Monday Medical: Save time by preregistering online

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There’s a new, bright blue “button” on the home page of Yampa Valley Medical Center’s website at www.yvmc.org. It encourages patients to save time by preregistering online for any scheduled hospital appointments.

Expectant parents also may benefit by registering for anticipated childbirth at YVMC’s Family Birth Place. Will and Emily Dennis, of Stagecoach, are glad they acted well in advance of their due date.

On March 6, when Emily was not quite 36 weeks into her pregnancy, the couple rushed to YVMC on the advice of Emily’s physician.

“Will and I walked into the Family Birth Place — thank goodness we had preregistered — and got settled in our room at 11:30,” Emily said. “Elizabeth was born at 12:58.”

Although most babies choose their own time to debut, many hospital services such as surgeries, annual mammograms, diagnostic tests and other procedures, are scheduled by patients or their physicians.

Preregistration has several benefits for patients who have appointments for services, YVMC Patient Access Director Shara Ludlum said.

“The hospital check-in process will go more quickly,” Ludlum said. “We also will have more time to confirm insurance benefits and obtain preauthorization, if needed, on behalf of our patients.

“Many patients are unsure of their insurance benefits and they’re happy to have the hospital take care of this task,” Patient Access Team Leader Matt Stevenson said. “They really appreciate it when we can estimate their out-of-pocket cost in advance.”

Ludlum said YVMC likes to be able to provide financial information to patients at least a day prior to a surgery or procedure. Preregistration gets this process started more quickly.

So that takes us back to the new blue button on YVMC’s website. This link will connect directly to the form that can be filled out and submitted electronically.

People who do not have access to a computer can preregister by calling YVMC’s main number, 970-879-1322, and asking for admissions.

At hospital check-in, preregistered patients must show a photo ID, verify some information and sign a consent form. Because they already have submitted their information online or by phone, the process will be speedier.

Each patient then will receive an identification wristband and be escorted or provided with directions to the appropriate care unit.

Throughout this article, we have emphasized the benefits of preregistration for those who have scheduled appointments or childbirth due dates. Other individuals do not have to preregister, including emergency patients, people who are sent to the hospital directly from a doctor’s office and those who are getting direct-access laboratory tests (without a prescription or appointed time).

During the time YVMC has had online preregistration available, a few people have mistakenly tried to use the form to make an appointment with a physician. Ludlum clarified that physician offices have their own appointment-setting procedures and should be contacted directly by their patients.

“Preregistration is only for people who already have a childbirth due date or an appointed date and time for a hospital service,” Ludlum said. “We offer this as a time-saving convenience and hope that patients will take advantage of it.”

Christine McKelvie is retiring as public relations director of Yampa Valley Medical Center but will continue as a hospital editor and writer of future Monday Medical columns. You may reach her at christine.mckelvie@yvmc.org.

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