3 Characteristics of a First-Class Dental Debt Collection Partner!
We’ve talked a lot in our blog about strategies and tips for improving your in-house collection efforts and how to enhance your patient billing and payment processes. But what about when you simply cannot manage your accounts receivable on your own any longer and you need a hand? After all, your expertise is in providing superior dental care. There are plenty of collection agencies whose expertise is in dental debt collection.
But how do you know which agency is right for your dental practice and what specific traits should you look for in a potential collections partner? To help answer these questions, here are three characteristics of a dental debt collection agency that will deliver results and minimize your bad debt – all while keeping your patients happy and coming back.
Characteristic #1: Strong Compliance Management
In recent years the healthcare collections environment has undergone some major transformations. Overall, the shift has placed new emphasis on providing a positive patient experience and maintaining patient satisfaction during the bill pay process. With increased oversight from federal regulators like the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), dental offices need to partner with a collection agency they can trust and that offers a robust compliance management program. Make sure you find a collection agency that is well versed on all industry regulations and complies with key collection laws like the FDCPA and HIPPA. Some other good questions to ask a potential collections partner are:
- Are all of your collector’s calls recorded?
- Are you licensed and bonded in all states where it is required?
- What continuing education and training do you require of your collections staff?
- How do you minimize patient complaints and compliance violations?
By getting the answers to these questions you will feel confident that your partner in dental collections will treat your valued patients with respect and in a manner that focuses on patient satisfaction and retention.
Characteristic #2: Advanced Technology & Analytics
Technology has completely revolutionized not only how collections are performed, but how the business relationship between the healthcare facility and collection agency is maintained as well. For example, a good dental debt collection agency will be able to offer advanced skip tracing efforts to find those “missing” patients and will also provide your dental practice with convenient online tools and reporting capabilities. Services like these allow you to constantly have a clear understanding of your collection partner’s work effort and performance and will give you a clear picture of the status of your debts (number of letters mailed, number of calls made, etc.).
Having a strong foundation in analytics is another key trait of any successful dental collection agency. Why? Because by analyzing the data and segmenting patient debt by collectability, the agency will be well positioned to maximize your recovery rates and determine most appropriate collection strategies for your debt portfolio. Put simply, analytics are the key to working smarter.
Characteristic #3: Superior Collections Staff
An agency can have all the right tools (technology, analytics, compliance management processes etc.) but they’re useless if they aren’t in the right hands. When it comes down to it, debt collection is a people business. The collectors you hire will effectively be becoming apart of your staff and will be representing your dental practice. So make sure you know who you’re actually hiring! Some questions to ask that will give you a better idea for an agency’s collection staff are:
- What is your collector hiring process?
- Do you require prior experience?
- How are collectors incentivized? Are they paid strictly based on collection results or are they rewarded for providing a positive patient experience as well?
These are just a few questions you can ask to help gain a clearer picture of the collectors that will be working for you and who will be interacting with your patients.
YOUR TURN: What else do you look for in a dental collections partner? Do you also value things like transparency? Reporting capabilities? Data security? We’d love to know! Let us know in the comments!
No Legal Advice Intended: This communication is for informational purposes only and is not intended, and should not be taken, as legal advice on any particular set of facts or circumstances. This communication does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and I.C. System, Inc. You should contact an attorney for advice on specific legal issues.