By Lisa Philp, RDH, President of Transitions Group North America
Dental practice financial sustainability is inevitably dependent on how much money is deposited in the bank via Collections. If collections have decreased as a percent of production, then cash flow suffers. This means there is an immediate need for change in how and when you collect. What can be changed?
- Designated Financial Coordinator
If everyone is responsible for collections, then no one is accountable. Assign, hire or train a key designated administrative team member to be accountable for operational collections of financial arrangements, insurance claims, accounts receivable, statements and making goals for progress in the project to collect old debt.
- Collect over the Counter TODAY.
For true fee for service practices, you already do this and probably are collecting what you produce. For semi fee for service or assignment practices, it is possible to begin NOW and start collecting over the counter at the patient’s check out for deductibles, co- pays, outstanding family balances and deposits on future work with written arrangements.
- Collect outstanding PATIENT Debt
Old debt is sitting on your books waiting to be asked to collect with results of immediate deposits. Run a computer AR aging list by name, time frame and amount and plan a sequence to collect the largest amount of $ owing, longest time frame over 120 days and make contact, verbally requesting immediate payment of at least a portion of the balance. Then follow up with a three-step contact follow-through system to collect the balance. Send statements regularly using the patients preferred method of communication with brightly colored due date stamps
- Collect outstanding INSURANCE claim Debt
For assignment practices, address all outstanding money owed to you via claims based on the outstanding insurance portion of accounts receivable report. Confirm that all claims have been accepted, processed, sent out and have secondary information completed.
- Partner with a third-party financing company
Partner with a third-party financing company and present their options to patients with outstanding dentistry or new treatment plans. The increase in case acceptance by making dental treatment affordable is a tried and true method to increase collections. Leading companies like Care Credit in the USA and HealthSmart in Canada provide creative ways for patients to pay and immediate payment of funds to the practice.