With the decision to start a blog, I thought it would be great to highlight a couple of key positions in a medical practice that often go unnoticed. We certainly recognize the importance of the providers, however there are a couple positions within a practice that do not always gain the credit they deserve.
In this blog, I am going to talk about the front desk receptionist. Or, you may have heard this position titled by larger groups as Director of First Impressions. I love that! And how true it is! There is the customer service component of this job, in that this is the first person the patient sees, and the last. Additionally, it’s likely the voice on the other end of the line, when they call to make an appointment, or ask questions. But it’s so much more than that.
There’s no such thing as just hiring any random person off the street to manage the front desk. It’s more than a pretty face, and a nice smile. They must be able to learn how to use an Electronic Medical Record (EMR); understand health insurance, and what to collect in regard to copays and deductibles; make appointments; obtain answers to the many questions that come in via the phone; manage prior authorizations; coordinate paperwork that needs to be completed; attempt to collect past due balances; and the list goes on. The best part is they likely need to do many of these tasks all at once.
I recently sat down with Jessie Rapone, to ask her a couple questions about what it’s like to be a Medical Receptionist. Jessie is contracted to work at a pediatric office we manage in Batavia, New York, where she is a complete rock star in this position. The staff fears when Jessie needs to take time off from work, which fortunately is not too often. Each member of the ancillary staff is trained to fill in at the front desk, but no one can come close to our rock star, Jessie. There are some pretty intense days, but she never lets it get the best of her. She always has a positive attitude, to which everyone respects her for, and appreciates having her a part of the team.
Here are a couple questions I asked Jessie:
What is the worst part about being a medical receptionist? It wasn’t anything to do about the technical aspects of the job, but rather, she said it is dealing with rude people. Fortunately, there aren’t many people that are rude, that she has to deal with. But when there are, she said it is frustrating, because she always treats everyone with kindness and respect.
What is the best part about being a medical receptionist? As mentioned above, she said she is fortunate in that there is a limited amount of rude people. The best part are the lots of great people she interfaces with on a daily basis. Jessie is familiar with all of the families in the practice, and looks forward to seeing each and every one of them that comes in each day.
What is something you think people would be surprised about your job? Jessie replied by saying that people would be surprised by the amount of stuff she does. She said she feels that people often assume that her position is limited to her “just sitting behind a computer all day”. But rather, she said there are so many things she is managing, including many small tasks that really add up.
Because every ancillary staff member is trained to work the front desk, every member of our staff can certainly appreciate the type of person it takes to do that job on a daily basis, and to do it as well as Jessie. A huge thank you to all the medical receptionists, who daily play a huge role in keeping the practice alive and well, yet often go unnoticed. We appreciate you!