what to do with results, and how to troubleshoot, including:
    • Min/max setting for copay
    • Medication benefits
  • OccMed process

Patient Check-In

This part of the visit will be faster and more accurate if you’re using electronic pre-visit registration. However, we’ve still got you covered if you’re completing all registration manually.

New Patient Registration

  • Electronic Registration: Ensure pre-visit registration is complete and verify that patients have selected the correct field for new or returning visits
  • Manual Registration: Confirm correct spellings, clarify provider and plan nuances, and check for duplicate entries by verifying the patient’s full name and date of birth (DOB), including any nicknames, prefixes, or suffixes
  • Documentation: Make sure all HIPAA and HIE forms are completed, and scan the patient’s driver’s license and insurance card if not captured through electronic registration

Insurance and Verification

  • Scan Insurance: If not uploaded through the patient engagement (PE) system, scan the insurance card
  • Real-Time Eligibility (RTE): Check RTE and read thoroughly to fix any inaccuracies, such as DOB, and search by PO box number when looking up the insurance name. If the patient is not eligible for insurance, discuss self-pay or whatever process you identify in training
  • Address Verification: Ensure the address matches the patient record and verify guarantor information for patients under 18
  • Medicare/Medicaid: Confirm the correct payer and check that the policyholder’s information is accurate

Returning Patient Registration

Note that the new patient registration steps can be applied here, so we’ve called out a few differences to help staff remember to still double-check information.

  • Review Changes: For electronic registrations, review any changes and accept or reject them; check that the patient selected the correct field in “new” or “returning;” manually input any secondary insurance. For manual registrations, confirm spellings and ask for current insurance details
  • Insurance Reverification: Reverify insurance details, check patient’s full name and DOB in the system to ensure there is no duplicate entry, and fix any inaccuracies
  • Documentation: Make sure the patient has provided any necessary updates to HIPPA and HIE forms (if not required in e-reg platform.) If needed, scan driver’s license

Final Steps

Every clinic may not be the same in how they handle patient checkout or end of day duties, but you may find these reminders helpful to your overall revenue cycle management.

Patient Check-Out

  • Payments: Collect any additional monies due for cash payments and provide receipts for self-pay patients
  • Discharge Instructions: Provide any discharge instructions received from the provider.

End of Day

  • Reporting: Balance to the nightly deposit and ensure all visits have been closed, completed, or canceled.
  • Troubleshooting: Address any outstanding RTEs that did not pass.

These best practices help ensure that patients are registered accurately, insurance is verified correctly, payment is collected more quickly, and the check-out process is handled smoothly. You can download a checklist PDF that covers these steps here >>

For information on patient engagement technology that reduces wait time and streamlines registration, check out our product page.

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