In or out of network, one of the biggest issues is the fact that patients seem to not want to pay on or before the day of treatment. We (Collectively – over time) have taught our patients that it is OK to wait until the insurance pays and then the office will bill them.
This is no longer a viable option – A/R gets crazy out of hand and patients do not want to pay the balance until they come in next time – and that could be 6 months down the road!
Stop! Stop the madness! Start moving your patients back to collecting on or before treatment. This is vital if you are out of network or are going out of network, and if you are in network, that copay and/or deductible needs to get collected!
The first thing that needs to change is YOUR mindset. Where else can you go and receive service and not pay? Not the grocery store, not the hair salon and not the gas station. The office needs to stop thinking it is ok to let a patient leave without paying. (Of course there are exceptions, but this should never be the rule). Think of it this way – if your Doctor told you that each dollar that was not collected when due was going to be held out of your check until the patient paid it, would that be ok? NO! And you would not let the patient leave without paying either! So don’t make your Doctor wait.
The second thing is how you address it with the patient. If presenting a treatment plan, let them know that the amount you will be collecting will be due when they come in for the service (or when you schedule the reservation). When they come in, let the patient know right away the amount that is to be collected and ask how they would like to take care of that. If a patient calls to schedule an appointment and they have a balance, let them know you need to collect that to make the new reservation.
Let patients know that this is your new protocol – please do not say policy!! Put it off on the accountant – Our accountant is requiring that all copays and deductibles are paid at the time of treatment – or the insurance – your insurance is becoming more strict and requires that we collect at time of service.
Lastly, just remember to treat the patient the way YOU would want to be treated. Be kind, smile, provide the benefit to them, but be firm. Your office is providing a service and deserves to be paid for the service provided.
If your office needs help putting a collection protocol in place, Dental Concierge Coach can help. Contact us for more information on coaching and innovative team training.