Learn how to balance lower-cost and higher-cost patient appointments.
Q. My practice has been getting a lot of phone calls from new patients recently, and our volume is up. The only negative is that often we have to ask new patients with better-paying insurance to wait a while for appointments because we get so many calls from patients with lower-cost carriers. We love the inflow of new patients but would like to be a little more selective about which ones we see first. Any suggestions?
Offering an appointment with another physician in the same practice or another practice listed on the patient's plan is a nice gesture that helps you avoid sending the patient away with nothing. This is something that needs to be done delicately, so it's best to ask your scheduler to use a script and stick to it. For example: "Dr. X's schedule is so full right now. I know she would not want you to wait for her next opening. I am sure she would recommend that you see Dr. Y."
Answers to readers' questions were provided by Judy Bee, Practice Performance Group, La Jolla, California. She is an editorial consultant for Medical Economics. Send your practice management questions to firstname.lastname@example.org