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Written by: Darlene D'Altorio-Jones (1959-2015) on Monday, July 25, 2011 Posted in: Outpatient Rehab

How do you respond when your office is called and you’re asked,  ”Are you accepting patients and how long will the wait be?”

Do you answer that question after you’ve gathered demographic information and after you know who the insurer is?

I ask this because I recently stumbled upon a Huffington News Post that cited the Federal Government is about to go undercover, and will gather information, on how primary care doctors respond to these  questions.*

In the name of research, these secret shoppers will pose as new patients to gather data on the availability of primary care physicians’ willingness to accept privately insured patients over federally and state insured patients, such as Medicaid and Medicare. They will block the caller ID and will gather data on the proposed ability to access care. Is this required to see the long term effects of healthcare reform?

How does that make you feel? Do you believe federal dollars are used prudently to gather this data? Do you believe, if polled blindly, they can obtain similar results?  Do you think this can spread to hospitals, therapy practices and all other venues of patient care access? I do!

If you are a registered Medicare provider, does it make you appear as though you are “cherry picking” the best case load?

Given this type of information, should you examine how your staff would answer these questions on a blind call?  Let’s find out.

Answer YES if you  believe it is a good idea to see  how your staff would answer these questions,  and NO if you feel it isn’t a concern as to how the question is answered.

*Fox News did the initial story.