A dental practice’s ability to generate cash flow is inextricably tied to its collections. Collections include payments for services rendered, overdue balances, fees, and taxes owed by patients. Therefore, all dental practices must take steps to maximize their collection rates, even if the methods used by different dental practices to collect payments vary greatly.
Strategies To Optimize Dental Practice Collections
Dental practices can improve their collection rates by embracing new payment technologies, following up with the dental claims process, creating a strong payment policy, and verifying patient insurance information. In addition, you should use the following strategies to optimize your dental practice collections.
Customize payment options for patients
There are many ways to customize the payment options for your patients. Here are some points to consider:
- Offer flexible payment plans. Patients may not be able to pay their entire dental bill at once, but they might be able to work with you on a monthly or installment payment plan. You can also offer discounted rates for cash payments and full-pay upfront payments.
- Consider offering discounts for cash payments over time instead of receiving an entire cheque at once. This way, your practice doesn’t have any extra expenses associated with handling large sums of money each month, and it gives patients access to their funds faster than waiting until the end of their billing cycle so they can make all payments in one lump sum. Also, offer discounts based on income level; if someone has low income but high dental bills because they need expensive crowns/bridge work done, try offering them cheaper services such as tooth whitening.
Embrace the new technologies
As a dental practice owner, you may know many ways to optimize your collections. However, some less obvious ways can help improve your bottom line. Here are some of the most effective tactics for improving collection efficiency:
- Use electronic collection methods such as automated phone calls and text messages to let patients know they need to pay their bills. This can help reduce lost payments and increase revenue in the long run.
- Develop an online patient portal where patients can easily view their treatment history and payment information instead of visiting the office whenever they have questions about payments or insurance claims (which could lead them back into debt). The portal also allows you access reports on all past-due accounts, so you know exactly how much money needs to be transferred from each patient’s account before proceeding with treatment plans such as crowns/ bridges, etc.
Train your team
A well-trained team is essential when it comes to enhancing profitability and lowering A/R. They help patients comprehend your payment policies, fees, and financial constraints. In comparison to a “mandate” from your clinic, patients who understand their choices feel more confident and dedicated to following through on their commitments. Ensure that your staff understands your payment policies and how to discuss them with patients. They should feel at ease and competent discussing payment options, alternative financing, and steps to be taken for past-due accounts.
Offer Discounts for upfront payments
Offering discounts for payment in full before or at the time of service is one of the simplest ways to boost your A/R status. Considering the savings in administrative costs vs. chasing down payments later, you can still come out positive overall and build patient loyalty. A charge adjustment of 3-6% is a good starting point.
Follow up with the dental claim process.
Many dental practice owners and managers make critical collection errors as they neglect to follow up on the claim process. Collecting on sums owed you becomes a losing proposition unless you continuously follow up with the insurance provider and the patient. Follow-up with the dental claim process is vital. Verify insurance eligibility before treatment, make billing part of your routine, and customize patient payment options. Use new technology to track and collect payments so you can get paid faster!
Consider using a third-party service.
Collections are time-consuming and labor-intensive. It takes a lot of time that you could be using to treat patients, promote your firm, establish a loyal client base, or do other things that will help your bottom line. On the other hand, a professional third-party revenue cycle management firm has the skills and tools needed to handle collections efficiently. They perform what they do well and allow you to spend time with patients.
Create a policy and stick to it
There are several reasons why you should have a payment policy in place. The first is that it will help you clearly communicate to patients their responsibilities and how much they owe before services are rendered. This can help prevent confusion and disputes with other patients trying to collect from your practice.
It’s also essential for dentists to have a system for collecting payments from patients so that they stay caught up on bills. Having this process in place means you’ll never get stuck paying late fees or having trouble collecting from patients who aren’t paying what they owe either!
Verify insurance eligibility before treatment
The first step to optimizing dental practice collections is verifying insurance eligibility before treatment. This will help you save time and avoid patient confusion, which is crucial when collecting money from patients. Verifying the patient’s insurance coverage can be accomplished in a variety of ways, including directly asking them, reviewing their medical or billing office records to see whether they match up with what they told us during our initial consultation, or simply calling the provider directly and asking them how much coverage they offer.
Make billing part of your routine.
Have the right tools to do the job. Keep track of your billing process and ensure you are keeping up with technology and getting familiar with dental billing software. If you want an extra boost in efficiency, try using a mobile app that will help you get paid faster by allowing patients to pay online directly from their phone screens. Go through each patient’s insurance plan and ensure you are billing correctly. This may mean going through the process of getting credentialed by a new insurance company (which can take months to years). It will be fruitful in the long run, as being credentialed allows you to bill for previously denied services due to improper coding.
We hope you found this blog post helpful. We know many other ways to improve your practice’s collection rates, so please contact us with any questions or concerns about collecting patient payments. We’re happy to help and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our team has worked with dentists and helped them reach their full potential.