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How to Become a Patient Access Representative

How to Become a Patient Access Representative

A patient access representative (PAR) is responsible for taking care of the patient's check-in, insurance, and check-out formalities. This CareerStint article tells you how to become a patient access representative.
Buzzle Staff
For a Job as a PAR

Interview Tips:
◼ Understand everything about medical insurance.
◼ Explain that you will be outright where billing is concerned.
◼ Display willingness to work in a pressure-filled atmosphere.

A patient access representative may act as a common link between two or more entities. He is ideally supposed to take care of the hospital administration in the most efficient way possible. The responsibilities of a PAR may be similar to other related designations, like a patient access specialist, or a patient access supervisor. Their job duties may vary slightly though. This job is ideal for people who like to work in an administrative setting. In addition, you will be in contact with doctors, nurses, and patients, providing you with the excitement of working in a medical environment. In the paragraphs to follow, you will learn how to become a patient access representative.
Job Profile
▶ He has to help patients check into the hospital - complete the check-in formalities, that is.
▶ He has to obtain their personal details, health problems, medical history, etc. He also has to direct them accordingly.
▶ He has to maintain a good, positive working relationship with all the patients and hospital staff.
▶ He has to complete and maintain accurate medical records.
▶ He has to inform his seniors regarding any problem in the administrative system. He may also suggest some improvement measures.
▶ He has to undertake all the insurance-related formalities. Accordingly, he has to contact the insurance companies and ensure that the process runs smoothly.
▶ He has to ensure that all the documents related to the patient as well as the bills are in proper order while the patient is being discharged.
Required Skills
  • Excellent customer service
  • Knowledge of medical terminology
  • Good communication and interpersonal skills
  • Willingness to help
  • Ability to prioritize
  • Very good multitasking ability
  • Quick decision-making skills
  • Compassionate nature
  • Strong attention to detail
  • Patience
  • Good listening skills
  • An aura of confidence and reassurance

The First Step
  • For any profession, you have to first make up your mind whether it is the right one for you; rather, whether it is something you want to do with your life.
  • Analyze yourself - are you a naturally sympathetic person? Do you like working with finance and math and clerical records? Will you be able to put up with a hospital setting for more than 9 hours everyday?
  • If your answer to the above questions is in the affirmative, go ahead with your career as a PAR.
  • Once you have made up your mind, understand the educational qualifications you need to obtain.
  • Ideally, it is not mandatory to complete a college degree to become a hospital patient access representative, you need more of a training session. Nevertheless, having a proper education is always a better plan.
  • It would help if you take subjects such as biology, math, computers, etc., in high school.
  • Once you graduate, you can pursue a bachelor's degree in customer service, finance, administration, or related disciplines.
  • If you are not interested in completing college, you can go in for a certificate or diploma in medical office administration or technical medical assistance. In fact, many technical schools offer associate degree programs in the same subjects as well.
  • You will complete your course in one or two years, depending on the program. You will learn all about medical insurance, medical terminology, anatomy, health records, customer service, and office administration.
Certification and Training
  • Whether you choose a certificate, diploma, or an associate's degree program, make sure it is from an accredited source. You may choose a program from the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs.
  • After you complete the program, you can get a certification to enhance your knowledge. You can contact the AAMA (American Association of Medical Assistants) to obtain the CMA (Certified Medical Assistant) certification.
  • If your diploma/certificate course has a training program in the curriculum, you can start training right away prior to taking your certification.
  • You will understand the working of a hospital, medical terminology, office layouts, etc. You may also get recommendations and make important contacts.
  • You may consider on-the-job training from local clinics even after completing your certification. In fact, you may be hired by bigger healthcare facilities after you get certified.
  • Your certification needs to be periodically updated, you cannot use the same credentials for a decade.
  • Maintain your certification and keep abreast of the latest administration techniques, medical knowledge, and compliance standards.
  • After you have gathered sufficient work experience, you may consider catering your services to one healthcare facility.
  • You can work exclusively for a dentist, skin specialist, orthopedist, pediatrician, etc.
  • Even within a hospital you can advance to higher positions and handle more responsibilities.
  • Around half a decade back, the salary range of a PAR was between USD 25,000 and USD 40,000.
  • Some states like New Jersey and California have a higher pay scale than the others.
  • As per recent statistics, the average salary is around USD 23,000.
  • PARs earn around USD 10 to USD 20 on an hourly basis. This wage varies with the employers and experience, of course.
  • Certified professionals always earn more and are recruited by the best facilities.
Job Outlook
  • The BLS predicts a fairly decent growth rate for this field.
  • The job may be stressful and demanding and has a serious atmosphere (obviously, it is a hospital, not a coffee shop), which requires that you need to be sincere and disciplined and give it your best.
  • You have a lot of choice regarding your workplace - you can choose local clinics, private clinics, nursing homes, public hospitals, etc.
  • You will mostly work regular hours, but may be required to put in extra hours during critical, emergency situations.
A job as a patient access representative can be really interesting for people who wish to be a part of the medical field, yet who wish to stay away from the complexities of holding a patient's life in their hands. That is to say, if you work as a PAR, it is almost akin to working at a regular office (since you deal with a lot of paperwork), and yet, you will be working in the hospital, assisting patients, giving details about diseases, etc., thus fulfilling your wish of being in a touch-and-go relationship with the medical fraternity.