There is nothing that will give your team more confidence than knowing what to say when it comes to communicating with patients in your office. Not only does it improve customer service and efficiency, but it can also help you become more compliant. Staff members should be comfortable having a written and rehearsed script for greeting patients by phone, meeting and greeting patients in the office, escorting them to the treatment rooms, explaining therapy and rehab and most importantly, discussing financial arrangements and check-out procedures. Otherwise, imagine possible replies to what we may think are some simple questions.
Sound ridiculous? Then you haven’t called “other offices” or ever spent much time asking team members from other offices to explain what you do, how it feels, or how much it costs. Confidence, competence, and consistency is the key to making the difference in converting shopper calls to new patients or patients opting to continue treatment in your office. We never want our teams to sound like telemarketers or robots when having scripted conversations with patients. There is nothing wrong (and everything right) with interjecting their unique personalities into the conversation, provided all protocols for the conversation are covered. Set them and your practice up for success by making sure everyone understands and can explain what you do, how you do it, how it helps and yes, how much it costs and how you can help make sure it’s affordable. Scripts, training, and monitoring are critical to the long-term success of your practice.
Recently, one of our trusted consultants sent us an email letting us know that he had received calls from clients who had been visited by undercover investigators from an insurance company. In each scenario, the investigator represented him or herself as a cash patient inquiring about the cost of a massage. In one instance, a front desk CA stated that a one-hour relaxation massage was available for $75. This is usually a non-covered service by insurance. This same clinic also offers therapeutic massage (covered by insurance when medically necessary) for $50 per 15-minute unit. Claims had been sent to this insurance company for medically necessary care for $200, for 4 units of therapeutic massage. Shortly after this investigation, the clinic began receiving payments of $75, not the $200 billed for therapeutic massage. There, in bold print, across the bottom of the EOB was a notice stating it was a ILLEGAL TO HAVE A DUAL-FEE SYSTEM. Now for those of you who know rules vary from state to state, you may be thinking, dual fees are not illegal in my state. While that may be true, we know that insurance carriers do have auditors and investigators and the last thing anyone of us wants is to raise our hands and yell PICK ME! PICK ME!, for an audit. The problem in this case is the staff did not tell the FULL story about the types of massage that were available, elective vs therapeutic, medically necessary and the patient (investigator) found a way to cut his bill and threatened the doctor with a full-blown audit if he charged the real patient in a PI case his full fee for massage.
So, the question is, did this clinic have a dual-fee schedule? In this situation, the answer is no, as these are two separately coded items. However, the provider and staff spent many hours and had to provide the necessary documentation to the investigator to show that the service provided and the service quoted over the phone were two different services, with two different codes. The lack of a proper phone script created extra work for this doctor and his team. After hearing this, if you are concerned that you might fall prey to one of these investigative traps, you already have a solution by offering ChiroHealthUSA to your patients. It’s the quick and easy way to replace your cash fee with a contractual network discount, and eliminate the risk of a dual fee schedule.
Make a commitment to review existing scripts (or create new ones) in your office this week and review one script at each weekly staff meeting. Have your team role play the scripts during the meeting. They will moan and groan, but it pays off in the long-term. Print phone scripts and have them taped by every phone in your office. Make this a priority in your practice. I tell my team, “What is measured, improves.” Once we made scripting a priority in our office, we saw improvements in shopper call conversions, new patient visits, PVAs, and collections. Coincidence? I think not! If you need help with scripting to talk to your patients about ChiroHealthUSA, download our Patient Conversation Guide.