How to Make Consultations an Income Generating Activity
Fact: Performing clinical consultations that are structured, scheduled, documented and billed can be one of the top ways to increase revenue in your practice, all while performing a task that improves patient care and sets a professional precedent regarding your investment in both standards of care and patient improvement!
How do successful clinicians consistently get paid for consultations?
Consultation and care coordination with colleagues and referral sources, as well as clinical consultation with patients outside of session is a critical component of providing quality clinical care. It is also ethically required as a standard of care.
Many clinicians complete this consultation unscheduled and on the fly, subsequently avoiding consultation as it is cumbersome and inconvenient. Poorly scheduled, documented and billed consultations can create a liability for your practice.
Consultation with both patients and professionals you are coordinating care with should be a scheduled and billable event. Using progressive practice management technology, you can designate from a simple drop down the type of consultation you are performing (patient phone consultation, emergency consultation, professional consultation, psychiatric/medical consultation). Additionally, you can use the appropriate billing code to properly document these incredibly important services!
Billing for consultation starts with explaining your methodology to patients both verbally and in writing. Ensure your intake documentation lists consultation as one of your billable services.
Using progressive technology that allows you to store a form of payment on file easily allows you to document and process a payment for the consultations you choose to charge for.
Use this handy script to explain consultative fees:
“Some of the most effective treatment can come from paying our health care providers to connect with one another to coordinate and jointly create a meaningful treatment plan. Periodically, in order for you to receive the most comprehensive treatment in our practice, we may request a consultative meeting with your other providers to best coordinate your care. This may be your primary care physician, specialists you see, a school counselor or psychiatrist.
Periodically, you may personally need a session outside of your normally scheduled appointment, this may include standard additional support care or emergency sessions.
We don’t charge for the first 15 minutes and will inform you when these consultations are being scheduled and how they will benefit your care plan. Your form of payment on file will not be charged unless you have been notified of the scheduled consultation. As a patient in our practice you don’t need to worry about whether you will be provided with the most comprehensive care possible and this is an integral part of your treatment. Helping you to heal is something we feel you should expect from all professionals you see.”