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Written Communications and Mail Processing Chapter 13 Copyright © 2008, 2005, by Saunders, an Written Communications and Mail Processing Chapter 13 Copyright © 2008, 2005, by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Introduction Written communications are a reflection of the physician and his or her office Introduction Written communications are a reflection of the physician and his or her office staff. All written communications should be professional, accurate, complete, and effective in getting across the intended message. Copyright © 2008, 2005, by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Slide 2

This chapter will examine: n Responsibilities of the medical assistant with regard to equipment This chapter will examine: n Responsibilities of the medical assistant with regard to equipment and supplies n Common sizes of letterhead stationery n Parts of speech n References for the medical assistant’s library n Answering business correspondence n Value of communications portfolios n Letter styles and parts of a business letter Copyright © 2008, 2005, by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Slide 3

Importance of Written Communications n n n Promotes a good impression of the physician Importance of Written Communications n n n Promotes a good impression of the physician and the office staff Enhances the art of effective communication Promotes better healthcare by providing accurate information about and to the patient Copyright © 2008, 2005, by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Slide 4

Types of Written Communications n Letters n Memorandums n Orders for supplies n Email Types of Written Communications n Letters n Memorandums n Orders for supplies n Email n Facsimiles n Medical records n Instructions for patients Copyright © 2008, 2005, by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Slide 5

Writing Skills and Composing Tips for Business Letters n Keep the length to about Writing Skills and Composing Tips for Business Letters n Keep the length to about one page. n Carefully organize the letter. n Read the letter several times to determine what needs to be addressed in the answer. n Highlight questions asked or materials requested. n Decide on answers to questions. n Verify information. Copyright © 2008, 2005, by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Slide 6

More Writing Tips n Keep sentences short. n Put only one idea in each More Writing Tips n Keep sentences short. n Put only one idea in each sentence. n Eliminate superfluous wording. n Use layman’s terms. n Match the physician’s degree of formality. Copyright © 2008, 2005, by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Slide 7

Sentence Errors Three main errors in sentences: n Sentence fragment n Run-on sentence n Sentence Errors Three main errors in sentences: n Sentence fragment n Run-on sentence n Comma splice Copyright © 2008, 2005, by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Slide 8

Letter Styles Four basic styles n Block n Modified block or standard n Modified Letter Styles Four basic styles n Block n Modified block or standard n Modified block indented n Simplified Copyright © 2008, 2005, by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Slide 9

Block Letter Style n All lines flush to the left margin n Very efficient Block Letter Style n All lines flush to the left margin n Very efficient n Less attractive Copyright © 2008, 2005, by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Slide 10

Block Letter Style (cont’d) Copyright © 2008, 2005, by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier Block Letter Style (cont’d) Copyright © 2008, 2005, by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Slide 11

Modified Block Letter Style n n Dateline, complimentary closing, and typewritten signature all begin Modified Block Letter Style n n Dateline, complimentary closing, and typewritten signature all begin at the center. All other lines begin flush with the left margin. Copyright © 2008, 2005, by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Slide 12

Modified Block Letter Style (cont’d) Copyright © 2008, 2005, by Saunders, an imprint of Modified Block Letter Style (cont’d) Copyright © 2008, 2005, by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Slide 13

Modified Block with Indented Paragraphs n Identical to block except that the first line Modified Block with Indented Paragraphs n Identical to block except that the first line of each paragraph is indented five spaces. Copyright © 2008, 2005, by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Slide 14

Modified Block with Indented Paragraphs (cont’d) Copyright © 2008, 2005, by Saunders, an imprint Modified Block with Indented Paragraphs (cont’d) Copyright © 2008, 2005, by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Slide 15

Simplified n n All lines flush with the left margin. Salutation replaced with all-capital Simplified n n All lines flush with the left margin. Salutation replaced with all-capital subject line on the third line below the subject line. Omit the complimentary closing. Enter an all-capital typewritten signature below the body of the letter. Copyright © 2008, 2005, by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Slide 16

Simplified (cont’d) Copyright © 2008, 2005, by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier Inc. All Simplified (cont’d) Copyright © 2008, 2005, by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Slide 17

Spacing and Margins n n Business letters are usually single-spaced. First typed entry goes Spacing and Margins n n Business letters are usually single-spaced. First typed entry goes on the third line below the letterhead. n Typing on continuation pages begins 1 inch from the top. n Side margins 1 to 1½ inches on each side. n Minimum of 1 -inch margin on the bottom. Copyright © 2008, 2005, by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Slide 18

Parts of Letters n Heading n Opening n Body n Closing Copyright © 2008, Parts of Letters n Heading n Opening n Body n Closing Copyright © 2008, 2005, by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Slide 19

Heading n Includes letterhead and dateline. n Usually centered at the top of the Heading n Includes letterhead and dateline. n Usually centered at the top of the page. n n n Includes the name of the physician or group and the address. Usually includes the telephone number and medical specialties. Dateline consists of the name of the month written in full, the day, and the year. Copyright © 2008, 2005, by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Slide 20

