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Target front-desk staff to improve collection of patient deductibles, especially for high-deductible health plans

Although health insurance policies with deductibles aren't new, the policies are multiplying and the deductibles are growing. Consequently, providers need to minimize the risk that they'll be unable to collect a patient's deductible, either at or following the time of service. The front desk is the most important position in the collections process, says Reed Tinsley, CPA, CVA, CFP, principal at Reed Tinsley & Associates in Houston. That many practices pay their front office staff the lowest salaries and provide little or no training is "a recipe for disaster" in the face of rising patient financial responsibilities, Tinsley says.

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