It is difficult to deal with patients and dental insurance agencies when it comes to payment of bills on time. At the same time, the dental practice must strike a balance between collecting the dues and maintaining a good name for the practice. A few tips will help guarantee outstanding dental collections, and likewise maintain high ethical standards.
The dental service provider needs to formulate a strong internal credit policy. It is important to have a consensus on the guidelines with all members of the team. The policies should be written, easy to understand and execute. The main aim of the policy is to reinforce the procedure for collecting and reduce the time for payment. There is a need for a financial coordinator to handle the finances and ascertain the status of the patient\’s creditworthiness before any treatment is provided
The preparations for the bills need to be fully automated for timely payments by the patients before they are allowed to leave the facility. This will allow the bills should then be delivered on time. The mode of payment and collection procedure of the monies should be plainly communicated in writing to the patient with a copy of the credit form, while the dentist retains the original. A telephone contact or online address should be given for clarification on unclear issues.
The person to make a follow up on the pending bills must understand the gravity and level of professionalism needed for the delicate task. The task involves telephone follow-ups and its good to take notes as you speak to the patient on the phone. The history and accounts of the patient must be very clear. Ensure the bill is given to the right person for payment. It is important to agree on a specific date and terms of payment. It is important to remind the patient of the consequences of defaulting on the payment.
An authorization request should be sent on time to the insurance company to allow the task to be accomplished on time. This should indicate the amount to be paid by the insurance company. This will assist the patient and dental office to organize and clear the bill before the patient is discharged without any delay. The patient may be motivated to clear the bill in advance by offering a cash discount.
Special payment arrangements should be put in place if the patient is unable to pay the whole amount at once. With such arrangements, you can choose to charge interest for this or not. The payment plan might involve equal monthly deduction, but the overall length of payment should not be prolonged. The contract should be written clearly with the penalties of nonpayment well defined.
Involving your patients in the dental collection management is a good idea. This equips them with the necessary information to handle patients. If the process cannot be handled internally, it is vital to look for established agencies with experience in collections to act on behalf of your dental practice. Though there is a cost of hiring such a service, it eliminates the responsibility of dealing with patients who are difficult and unwilling to pay.
It is important to remember that dental practice is unique because it requires urgent action to be taken to help a patient in pain. It is important to ensure that you do not create an impression among your patients that money is all that matters. This is another reason why it is advisable to hire a financial manager to handle the job for you.
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