The American Association of Healthcare Administrative Management marks National Patient Account Management Day annually. Through a congressional proclamation dating back to October 18, 1989, individuals who keep the healthcare system running on the administrative side are honored with special recognition given to those who demonstrate exemplary service. The event is actually a week-long celebration, which will run from October 16 to 22 this year.
Goal of National Patient Account Management Day
The administrative management side of the healthcare system is taken for granted as long as the department can keep the back office operations functioning smoothly. This means patient records are maintained correctly, bills and insurance claims are processed in a timely manner and receivables meet turnover goals. Additionally, these tasks must be performed in a manner that complies with all applicable federal, state and industry guidelines.
Hospitals, clinics, physician offices and other healthcare providers maintain a team of administrators that operate in-house or as contract providers. These teams ensure that the health provider functions efficiently and productively on a day-to-day basis. Their roles are essential to supporting the viability of health care facilities or medical practices, yet they receive very little recognition.
National Account Management Week shines a light on the important work that administrative teams are doing to make sure that healthcare provider facilities operate at optimum capacity to generate sufficient revenues to cover operational costs. Patient Account Management Day is the highlight of this event, and it is typically spent on activities to show appreciation for the administrative staff. These activities may include lunch or dinner for the team, recognition ceremonies and socialization opportunities.
The Scope of Patient Account Management
The healthcare system has turned into a sprawling network of interconnected tasks, most of which have to comply with federal, state and industry guidelines. To keep the system running, it is important to have qualified and trained personnel in place. The patient account management team covers a broad range of essential functions that may not be obvious to the casual observer. These personnel undergo formal training and some positions may have to earn their credentials by passing licensing tests.
Medical coders and billers process the claims according to stringent guidelines of reimbursement that may vary broadly, depending on the type of insurance the patient carries. After claims are submitted for processing, patient financial services monitor receivables, follow-up on pending and overdue accounts and negotiate payment as appropriate. An audit team may be part of the set-up to ensure that the paperwork and reimbursement process comply with legislative mandates and industry-defined best practice strategies.
Importance of Employee Recognition
Front line office staff and other employees who deliver direct services to patients have the satisfaction of knowing that they are appreciated. Patients and other stakeholders thank them directly for quality service and positive encounters. The healthcare administration team works in the background with very little opportunity for interaction with patients. It is up to managers and the leadership of the facility to provide much-needed recognition to the team that works in the background.
National Patient Account Management Day is one such strategy to show the back office team how much their work is appreciated. It is definitely a morale booster for them and a chance for management to show their appreciation of the tedious yet challenging tasks that these essential workers have to do everyday.