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The Front-Office Collectors’ Checklist: Helping Staff Transition to New Patient Payment Processes

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Check-markImagine you’re watching a game show, and the contestants are asked which word usually accompanies the terms “grocery,” “hit,” “to do” and “bucket.”

Naturally, everyone rings their buzzers and shouts, “list!” But, have you heard about another type of list – a front-office collectors’ checklist – that will soon be equally top of mind for physician practices?

As patient financial responsibility continues to climb, collection processes must undergo a transformation that begins in the front office. Traditionally, front-office staff is known for customer service and office management skills rather than revenue cycle expertise. As a result, they may approach this change with uncertainty.

The Front-Office Collectors’ Checklist, as developed by renowned revenue cycle expert Elizabeth Woodcock, can help staff adjust to new workflows as they address patients’ rising out-of-pocket costs. This list includes specific actions such as asking, “How would you like to take care of your balance?” rather than “Would you like to pay today?” at point of service. It also addresses nuances; for instance, using a gentle but firm tone when asking for payment and avoiding inappropriate facial expressions such as laughing and frowning during financial discussions.

While some items may seem like common sense, this list, combined with training and practice, can help staff remember details that improve the patient experience while also keeping their focus on the big picture – increasing collections.

View the Front-Office Collector’s Checklist to help jump-start your staff’s transition to new payment processes.