It can be very eye opening to walk into a dental office, print the dental patient balance totals over 60 days and simply show it to a doctor. This is one area of the practice that is simply easy to maintain and control.
Back to the beginning
How does this get out of control in the first place? Take a look at the Dental Patient Revenue Cycle graphic to the right. This is typically what we see in dental practices when we look at the revenue cycle.
How to control & collect payment
- There is no reason to bill dental insurance companies and balance bill dental patients. This is possibly the easiest way to slip into uncontrollable accounts receivable problems. How do you change this? It is simple, ask patients to pay their anticipated patient due portions at the time of treatment.
- When it comes to courtesies the lines typically become a little more blurry as we all know and understand why doctors need to/want to extend courtesies to certain people. To control this area of your accounts receivable is it possible to put yourself on a “courtesy budget” per month. Also, remember, if you are kind enough to extend a courtesy to someone it is not too much to ask/expect their portion of the payment at the time of service. There are lots of legalities around this topic that as a business owner you need to make sure to understand. To read more about this click this link.
- Address the fact that insurance companies at times do not pay what you expect. Potentially meaning there may be a more out of pocket expense. That is what pre-determinations are for. There are tools that to use that will come close and many times have a clear understanding of what they will pay so you know what to collect.
- The tickle down effect of raising healthcare cost, issues with coverage and more out of pocket expense. We always suggest that this be addressed with patients so they simply have the expectation prior to going into some kinds of treatment.
If you can control these factors in your practice you will see that your accounts receivable will likely be more under control. Now, what do we do about those old balances that are sitting out there and need collected?
The answer may seem simple and there are many different approaches. There are many ways to get your accounts receivable under control. Believe it or not there are also ways to make sure it never gets out of control.
- Expect payment prior to being seen
- Make payment arrangements for patients that need to pay off their balances over a selected time period
- Implement a system of calls/letters to work on collection concerns or you can utilize a third party to assist.
Darren Kaberna describes the entire process in the video below.