You have finally decided that that knee pain has gotten to be too much, the bunions have narrowed your shoe options to slippers, your lower back pain is interfering with a good night’s sleep, hip pain is keeping you from dancing the night away at the company Christmas Party or that trigger finger is slowing down your online holiday shopping. Even worse, you got caught up in the holiday spirit and decided that you would dust off your running shoes and run in the Turkey Trot 5k with your teenage daughter/track star and you woke up the next morning not being able to move. Who you gonna call? Well, we hope it is the team at Orthopedic Specialists of Louisiana!
Recently we sat down with OSL’s Patient Intake Scheduling Director, Tanya, and asked her a few questions about scheduling appointments at Orthopedic Specialists of Louisiana, insurance verification and why they must ask so many questions to get you scheduled for an appointment.
OSL: Tanya, how long have you worked at Orthopedic Specialists and how many Scheduling coordinators do you have on your team? What are the responsibilities of the OSL Scheduling Team?
I have been with OSL for ten years. I started out in medical reception and was there for two years. As the clinic grew and more doctors joined the practice, the clinic created a separate scheduling team to manage all appointments and to verify insurance for the clinics in Shreveport and Bossier City. We currently have eight scheduling coordinators. Every morning the scheduling team has a meeting to review which doctors are in clinic, clear any issues from the previous day and answer any voicemails and appointment requests made online. In addition to scheduling all appointments and verifying insurance, the team also sends patient notes, medication requests and messages to the physician teams, as well as manage all physician referrals.
OSL: When a new patient calls to schedule an appointment, what information should they have on hand?
Its important to have your insurance card and information. If you have a family member or loved one calling to schedule an appointment on your behalf, please make sure they have your insurance information, they know the patient’s date of birth, address, and phone number. Also, it is important to identify whether you are seeing the physician due to a liability or a worker’s comp case… whether you are holding another party responsible; often liabilities require approval prior to your appointment.
OSL: What is the deal with insurance verification…is it really necessary?
Yes. A lot of people call in and get frustrated when we must take the time to verify their insurance. With all the different replacement and supplemental insurances and with the increase in patients from out of state, we must verify to prevent patients from showing up and being unable to be seen or to prevent unexpected charges. I encourage patients during open enrollments to reach out to their regularly attended physicians to make sure that any new replacement plans are covered.
OSL: Can you accommodate new patients that require same day appointments?
Yes- during our regular business hours, we typically can. Fortunately, our scheduling office collaborates very closely with our physicians and their teams. After working with these doctors for the last ten years, I know they really do want to be able to help their patients and get them seen.
OSL: What is one of the best parts of your job?
When you are at the end of the call and the patient thanks you for taking time to explain their options and are truly grateful for your help. A lot of the OSL doctors affectionately call our team the “gatekeepers.” The doctors are all comfortable contacting the scheduling team to make sure we are all on the same page and that we are making sure our patients are well taken care of from start to finish. Knowing the doctors trust the scheduling team to be the first to interact with their patients is a responsibility we all take very seriously.
OSL: What are some of the challenges your team faces?
Patients often call in and are in pain or have been putting off making an appointment. When they call, they have a lot of symptoms, and they often want to get some sort of diagnoses over the phone. Unfortunately, we cannot offer medical advice over the phone or have one of the doctors call you back to discuss your symptoms. The best thing we can do for you is to get you scheduled for a face-to-face evaluation with one of our doctors.
Orthopedic Specialists of Louisiana is home to ten fellowship trained orthopedic surgeons with clinic locations in Shreveport and Bossier City, Louisiana. To schedule an evaluation with one of our surgeons, please call (866) 759.9679 or visit: orthopedicspecialistsla.com.