In today’s healthcare environment there are many elements that can affect a practice’s bottom line. Overstaffing, coding errors, improper collection of payments, and mishandling of denials are just a few common concerns that may impact a practice’s revenue.
It can also be difficult for a practice to devote the time and resources necessary to complete FMLA, long term and short term disability forms. Most practices have clinicians completing these administrative tasks at just a fraction of the price of an office visit.
What Should My Practice Charge?
Deciding on an appropriate amount to charge for form completion can be challenging. There are a few things you need to consider before changing your current policies, including: Will patients be upset with a new charge, will the charge be time and cost effective for your practice, and will the form be delivered to patients or insurers in a reasonable amount of time?
Professionally, a large portion of my time is spent meeting with office managers, clinicians, practice administrators and various executives offering solutions to make their practice more efficient. In my travels I have found that the form completion process is virtually incomparable from practice to practice. A five doctor orthopedic practice, for example had nurses completing disability forms for a charge of $20 per form, whereas a ten doctor cardiology practice had an administrator completing the same form for a charge of $50 per form, and an eight practitioner urgent care clinic had the care provider completing the form for a charge of $100, per form.
While charges tend to vary drastically, the form completion often falls on clinicians, who may not have adequate time for completion. This commonly leaves patients waiting many days or weeks to get this very important paperwork completed and returned.
Best Practices for Success
Every practice should have a policy and process to successfully complete forms. A patient’s livelihood, job or benefits often depend on submitting a form, adding to an already sensitive situation. In order to provide a positive experience for the patient, it may be helpful to
- Have a documented policy for form completion, including charges, if applicable.
- Set expectations on policies and time frames with patients so they will not miss important deadlines.
- Post the policy in your office and on your practice website.
- Lastly, set attainable expectations and have a process that will work best for your individual practice.
Another very important question for administrators and doctors to ask is, could we increase patient encounters if we did not have to complete forms? The answer in most cases will be yes.
Consider Outsource the Process
One of the things that makes form completion troublesome is the unpredictable volume of forms your practice may receive. One week you may see ten requests for forms and the following week there may be forty, so dedicating a full time employee to the process can get tricky.
Many facilities that experience an unpredictable volume of form requests choose to outsource the completion of forms. Outsourcing may allow for more focus on patient encounters, an increase in patient satisfaction and a decrease in turnaround time. This allows clinicians to focus more time and energy on patient care.
- Mike O'Rourke, Regional Sales Executive
Do you know of a practice that would benefit from outsourcing the completion of disability, FMLA and other forms? Check out more on our services HERE.