I work in a private Doctor’s office and there are two of us up in the front dealing with patients on a daily basis. Due to the Doctor’s choice, we are no longer accepting certain types of insurance and need payment in full the day of service. This is clearly communicated when someone makes an appointment, but here’s the problem: My co-worker doesn’t have a backbone when it comes to asking our patients for payment, and so avoids being up front when a patient is leaving or sends them to me. I know this can be awkward, but it’s part of our job and I’m tired of having to be the firm one while she is all warm and fuzzy with the patients. I hate to have to tattle to the Dr. on her, but I’m getting tired of being the bad guy.
Frothy at the Front Desk
Dear Frothy at the Front Desk,
Your Doctor has every right to choose how payments are handled, and as the staff you are to carry out the procedure. It requires confidence and an ability to be assertive when asking others for money. Too bad you are left carrying out the bulk of the communication. It’s time you had an assertive conversation with your co-worker to correct the problem. Remember, we must first communicate directly with the individual before taking it to another level. I would start by saying, “Over the past couple of weeks I’ve noticed that when it comes to asking the patient for payment, you aren’t available leaving me to communicate this message. I know this can be awkward, but we need to both be responsible for checking patients out. Can I count on you to be up in the front and take your half of the patients during checkout?” If she is uncomfortable, perhaps you could offer to role-play with her to build her confidence.