“All Agents are Busy!” Ten Things to Do on Hold with the Insurance Company

By: Cheryl Hall,  Account Manager

In today’s world of customer service what’s with” All agents are busy right now. Your call will be answered in the order in which it was received”? Top it off with an estimated hold time of 21-24 minutes that really means 46-120. Add the fact you’ll only get to inquire on 5 claims to the mix and you’ve got the recipe for implosion upon impact. Right?

Let’s turn this whole gig around by doing the following:

  1.  This is an excellent opportunity to put the speakerphone on and file that pile of charts from yesterday. You know, the one that’s stacked so high on the front counter it’s falling over and oozing xrays from 7 years ago before digital. If it’s just the morning’s charts, file those and pull tomorrow’s charts. If you’re chartless, tackle the to-be-scanned pile.  Hopefully your pile isn’t that high, though I’ve seen some pretty impressive ones. In a few minutes you’ll feel all organized and the counter will reappear.
  2.  Jump up and straighten up the magazines in reception. Pick up yesterday’s half-drank water bottles, put out the fresh-baked cookies or bake some bread, start the coffee pot, and enjoy the aroma.  When the doctors finally mosey in the front door, they’ll think you’re a goddess.
  3.   Call a patient to try to fill tomorrow’s hygiene schedule.  That way when the doctor walks up and mentions to you they noticed 2.5 holes in the schedule tomorrow, you can smile real big and just point to the phone.  I highly doubt you’ll be risking the insurance company coming on the line while placing that call.
  4.   Office managers, use this time to waltz around the office checking on everybody to make sure patients are being taken back on time. See if hygiene is on schedule. Take note if Doctor is happily drilling away. Hang up schedules in the lab. Pop your head into the front room and greet a patient. Offer them the hot, fresh bread or the warm cookies. Okay, maybe just direct them to the store bought area where the sugar cookies live.
  5.   Clean off the front desk area(put on your gloves) with the type of disinfectant that would choke a horse. The tops of the patient counter, where walk-ins lay their dentures to show you where they’re broken, is a good place to start. Wipe the knobs to the bathroom, supply drawers, and anywhere else. I’ve seen many gloved assistants run for forceps the doctor needs mid treatment. Sure the instrument stays sterilized after being scrubbed, ran through the ultrasonic, bagged and autoclaved. When was the last time you saw a door knob go through that?
  6.  Pull numbers for production, collection, no shows, etc. for the next day’s huddle, if you have one.  Stay on top of making sure everyone meets in the morning to discuss that day’s treatment, if cases are in, which patient might go from hygiene into doctor’s schedule, and get everyone on board with current numbers. Some offices talk about what went awry the day before. You don’t want to  get into who did what wrong because that could overlap into the first three patient appointments.
  7.  Place an online order for supplies. Knowing which cotton rolls, impression material, tray covers, saliva ejectors, etc. helps to expedite the ordering process.  Whatever you can invent that streamlines your daily and weekly tasks will help your days run flawlessly. In a dental office? What am I nuts? I do not believe I have ever seen a day in the practice run like the schedule says it’s supposed to.
  8.   Confirm appointments. That tedious job has got to be done. Just do the doctors’ schedules if that’s what looks feasible in the hour you will really be on hold. Fill out, stamp, and mail your hygiene reminder cards. Make sure there are plenty out on the nice clean counters for patients at the check in and check out areas.
  9.  Check the office emails. Clean up the in box. By the time the rep gets on the line, you won’t have any emails left to tend to. I organize emails and make several folders to file messages into so when you forget how to move the xrays from the specialist’s email into Fast Attach in a jpg format you can quickly access your stash of information.
  10.  Last but not least, go to the bathroom. Have you ever worked all day, gone home and realized you haven’t gone to the ladies room all day?  I have. I’ll work right through lunch and keep myself so busy it doesn’t even occur to me until I’m in the car half way home.

 There are many other things you can do while on hold with the insurance company to lighten up your day. Use your imagination. Be creative. And above all else, have fun doing it!

eAssist Helpful News and Billing Tips; Edition #113


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