This is the 2nd in a 3-part series about best practices for auditing collection agencies that support revenue cycle management. You can read all of the installments -- and download the valuable questionnaires -- here:

1. Focus on 3 Key Areas to Audit Collection Agencies: Area 1, Cash Handling

2. Focus on 3 Key Areas to Audit Collection Agencies: Area 2, Training 

3. Focus on 3 Key Areas to Audit Collection Agencies: Area 3, Compliance Plan

Well-trained collection agents can profoundly improve revenue cycle management, while poorly trained agents can expose providers to trouble from regulators and even patient litigation. Routinely auditing training policies and procedures can go a long way toward documenting a provider’s best efforts to manage vendor activity and compliance with applicable regulations. 

10 Questions to Ask About Your Collection Agency’s Training Program

The robust and ongoing training of medical collections agents is crucial to both the patient experience and a provider’s compliance with applicable rules and regulations. Ensure your agency invests time and resources to develop competent agents who understand how to engage patients in payment arrangements that protect your relationships AND your bottom line. Be sure to ask: 

  1. How do you ensure your agents understand regulatory guidelines and standards of professional courtesy?
  2. Do you provide specific training about managed care, federal health care programs, insurance benefits?
  3. Does your training material cover HIPAA, Truth in Lending, the Fair Credit Billing Act, the Fair Credit Reporting Act and the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act?
  4. How do you deliver your training? Is there a manual, is the material online? How do you refresh training as the rules change?
  5. How do you monitor agent calls? How often? What technology is in place to assist in the effort?
  6. Do you have dedicated call monitoring compliance or QA staff on hand?
  7. How do you address problems with agents that are uncovered during call monitoring?
  8. What kind of alternative financing or payment arrangements are agents trained to offer and facilitate?
  9. How do you handle patient complaints or disputes that arise on agent calls?
  10. Do you have a formal, written dispute resolution procedure in place? Can you give examples of how you’ve resolved disputes? 

Download a complimentary copy of this questionnaire here: Agency Training Program Questionnaire

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