Dr. R. A. Foxworth, FICC, MCS-P

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, and most importantly, discussing financial arrangements and check-out procedures.

Consistency is the key to how you can make 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.

Recently, one of our trusted consultants sent us an email letting us know that he had received several calls from clients who had been visited by undercover investigators from an insurance company. In each scenario, the investigator presented 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 and a referral was required. This is a statutorily 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 FEDERAL OFFENSE TO HAVE A DUAL-FEE SYSTEM.

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. If you are concerned that you may be guilty of a dual fee schedule (having a cash fee in your office), consider the benefits of offering ChiroHealthUSA in your office. It is a quick and easy solution 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 of those scripts at each weekly staff meeting. Have your team role-play the script during the meeting. They will moan and groan, but it pays off in the long-term. Print phone scripts and have them posted by every phone in your office. Make this a priority in your practice. I tell my own 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! Learn more about how ChiroHealthUSA can help you eliminate a dual fee schedule in your office, by clicking here.