Some doctors are unaware of the fact that they are missing out on billing for services rendered that they have performed outside of the office such as at the hospital, or a nursing home. With many specialties working outside of the office where there is quite a bit of billable value in the practice that’s being overlooked and falling through the cracks.
One published example of this happening is when a physician went in his closet to pull out his winter coat that he had not worn since the prior March. As he went through his pockets, he found a scrap piece of paper where he had written down a summary of charges for a patient he saw in the emergency department 8 months prior. His office was completely unaware of the patient, so in turn they did not bill for any services over those 6 months.
Every physician needs a system for collecting and reporting charge information that occurs outside of the office. Some use a notebook, hospital face sheet or a diary. Most hospitals send hospital notes or follow information about the patient to the doctor’s office directly. This is another way to track these patients and make sure that the proper charges are being billed. Also the physician needs to be proactive in ensuring they are keeping track of all patients and charges that are occurring outside of the office. Before he or she leaves the hospital, nursing home or other outside area, they should go over the patients name and all charges that have occurred and insure they are correct and that they are not leaving anything out.
An office staff member should debrief the physician on a regular basis. Some physicians deliver the hospital list of patients to their billing clerk on a daily basis; some compile a list for the week and give it to their billing clerk at the end of every week. Some doctors have a wall-mounted blackboard that list patients in the hospital for that week so that it is visible to the physician and the billing clerk. This method can be used also when billing for surgeries. These should always be kept separate from office charges and should match up with the surgery schedule to ensure that no one is being left out and not being billed.
When on call for another office or physician, it’s best to call the office where the person is an established patient and ask that the patient’s registration sheet and insurance card information be faxed over instead of waiting for the hospital to supply you with this information.
Take some time to confirm that all your work is getting billed correctly, accurately, and efficiently.