The aim is to obtain the correct fee he or she can at the earliest possible date.
A simple aim but one that is often forgotten.
How do you achieve that aim?
The first step is to ensure you have all the necessary details for the invoice. Regardless of whether you invoice electronically or in paper form, you will need this information. You will struggle without it to raise an invoice. The aim is thus harder to achieve. Let me provide you with three real examples I’ve resolved this morning:
The patient was (not his real name) Mr. P. J Smith. If the invoice is being raised electronically you’ll need to know what the P stands for. It was actually Paul. But – and this is the important point – I had to go away and look at the patient’s registration form which itself just had the initial. It was only when I looked down at the name of the policyholder that I saw the patient’s Christian name. It sounds really silly but a single omission like that needs to be resolved.
It was not on the registration form anywhere. If you invoice electronically, you’ll need the patient’s postcode. Solution: go to the Post Office postcode finder on the internet and look it up. Simple solution but one that had to be done in order for an invoice to be raised. Again, although it only took a few minutes to resolve it was a task that should not have been necessary.
This one was more difficult. The solution involved telephoning the consultant surgeon’s secretary to ask what the date of birth was. She actually didn’t know and had to call the patient to find out.
Of course, there are solutions to each of the above. Many of the online offerings will enable you to find the missing data. There is no major issue in sorting things like this out. They are more irritants. They have to be resolved but that really isn’t the point.
The point is that all three of the above should not have been allowed to happen.
If the aim of invoicing for a private consultant surgeon or any medical professional for that matter is to ensure they get paid, it must be done quickly and efficiently.
Cause and Effect
What was causing this issue? It is far too easy to blame someone. Blame the consultant surgeon’s secretary. Or blame the hospital for not ensuring the patient’s registration form was not completed correctly. It may be either. Interestingly, on many occasions when I’ve pointed out to a med sec the necessity of getting all the right details they have replied that they didn’t realise how crucial the information was. Nobody had told them! The problem thus goes away.
Let me illustrate by reference to a real MHM client. He held an outpatient clinic Monday evening and saw 9 patients. The clinic list was delivered to me electronically on Monday evening. By 10 am Tuesday morning, all 9 patients had been invoiced.
But only because both he and his med-sec understand the importance of making sure all the patient’s details are correct and complete.
And thus he will get paid quickly.