Decrease Your Need for a Dental Collection Agency in Four EASY Steps
A good dental collection agency cares about more than just collecting debts. It cares about your patients, and treating them the way you would want them treated. It doesn’t disrespect your patients – that likely creates only short term gains but adds many long term pains. The price for that short term increase in payments might be a long list of lost clients. (Mad customers not only don’t pay, they are also less likely to return to your dental clinic). Your dental collections partner will inevitably get to know your patients fairly well over time, and it doesn’t do your practice any good whatsoever to have late-paying patients say to themselves, “Oh, it’s you…” when they pick up the phone to speak to a collections representative.
A Dental collection agency worthy of your partnership NEVER wants to be that dreaded you – that bad guy that everyone fears and hates. A good dental collection agency should help its client (you, the dental clinic) help its patients. One of the best ways of doing this is decreasing the odds of a patient having delinquent payments from the start.
Here are four tips for limiting the amount of accounts you’ll need to send to your dental collections partner:
Collect Co-Payment at Time of Service
Instead of waiting on the deductibles and co-payment, collect the patient payment (the co-pay) at the time of service. Requiring payment on the spot prevents the patient from being able to delay payment which can lead to all sorts of problems for you down the road. When patients make appointments, be sure to have your receptionist remind them co-payment is due at the time of service. This greatly increases the level of understanding of patient expectations which is to your benefit.
Ensure Correct Demographic Information
Many unpaid bills remain unpaid due to an incorrect address. Verifying at each visit that the patient’s address, phone number, and insurance are all up-to-date will ensure the bill arrives to the correct respondent and greatly increases the odds of getting paid. When a patient checks-in for their appointment, have your receptionist verify the information and make copies of the insurance card.
Encourage Patients to Visit the Dentist Frequently
Most dental hygienists recommend having teeth professionally cleaned every six months. By a patient having their teeth checked frequently, you, the dentist, are able to save the patient money by ensuring preventative care. Spotting a potential cavity and explaining to the patient how to prevent it becoming a full cavity, and hence having to pay for a filling, you save the patient money for something that could cost them a lot out of pocket…. A pocket that might be empty, which in turn saves you from having a delayed payment and the need to send the account to a dental collection agency.
Talk (and Listen) to Your Patients
If a patient is willing to pay, but is short on funds, there is no reason to let their account be sent to collections, or have the patient suffer in pain while they wait for the money to pay for the dental procedure. Should a patient voice a concern such as, “gee, I’m running low on cash right now. I’ll put off that root canal a couple months till I can save money,” work with them to find an agreeable payment plan that will satisfy both parties. A simple favor can go a long way in maintaining patient relationships. A patient knowing you’re understanding will be more likely to pay you first should they fall upon hard times again – a thank you for your kindness.
YOUR TURN: Have these tips helped decrease your dental collection needs? Have you found your own way to decrease dental collection needs? We’d love to hear what works for you!