Collections, once considered the ultimate “back-end” process in a business office, is now firmly entrenched as a “best practice” at the front end of a high-functioning revenue cycle. Before the patient presents, perform a three-part financial clearance consisting of:
- Verification of active insurance coverage
- Confirmation of eligible benefits (if applicable to the services that will be rendered)
- Validation of unmet deductibles
If possible, use technology to perform the clearance process automatically and document the results for each patient. While you can perform financial clearance at any time, the best opportunity is 36 hours in advance of the appointment – close enough to the date of service to get accurate and timely feedback about the patient, but still enough time to research and resolve problems discovered in the clearance process. Be sure to pull a record of balances for all established patients before the appointment so your staff can request payment with fresh, printed proof of the balance in hand.