The American Association of Healthcare Administrative Management marks National Patient Account Management Day annually. Through a congressional proclamation in October, 1989, individuals who keep the healthcare system running on the administrative side are given special recognition for exemplary service. The event is actually a week-long celebration, which occurs in October.
Goal of National Patient Account Management Day
The 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. They 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. 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
- socialization opportunities
The Scope of Patient Account Management
The healthcare system has turned into a sprawling network of interconnected tasks. Most of these 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. These 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
- 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 facility managers and leadership 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. It’s a chance for management to show their appreciation of the tedious yet challenging tasks that these essential workers have to do everyday.