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    Cristy Good
    Cristy Good, MPH, MBA, CPC, CMPE

    Even though there are more patient payment options, such as patient portals, than ever before, providers should not forget that many patients still pay by check.

    One option for making the check handling process quicker and easier is desktop scanning with remote deposit. Remote deposit capture technology allows you to make multiple deposits to your business account using a check scanner. This allows you to spend less time making deposits and more time running your practice.

    Benefits of a remote desktop scanning and deposit system:

    • Saves time and reduces cost by eliminating courier fees and transportation when making a deposit
    • Offers flexibility when making a deposit and provides later cutoff times
    • Bank often includes scanner, replaced at no additional cost if something goes wrong
    • Allows you to scan an unlimited amount of checks each month
    • Streamlines cash management
    • Makes funds available in a timely manner, as checks clear faster and bad checks are returned sooner

    What to consider when deciding if remote desktop scanning and deposit system is right for your practice:

    • Small fee for service, most about $15/month
    • Cancellation fee terms
    • Number of users the service supports
    • Training for user(s)
    • Have a procedure in place to instruct your front desk person and how they should handle checks once scanned
    • Best practice is to safeguard checks for a minimum of 14 days from date transmitted
    • Shred checks once the deposit is verified by your revenue cycle process
    • If a check does not clear, have a process in place that alerts the patient’s account and then reach out to him/her for an alternative payment method
    • System compatibility with scanner software

    Note: MGMA does not endorse any solutions put forth by participants on the specialty group email forums. We urge readers to explore the legal issues — federal, state and local — that might arise from a particular course of action.
    The following excerpt highlights members’ advice on desktop scanning with remote deposit. Read these and other discussions at

    In the last year, we moved our billing in-house to a central billing office. Daily we take deposits to the bank which are primarily checks and very little cash. We are throwing around the idea of utilizing the desktop check scanning provided by our bank. Wanted to see from those using it if you thought this was a valuable tool — also any tips of what to avoid if you have started this service and found hidden problems/fees later.
    Wendy Steward, MBA, CMPE, MGMA member, administrator, Yuma Gastroenterology, LLP, Yuma, Ariz.
    We have been using it since 2008, great asset to have. [It] cuts down runs to bank by 90%. Now we just take cash.
    Dawn Andrews, MGMA member, administrator, Cardiovascular Associates PC, Mobile, Ala.
    We have used an in-house check scanner since day one when the banks began using them. We have not experienced any hidden fees or problems. Occasionally a check will get jammed in the scanner, but it isn’t an issue.
    Diana Johnson, MGMA member, office manager, Mobile Gastroenterology, Mobile, Ala.
    We received a similar proposition from our bank but I was not able to get clarification from them on the pricing. If they are going to charge me the same per check deposit fee, why would I take over the labor costs of doing the scanning in house?
    Phil Janke, MGMA member, chief operating officer, Cardiology Associates Medical Group Inc., Ventura, Calif.
    I had the same issue with one of my local banks when I was at another office. I thought it would be cheaper than having the armored carrier courier, which it was, but then we would’ve incurred additional costs on our account for the process of scanning our own checks. So, while it would’ve been an overall savings, in the end it wouldn’t have saved us completely. 
    Julie Veronick, CMPE, CPC, MGMA member, practice administrator, Tower Joint Replacement Clinic, Anchorage, Alaska
    We have been utilizing a check scanner with our bank and have had very few issues. [This] saves numerous trips to the bank, and deposits are posted same day. We have not incurred any additional fees and staff.
    Janet Bozeman, CMPE, MGMA member, practice manager, Surgical Dermatology Group, Vestavia Hills, Ala.
    There may be some issues with size of batches and check sizes, but your bank will be glad to help you. The one operational item you have is to keep the checks for a period of time and then destroy them. So you need a daily file and then a destroy cycle. The bank has all the info you need. At one practice the bank provided the scanner … as it saved time on their end.
    Richard E. Hansen, MS, CMPE, consultant, MGMA
    You may want to consider a lockbox if moving toward automation. While there are some costs to consider, the wage savings would offset the expense.
    Brian Ramos, MBA, CMPE, MGMA member, chief operating officer, Capital Anesthesia Partners, Washington, D.C.
    We started using the check scanner about a year ago. Overall, we have been very pleased. Now we only have a courier come to pick up the bank bag twice a week, although we could go down to once a week.

    Two things I’d suggest:

    1. Have a plan for when you have technical issues. The bank has been great about sending out support when we need it, and my practice is primarily funded through student fees, so we are able to wait a few days if the machine is down. This has maybe happened three times in the past year.

    2. Make sure you have a backup. We have one scanner for the clinic as the bank was unwilling to give us two, and this has caused some problems when the receptionist is out and we can’t get another user logged into that computer.
    Sara Parris, MGMA member, assistant director of administrative services, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa

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