Medical Office Management: Front Office & Bookkeeping

Interested in what a medical office assistant does while working in the front office? Want to learn how to do bookkeeping at a medical office? The medical office assistant may answer the phone, schedule appointments, process mail, process insurance, write correspondence and manage medical files. They may also be responsible for the medical facilities’ bookkeeping which includes accounts payable, accounts receivable and managing the general ledger.

Medical Front Office Duties

The medical office assistant performs many duties working in the front office for a physician or medical facility. The medical assistant is an integral part of the medical facility and may do the following:

Answer Telephones – the medical office assistant may work at the reception desk or back up the receptionist answering phone calls from patients, doctors and insurance companies. They will want to present themselves on the phone with a warm greeting and identify whether the call is urgent or not. The medical assistant will either take a message or transfer the patient to the correct staff member.

Schedule Appointments – the medical office assistant, while answering phone calls or managing reception, may also schedule appointments for patients and update the physician’s calendar. Some medical office assistants in bigger medical facilities may be the designated appointment scheduler. They may also need to confirm or re-schedule appointments with patients by phone or mail.

Process Mail – the medical office assistant may manage the incoming and outgoing mail. Billing information, patient payments and correspondence will come into the medical facility. Processed claims and patient files may be sent out to insurance companies and other medical facilities.

Processing Insurance – after the medical office assistant processes a patients’ medical insurance card, they may ask for a co-payment. Once coded, the insurance claim will go to the insurance company and the remainder of the payment after co-pay is returned to the physician’s office for services rendered. Much of the claims forms will be transmitted electronically per HIPPA regulations.

Write Correspondence – letters to patients, medical facilities or insurance companies may be created by the medical office assistant using word processing software. The medical office assistant may also be responsible for creating fliers, newsletters and other business collateral materials to promote the medical facility.

Medical File Management – the management of patient records, accounting records, contracts and business-related documentation. Medical files can be in paper form or electronically stored in a computer database. The medical office assistant must use proper ICD-10 and CPT coding standards to make sure insurance claims are processed properly according to standards and regulations.

Bookkeeping

The medical office assistant at a physician’s office or medical facility may be responsible for the bookkeeping including accounts receivable and accounts payable. The medical office assistant may also manage the general ledger, recording all transactions as debits or credits.

Accounts Receivable – money owed to a medical facility by its debtors after delivery of a product or service. Receivables are similar to a line of credit were the patient or vender has a short period to pay the debtor. Invoices are created by the physician’s office for third-party vendors and patients and the customers agree to pay within a set time frame. A common payment term is Net 30 days, where the customer or patient has 30 days from the date of service or delivery to pay the invoice. After 30 days, overdue charges or interest may be applied to unpaid invoices. The medical office assistant may be responsible for make sure patients and customers pay their invoice and follow up on past due invoices.

Accounts Payable – money owed by a medical facility to its creditors, an obligation to pay off a short-term debt. The medical office assistant must manage the payment of vendors for services and delivered products. They will have the terms set forth by the vendor to pay the invoice before it is past due.

General Ledger – contains all the accounts for recording transactions related to a company’s assets, liabilities, owners’ equity, revenue, and expenses.

Assets – the resources the medical facility owns, acquired during a transaction or have a future value that can be measured. Assets may also include prepaid or deferred costs that will become expenses as the costs are used up over time.
Liabilities – the medical facilities debt, obligations, customer deposits, customer prepayments and income that may be deferred as a result of a past transaction.
Owners’ Equity – the medical facilities’ amount of assets minus the amount of liabilities.
Revenue – amount of money a medical facility receives during a given period.
Expenses – the amount of money paid out to operate the medical facility, in an effort to earn revenue.

Enjoy managing the front office and bookkeeping duties? Want to become a medical office assistant? The Medical Office Assistant Program is designed to prepare graduates to work as an entry-level medical front office assistant, receptionist, insurance billing, insurance collector, appointment scheduler, medical secretary, or medical records clerk, in health care centers, clinics, hospitals, ambulatory care centers, and medical billing offices. Contact PCI Health Training Center for more information on how to become a medical office assistant and start a rewarding career today.

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