Lesson 3: Assist with the processing of practice information

One of the most important duties you will undertake will be advising patients of the costs incurred for their health care and the entitlements they may be eligible for from various organisations such as Medicare, Private Health Funds and Veteran Affairs, as well as processing their accounts and their payments. Remember all medical billing and medical rebates are based around Medicare as they are the governing body.

Depending on where you work you may also be able to submit a client’s Medicare claim direct to Medicare using either an EFTPOS machine where the patient will give you their EFTPOS card to swipe and Medicare will then direct debit their rebate directly to their account or via the internet. To use this option the client will need to give Medicare their bank details, it will then take 2-3 days for the money to land in their account.

No matter how your employer chooses to operate their account service, the information that you will be handling is highly sensitive, even if a client is simply coming in to pay an account via cheque or EFTPOS and no claim to Medicare is going to be made by yourselves. The rulings under the Privacy Act regarding this information in a health care setting deems that it be treated the same way as you would patient notes, test results, x-rays, scans etc. It is highly sensitive and it should only be available to those involved directly with the patient’s health care needs. It is not something that should be left lying around or discussed with people not involved with the patient’s care.
If you are using a computerised system always ensure that the computer screens are not easily viewed, that backups are done regularly and stored in a secure facility and that any numbers such as Medicare numbers or DVA numbers as well as the Item numbers from Medicare when doing an account are double checked when they are entered into the system to ensure their accuracy.

If you are working in a paper based office always ensure that nothing is left on the desk that identifies a patient in any way, that all paperwork; both patient health information and account information, are stored in a secure facility and only available to those authorised to have access. You will also need to be aware that if you are working on a patients file and dealing with patients as they come into your place of employment you will need to be able to discreetly cover up the file so that the new patient cannot view what you are working on and like a computerised practice, double check all Medicare or DVA numbers as well as Item numbers when doing medical accounts to ensure their accuracy.

Following is a list of exercises you can carry out on Pracsoft relating to the processing of accounts and their payments.