Opening Consists of inside address, salutation, and the optional attention line. Inside address n Opening Consists of inside address, salutation, and the optional attention line. Inside address n n Starts flush with left margin Contains name and address of the person to whom the letter is addressed Copyright © 2008, 2005, by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Slide 21

Opening n Use courtesy titles. n Follow names with academic degrees. n Do not Opening n Use courtesy titles. n Follow names with academic degrees. n Do not use both a courtesy title and a degree that means the same thing. Incorrect: Dr. Rick Tips, M. D. Correct: Dr. Rick Tips, M. D. Copyright © 2008, 2005, by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Slide 22

Opening Salutation n Introductory greeting n Flush with left margin n Second line below Opening Salutation n Introductory greeting n Flush with left margin n Second line below last line of address n Usually followed by a colon Copyright © 2008, 2005, by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Slide 23

Opening Attention line n Optional n Flush with left margin n Second line below Opening Attention line n Optional n Flush with left margin n Second line below inside address Copyright © 2008, 2005, by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Slide 24

Body n n If used, subject line is placed on the second line below Body n n If used, subject line is placed on the second line below the salutation. Includes message of the letter. Copyright © 2008, 2005, by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Slide 25

Closing Includes: n Complimentary closing n Typed signature n Reference initials n Special notations Closing Includes: n Complimentary closing n Typed signature n Reference initials n Special notations Copyright © 2008, 2005, by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Slide 26

Postscripts n Place emphasis on an idea or statement. n May express an afterthought. Postscripts n Place emphasis on an idea or statement. n May express an afterthought. n Follow letter style when using postscripts. Copyright © 2008, 2005, by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Slide 27

Continuation Pages Heading for continuation pages includes: n Name of the addressee n Page Continuation Pages Heading for continuation pages includes: n Name of the addressee n Page number n Date Headings begin on the seventh line from the top of the page. Copyright © 2008, 2005, by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Slide 28

Signing the Letter Physician usually signs: n n n Letters with medical advice Letters Signing the Letter Physician usually signs: n n n Letters with medical advice Letters to medical societies Referral and consultation reports Medical reports to insurance companies Medical Assistant signs: n Routine letters n Orders for office supplies n Notifications to patients about surgery or hospital arrangements n Collection letters n Letters of solicitation Personal letters Copyright © 2008, 2005, by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Slide 29

More Types of Written Communications Telephone messages n Name of the person being called More Types of Written Communications Telephone messages n Name of the person being called n Name of person calling n Caller’s contact telephone numbers n Reason for the call n Action to be taken n Date and time of call n Initials of person taking the call Copyright © 2008, 2005, by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Slide 30

More Types of Written Communications n Email messages n Faxes n Memorandums Copyright © More Types of Written Communications n Email messages n Faxes n Memorandums Copyright © 2008, 2005, by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Slide 31

Developing a Portfolio n n Consists of sample letters that are used in various Developing a Portfolio n n Consists of sample letters that are used in various situations. Letters can be added to the portfolio when created. Store letters on the computer and make changes as necessary. Saves time when composing correspondence. Copyright © 2008, 2005, by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Slide 32

U. S. Postal Service n n n Independent establishment of the executive branch of U. S. Postal Service n n n Independent establishment of the executive branch of the U. S. government Operates independently of the government Second oldest federally established department or agency in the United States Copyright © 2008, 2005, by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Slide 33

Mail Processing Incoming mail usually includes: n General correspondence n Payments for services n Mail Processing Incoming mail usually includes: n General correspondence n Payments for services n Bills for office purchases n Insurance claim forms to be completed n Laboratory reports n Hospital reports n Medical society mailings n Professional journals n Promotional literature and advertising Copyright © 2008, 2005, by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Slide 34

Opening the Mail n Follow office policy. n Do not open mail that is Opening the Mail n Follow office policy. n Do not open mail that is marked “personal. ” n Use a methodic system to open and process mail efficiently. Copyright © 2008, 2005, by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Slide 35

Annotating n Read each item of mail. n Underline significant words or phrases. n Annotating n Read each item of mail. n Underline significant words or phrases. n Note in the margin what action needs to be taken. n Code for filing if the letter needs no reply. Copyright © 2008, 2005, by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Slide 36

Responding to Mail n Read through the annotations. n Draft a reply. n Review Responding to Mail n Read through the annotations. n Draft a reply. n Review the original letter, and make certain that all issues have been addressed. n Allow the physician to review the reply, if necessary. n Make a copy for the appropriate file. n Send the correspondence. Copyright © 2008, 2005, by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Slide 37

Mail Requiring Special Handling n Payment receipts n Insurance information n Drug samples n Mail Requiring Special Handling n Payment receipts n Insurance information n Drug samples n Vacation mail Copyright © 2008, 2005, by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Slide 38

