job description and average salary of a patient access representative

Job Description and Average Salary of a Patient Access Representative

A patient access representative (PAR) is similar to an administrative assistant, except that he works in a healthcare setting. We give you some information on the job description and average salary of a patient access representative.

Take Care: As a patient access representative, you have to work on the computer all day, and might be very well subject to body aches and eye strain. You are also in contact with many patients, and you might be at a risk of catching infection and spreading it as well. Therefore, ensure that you are in good health yourself.
The job of a patient access representative is very important in the healthcare sector. He has a myriad of responsibilities, right from helping patients with the required formalities to reporting any glitches to his seniors. There are plenty of openings for this job all through the year. The job offers a sufficient number of benefits as well, including life insurance, medical insurance, disability coverage, etc. While administrative knowledge is the most important necessity, PAR needs to be equipped with sufficient healthcare knowledge as well. Furthermore, he is expected to have certain technical skills, given that he works on the computer to prepare bills and other documents. To know what a patient access representative does, read the following paragraphs of this Buzzle article.
Job Profile
The job duties of a patient access representative are enlisted below.
Assist and Care
  • A PAR has to be compassionate - one of his basic duties is to reassure patients and help them complete the formalities properly (they may not be in the right state of mind).
  • He has to contact the on-call doctor or the physician in-charge to take care of the patient and prescribe the necessary treatment.
  • In case of emergencies (like accidents or a sudden stroke) the patient is unconscious and may or may not have someone accompanying him.
  • At such times, the PAR has to obtain identification from his wallet or any other source. It is his responsibility to obtain information of the patient, inform the concerned people, and ensure that the patient is in safe hands.
  • During his stay in the hospital, he has to make sure that all the patient's needs are taken care of.
  • If the patient, for any reason has to be shifted to another hospital, he should take care of the entire transfer process and prepare the necessary documents as soon as possible.
  • He may also help patients by giving them external referrals in case the healthcare facility is unable to fulfill their needs.
  • Prioritizing is of utmost importance - he has to assess the patient's condition and see to it that the most critical patient is taken care of, in the beginning.
  • This practically sums up the job of a patient access representative.
  • He has to fill up the necessary check-in forms, to begin with. This includes the patient's personal information and other medical records.
  • He has to ensure that the entire book-keeping process - collecting payments, data entry, receipt collection, balancing records, etc., is carried out in smooth precision.
  • He prepares and updates medical records.
  • He is responsible for carrying out the entire health insurance process.
  • He has to find out what medical coverage the patient has and then contact the insurance company.
  • He has to negotiate with the insurance company and complete the necessary formalities.
  • He should ensure that every important form has the patient's signatures.
  • He has to maintain contact between various departments to know the latest updates on the patient regarding change of medicines, procedures, tests, etc. Then, he has to obtain the necessary reports from these departments, update records, and fax any changes back to the department (if necessary).
  • He has to accurately credit the hospital account after accepting payments.
  • He may also need to take care of a number of legal responsibilities.
  • He needs to effectively communicate with the doctors, executives, and patients.
  • He has to maintain a good working relationship with his colleagues.
  • He has to abide by the set rules and regulations.
  • He has to reschedule tasks in an orderly fashion in case of staff shortage.
  • He has to coordinate with the billing manager regarding emergencies and cancellations.
  • He has to take part in safety programs and get involved in periodic departmental meetings to improve the functioning of the system and strive towards excellence on a daily basis.
  • He has to collaborate with the heads of departments and the chief medical officer to resolve challenges.
  • He has to coordinate, confirm, and reschedule appointments.
  • He communicates with the concerned authority in case of patient's complaints, faulty equipment, medical error, malpractice, etc.
  • To become a PAR, the first step is to be compassionate and diplomatic at the same time.
  • You need to reassure anxious patients (and their family/friends/relatives), and yet ensure that the hospital procedures are followed properly.
  • For this field, you will need a high school diploma (or equivalent), to begin with.
  • Post high school graduation, you can enroll for a certificate or diploma program in medical administration.
  • You will be required to undergo extensive training in the field, and obtain the related certification as well, for future prospects.
  • Certified professionals have better job opportunities, so make sure you obtain that advanced specialization.
  • A patient access representative makes anywhere between USD 20,000 and USD 35,000.
  • The salary varies heavily with the state and the healthcare facility; states like New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, etc., have a good demand for PARs, while states like Alaska and Hawaii have a comparatively lesser demand.
  • As of 2015, the state-wise salary for a PAR is as enlisted below.
Alabama USD 23,000
Alaska USD 17,000
Arizona USD 19,000
Arkansas USD 23,000
California USD 25,000
Colorado USD 20,000
Connecticut USD 26,000
Delaware USD 20,000
Florida USD 21,000
Georgia USD 26,000
Hawaii USD 14,000
Idaho USD 15,000
Illinois USD 26,000
Indiana USD 22,000
Iowa USD 22,000
Kansas USD 21,000
Kentucky USD 20,000
Louisiana USD 20,000
Maine USD 20,000
Maryland USD 24,000
Massachusetts USD 28,000
Michigan USD 23,000
Minnesota USD 20,000
Mississippi USD 24,000
Missouri USD 22,000
Montana USD 19,000
Nebraska USD 17,000
Nevada USD 17,000
New Hampshire USD 23,000
New Jersey USD 25,000
New Mexico USD 20,000
New York USD 28,000
North Carolina USD 22,000
North Dakota USD 20,000
Ohio USD 22,000
Oklahoma USD 21,000
Oregon USD 22,000
Pennsylvania USD 22,000
Rhode Island USD 21,000
South Carolina USD 23,000
South Dakota USD 17,000
Tennessee USD 21,000
Texas USD 22,000
Utah USD 18,000
Vermont USD 20,000
Virginia USD 23,000
Washington USD 24,000
West Virginia USD 22,000
Wisconsin USD 20,000
Wyoming USD 19,000
Source: as of February 7, 2015. Figures are in US Dollars.
Work Environment
  • The work environment for this job is very stressful and hectic.
  • You will be working in a hospital, and there will be a continuous stream of patients - new patients registering themselves, patients who want to check out, patients who want their insurance and billing formalities to be completed, etc.
  • You will also be working on the computer for long hours.
  • Your work may involve running around as well, from one department to another, especially while billing payments.
  • You will come in contact with a number of patients having contagious diseases as well; you need to be cautious and take care of yourself, while ensuring that you do not hurt the patient.
  • All in all, the job is tough and demanding, you need to be adept and agile to fulfill the demands of the profession.
Jobs in the medical field are always in demand. The healthcare sector is expected to grow by leaps and bounds over the next decade. Despite the rising population, patient access representatives are believed to have a decent job growth rate.

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