In hospitals, Registration is sometimes known as Patient Access, and, if the hospital doesn't have a separate area for inpatient admissions, it handles that responsibility as well. Physicians offices will call this area registration also, as well as clinics or any other outpatient service areas.
Registration begins the entire process of the medical billing process. If the proper information isn't obtained at this point, medical bills will stall at some point along the way, and the claims won't get paid. This is why every time you go into a hospital or physician's office they always ask you to review your demographic and insurance information, just to make sure. Sometimes they may also ask you to produce your insurance cards.
There are five major pieces of information that are critical in getting correct so that your insurance company will pay a claim:
- The correct spelling of the patient's name.
- The correct date of birth.
- The correct sex of the patient.
- The correct social security number.
- The correct contract number off the insurance card.
Other things might delay payment for a short period of time, but an error on either of the above five will get the claim delayed. A well run registration error will ask you the first four questions and have you give them the information verbally, rather than telling it to you and asking you to confirm it. The fifth question should be taken directly off the insurance card. With all of these, if you're a frequent visitor, they may be bypassed every once in awhile with no problem.
There will be some forms that are standard with every registration. Some of the items may be on one form to help cut down on paperwork. One will be the right to provide treatment. Another will be what's known as an assignment of benefits, which means you're agreeing that if the hospital bills your insurance company, the insurance company can pay the hospital directly. There are other questions some hospitals may or may not ask. And, depending on your insurance, there may be other forms or processes that must be completed before you can receive treatment.