Handling Vacation Mail Determine: n n Is this important enough that the physician should Handling Vacation Mail Determine: n n Is this important enough that the physician should be contacted? Should it be forwarded for immediate attention? Should it be answered now, explaining the delay because the physician is out of the office? Can the mail wait for attention until the physician returns? Copyright © 2008, 2005, by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Slide 39

Outgoing Mail n Fold and insert letters correctly. n Address the envelopes accurately. n Outgoing Mail n Fold and insert letters correctly. n Address the envelopes accurately. n Follow OCR guidelines on envelopes. n Always use a return address. Copyright © 2008, 2005, by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Slide 40

Cost-Saving Mailing Procedures n Use ZIP codes. n Presort mail. n Use correct postage. Cost-Saving Mailing Procedures n Use ZIP codes. n Presort mail. n Use correct postage. n Take advantage of bulk mail if possible. Bulk mail is a form of mailing large volumes of information which is presorted by zip code. Copyright © 2008, 2005, by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Slide 41

Postage Meters n n Most efficient way of stamping mail. Can print postage on Postage Meters n n Most efficient way of stamping mail. Can print postage on adhesive strips or directly on the envelope. Metered mail does not have to be canceled or postmarked, so it moves faster to its destination. Copyright © 2008, 2005, by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Slide 42

Classifications of Mail Express Mail n Available 7 days a week, 365 days a Classifications of Mail Express Mail n Available 7 days a week, 365 days a year n Sunday and holiday delivery between major markets n n For items up to 70 lb and 108 inches in combined length and girth Fastest mail service offered by the USPS Copyright © 2008, 2005, by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Slide 43

Classifications of Mail First-class mail n Letters, postal cards, postcards, and business reply mail. Classifications of Mail First-class mail n Letters, postal cards, postcards, and business reply mail. n 13 oz or less. n Current first-class mail rate is $0. 41. Copyright © 2008, 2005, by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Slide 44

Classifications of Mail Priority Mail n First-class mail over 13 oz. n Maximum weight Classifications of Mail Priority Mail n First-class mail over 13 oz. n Maximum weight 70 lb. n Always mark packages as priority mail if not placed in a box purchased from USPS. Copyright © 2008, 2005, by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Slide 45

Classifications of Mail Bound printed matter n Advertising, promotional, directory, or editorial material n Classifications of Mail Bound printed matter n Advertising, promotional, directory, or editorial material n Must be securely bound n Cannot have the nature of personal correspondence n Cannot be over 15 lb Copyright © 2008, 2005, by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Slide 46

Classifications of Mail Media mail n Books n Film n Manuscripts n Printed music Classifications of Mail Media mail n Books n Film n Manuscripts n Printed music n Printed test materials n Sound recordings n Play scripts n Printed educational charts n Includes computer recorded media, such as CDs and diskettes. Binders and loose-leaf papers Media mail cannot contain advertising or weight over 70 lb. Copyright © 2008, 2005, by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Slide 47

Special Services Insured mail n Insurance for coverage against loss or damages n Available Special Services Insured mail n Insurance for coverage against loss or damages n Available for priority mail, first-class mail, parcel post Copyright © 2008, 2005, by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Slide 48

Special Services Registered/Certified mail n Additional protection for all classes of mail. n Sender Special Services Registered/Certified mail n Additional protection for all classes of mail. n Sender can request evidence/proof of delivery. n Registered mail can be traced. n Accounted for by number from time of mailing to time of delivery. Copyright © 2008, 2005, by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Slide 49

Special Services Postal money orders n Convenient way of mailing money n Amounts up Special Services Postal money orders n Convenient way of mailing money n Amounts up to $700 Copyright © 2008, 2005, by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Slide 50

Special Services Special delivery n Mail of any class can be sent special delivery. Special Services Special delivery n Mail of any class can be sent special delivery. n Does not speed delivery to designated post office. n Does ensure immediate delivery once it arrives at the designated post office. Copyright © 2008, 2005, by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Slide 51

Special Services Special handling n n n Fees in addition to required postage Increases Special Services Special handling n n n Fees in addition to required postage Increases speed of delivery for third- and fourth-class mail Used for unusual items that need special handling, including live animals Copyright © 2008, 2005, by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Slide 52

Special Services Certified mail n n For mail without intrinsic value Items such as Special Services Certified mail n n For mail without intrinsic value Items such as contracts, deeds, mortgages, bank books, checkbooks, etc. Can receive return receipt Does not provide insurance coverage unless purchased separately Copyright © 2008, 2005, by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Slide 53

Special Services Certificate of mailing n Provides proof of mailing. n Obtain form at Special Services Certificate of mailing n Provides proof of mailing. n Obtain form at the post office. n n Clerk postmarks the receipt, initials it, and returns it to the mailer. Serves as acknowledgement of mail arriving at the post office and being mailed. Copyright © 2008, 2005, by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Slide 54

Private Delivery Services n Federal Express n United Parcel Service n Emery n Airborne Private Delivery Services n Federal Express n United Parcel Service n Emery n Airborne Express n DHL Copyright © 2008, 2005, by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Slide 55