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Other duties – check out & filing insurance in the operatory

Do any of you fellow hygienists have to take payments/check your patients out before they leave your operatory instead of them going up front? What about filing their insurance claims in the back too? My office has recently started this and I find it frustrating to make time for this among my other duties.

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I interviewed at an office once that wanted me to do this. I was not interested in the position because it blurs the line of the back office being practitioners as opposed to office staff. Both important, don’t get me wrong, but two very different job descriptions and duties. It was also an infection control issue because this particular office had a machine that patients signed with and this was just sitting openly in operatories. Not to mention when another team member needed it, they had to search for which operatory it was in. This not only wasted time, but made the office look unorganized to the patients. During my working interview, both assistants and the other hygienist complained about having to do “front office duties.” It was very obvious it was a point of resentment and it was leading to a non-team focused, us against them, environment. And isn’t this what the front office is being paid to do? Helping out with front office duties when you can is one thing, but adding a second job description to your already large list of duties of directly treating patients isn’t a way to run an efficient office. You are a hygienist, not a billing specialist. Most of all, like you mentioned, it takes up valuable time you have to treat your patient, hence you are rushed, and patient care standards lower. Here’s an analogy: when you go to your primary care physician or have surgery does the doctor, medical assistant, or nurse take your payment or file your insurance? Of course not, the front office does; as they are the experts in that area and we are experts in treating patients. While there are some offices that do this, I don’t personally see this as a great way to run an office for many reasons!

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