Bruce Brothis: Perfect the intake process

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Patient intake and insurance verification is a routine part of the HME business, so why do some companies perform poorly in this area? Many HMEs fail to collect valuable information during the admissions process, says billing expert Bruce Brothis, and that can lead to denials and other problems down the road. Brothis will outline perfect patient intake during his Medtrade session, "Patient Intake and Insurance Verification--Give Your Billing Department a Fighting Chance to do Their Job!"

HME News: Where do providers fall short when it comes to patient intake and insurance verification?

Bruce Brothis: Not doing a complete job of intake. There are some questions that a good number of companies do not ask.

HME: What are some of the obvious and not so obvious pieces of data that providers should be collecting?

Brothis: The obvious ones are patient demographics and insurance coverage--I don't think there's anybody who doesn't get that, but sometimes they don't dig deep enough into their insurance coverage. HMO coverage is often overlooked. The referral source is an important, less obvious piece of information that shows owners where they are getting the best bang for their marketing buck.

HME: Is the patient intake and insurance verification process often overlooked? Why?

Brothis: It's either a lack of knowledge or poor training. A lot of DME companies tend to put new hires in intake. It would take at least a year before I would ever be comfortable letting someone with no experience loose on intake and billing.

HME: What kinds of obstacles are created for the billing department when the patient intake and insurance verification processes aren't as thorough as they need to be?

Brothis: It has a ripple effect in the entire balance of the reimbursement process.  If the billing people aren't terribly strong and the intake people aren't terribly strong, the whole company's going to suffer.

HME: If providers take away one thing from your session, what should it be?

Brothis: They'll come back with every piece of information they need to get when they do the intake and insurance verification.