As you strive to be a dental practice where the patients’ well-being comes first, you might lose track of what’s going on in the front of the office where appointments are made – and most importantly – where the billing is handled.
If you’re not getting paid for your work, you’re not able to pay your staff and reinvest in your practice. Sometimes, the issue can be addressed simply by educating your patients on what’s expected of them when it comes to paying for services. Debt collection services can also be brought into the mix for a more positive outcome.
The best prevention to having delinquent accounts is to put provisions in place that deter late payment. If the patient doesn’t understand what’s expected of them, they can’t be held at fault for not paying “on time.” Prompt billing is a requirement. The patient should come out of your practice knowing exactly how much is owed and they should be asked, politely, how they would like to pay for that day’s service.
In many cases, the patient will have insurance and a predetermined co-pay, which should be paid up front. Due to insurance practices, the total amount after insurance is factored in won’t be known until a later date. However, a bill informing the patient of their out-of-pocket expense should be sent out as soon as the amount is determined.
Rewarding early paying customers is also a good incentive to keep accounts payed on time. Setting up a payment plan sets a clear understanding of what will be due and when. Should the patient pay it off sooner, offer a reward.
Unfortunately, many patients don’t understand their insurance plans. The office staff at dentist’s offices are often the middlemen who have to become on-the-spot interpreters for the patient. Instead of allowing a patient to hold off on payment because they’re disputing their insurance coverage, make sure to explain up front what their deductibles, premiums and other aspects of their policy will mean when it comes time to make a payment.
Another unfortunate situation that affects the dental practice and the patient is the cost-cutting decisions patients make when they sign up for their insurance plans. They’ll choose the least expensive one, which means there are high deductibles and high co-pays, which means their out-of-pocket costs go way up. This, of course, leads to non-payment. Now your practice has to make some difficult decisions – do you chase down this debt on your own or do you bring in a third party to settle these unpaid accounts?
It’s not a decision to be taken lightly. Partnering with a debt collection service can be intimidating because you’re afraid of what your patients will think of your practice when you bring professional debt collectors into the mix. However, when you choose a reputable firm, you’re going to see a positive return on investment as well as secure reputation with the public.
Omega-RMS is a debt collection company that also handles accounts receivables and early intercept recovery services. Instead of putting your staff through the debt collection process, which they’re likely not remotely trained to handle with any type of consistency, partner with professionals who will respect your clients while increasing your cash flow.