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A patient access representative enrolls new patients and provides information about the facility and its policies. Depending on the size of the facility, this member of the staff may represent a single department or the facility as a whole. Patients can contact access representatives if they have questions or concerns, and personnel also work with medical teams to make sure people have the information they need to provide an appropriate level of care. Usually some clerical experience is required for such positions, and it can help to be familiar with medical terminology and health care environments.
When new patients arrive at a hospital, clinic, or similar facility, the patient access representative collects their demographic and contact information. This allows representative to create a file with basic information about the patient, including any insurance coverage or financial assistance policies the patient may qualify for. Patients are also provided with information about billing and repayment terms as well as other facility policies that they may need to know about. Family members and friends can receive information on visiting hours, the kinds of gifts that can be sent to patients, and related matters.
In emergencies where patients require immediate treatment, patient access representatives may not have time to conduct an intake interview, or the patient might not be able to communicate. Instead, the information may be collected from family members and other people with the patient. Wallets can be checked for identification, medic alert cards, and other documentation that may be helpful for medical personnel. The patient access representative starts a file with as much information as possible and makes note of any gaps in the data for later collection.
At the time of discharge, patients may meet with the access representative again. Patients should receive discharge documentation with information about how to care for themselves at home and what to do in an emergency. The patient access representative goes over this to make sure the patient understands and will contact the facility in the event of signs of complications. In addition, documentation related to the bill may be discussed, with information about when the bill will be due and how the hospital handles insurance billing.
Good people skills are helpful for a patient access representative, to communicate with patients and members of their care teams. An attention to detail is also important, particularly when it comes to recording information about allergies and other important aspects of a patient’s profile. It’s also usually necessary to be able to type quickly and accurately, and to comply with confidentiality laws to protect the privacy of patients.
Going through registration is one of the more time-consuming parts of the medical evaluation process. Anytime I go, I have to go through the same routine, even though the hospital has my information on file. Even when they ask, "Has anything changed" and I say, "No," we still have to go through the rigamarole.
The other thing a patient access representative needs is a great deal of tolerance for going through the same old information over and over again. I might be able to do it for one day, but I couldn't sit and take name after name, address after address, all day long. It would drive me crazy.
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