When I was managing my eye clinic in the 2000’s, there was a not-so-secret war in the background. It was the front desk vs. the insurance filer. This war played itself out in these ways.
The insurance filer felt the front desk was sloppy, lazy, and didn’t care.
The front desk felt the insurance filer was a word too offensive to print here.
Communication was poor. Neither wanted to speak to the other.
Not only was the relationship toxic for the office atmosphere, it also affected the practice’s bottom-line. It is impossible for revenue to grow when the ones responsible for inputting the data and the ones responsible for filing the claims refuse to partner together. And if revenue doesn’t grow, people lose jobs and livelihoods.
So, what can be done? Here are three tips:
First, the doctor or management has to take the lead on this. They should meet with both the front desk and insurance filers separately, and then they should get them together. Yes, jobs are at stake, but a good leader finds joint purposes that unite teams. Good leadership destroys private agendas and points teams towards a common goal. These meetings should be regularly scheduled, and one meeting won’t get it done.
Second, speaking of a common goal, most conflicts happen because each party thinks their goals are separate and counter to the other. Uniting those goals is the key to teamwork. Creating this united goal teamwork is the challenge. How do you do that? Typically, the best way to do that is to motivate people with what they care about: income. One way to unite that goal is to create a bonus system tied to revenue. That way both parties have a vested interest in collecting every penny that is billed.
Thirdly, have the front desk and insurance filers shadow one another. The front desk should see the ends and outs of filing. They should get to know the depths of write offs and denials. It will give them a window into how their work affects the bottom line. Additionaly, if the insurance filers sit in with the front desk, they will gain a sense of the hectic pace and demands placed on them. Doing this regularly will create a sympathy and appreciation for each area.
No matter your approach, front desk and insurance have to work together. When they don’t, it will create acrimony among the staff and will ultimately diminish the bottom line.
If you are interested in training for either area, ProSight Success offers both a Front Desk Training and Billing and Coding training. Don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions.
Gordon Duncan is the CEO/Consultant of ProSight Success and has trained employees for nearly 20 years.
ProSight Success has several tools to help you with all of this. Our international bestseller, Practice Progress, goes deep into the philosophies above. You can find the paperback at Amazon.
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Gordon Duncan is an award-winning educator, salesman, teacher, manager, and writer. He has taught in the public school system, lobbied for school's accreditation, managed eye clinics, led sales' teams, and also publishes books on theology, church, and culture.