"There has to be a backstop in which you obtain that list of every patient seen by the doctor the previous day and you go through the documentation to make sure that everything is properly billed," he says. "The hardest ones to pick up are the consults the doctor picks up while walking down the hall in the hospital. Another doctor asks him to give an opinion on Mrs. Jones while he's there, and a lot of times the doctor doesn't communicate that back to his office after the fact so they can bill that encounter."
Physicians should have a specific process to document and refer those consults for billing, White says. This can range from an automated system that the doctor can use to enter the encounter to simply texting the office manager or biller a quick note with the patient's name and the time of the consult. Others write the information on note cards carried in their pocket and then turn those over to the biller every day or two.
"Doctors come up with their own solutions. Whatever works for them personally, something they can commit to and stick by, is going to be effective," White says. "Even so, there should be a backstop in the office. It is a very good policy to have someone in the physician's practice responsible for asking the doctor every day, 'Who did you see in the hospital in the last 24 hours?' "