Neuro Clinic Finds Success with Consult Form
If your practice has difficulty getting complete new patient information from referring physicians, read on to discover how a group comprised of 13 neurosurgeons, neurologists, and an interventional neuroradiologist, neuro-oncologist, and physiatrist solved the problem and left referral relationships intact.
"The idea for the Request for Consultation form came from on-going difficulties with referring offices" says Dottie Davis, Administrator of Culicchia Neurological Clinic in Marrero, Louisiana. "We verify everyone's insurance coverage before they come in for their appointment, so we have to have vital pieces of information from referring physician offices when a new patient is scheduled."
But most referring offices said they didn't have the time to provide the information when the referral was made, and this made it difficult to verify coverage--a critical reimbursement step. "We also found that the patient created conflict between our practice and the referring doctor's office and tried to get us to blame each other for appointment scheduling delays."
So Davis and her team got to work. They designed a form that would be convenient for referrers and provide accurate information for the Clinic. Then Davis delivered the form personally to all referring offices. "I met with their managers and explained the concept," she explains. "Now, when they have a patient to refer, they just complete the form and fax it to us. We contact the patient directly to schedule the appointment and obtain all the necessary insurance information."
Once the appointment is made, staff at the Clinic fax the form back with the date, time, physician, office location and staff initials. This confirms that an appointment has been made. The group's goal is a 24 hour turn-around time for each appointment, and so far it's being met.
"If we have patients that we can't get in touch with, or we have to leave messages," says Davis, "we document on the back of the form the date and time of our call. If the patient hasn't called us back within 48 hours, we call the referring doctor's office to inform them of our attempts. This gives them a heads-up if the patient calls them back stating that we haven't called them to make an appointment."
One of the great benefits of Davis' system is that it allows referring offices to provide patient information at THEIR convenience. Plus, the Clinic gets the information it needs to ensure coverage and reimbursement. Says Davis, "We have increased referrers' trust in us, and eliminated unwarranted complaints by the patients. Our referring offices LOVE this form, and our wait time for other calls has decreased tremendously since we're no longer on the phone with gathering loads of information to make and appointment."
If you'd like to adapt Davis' form for your practice, download this Word document and customize it!