Anyone who has worked for a few dentist or doctors’ offices will confirm that no two are alike. As a third party vendor to so many offices (in the same geographic area) we have a unique perspective to see what works, and what doesn’t, when it comes to handling late paying and past due accounts.
Here are a few tips that work:
- Institute a No-Blank-Spaces policy when it comes to the patient information forms. A lack of information is ultimately the most common reason for an account not getting paid. Remember that no way to contact means no way to bill!
- Address Information Requested is commonly seen on mail of all sorts. Do you know what this means, or perhaps more importantly, are you using it? The stamp indicates to the Post Office that in the event the mail is returned undeliverable or forwarded, you would like to know the current forwarding address. The new address should immediately replace the old in your system as the notices come in from the mail. The typical cost for this service is about $1.00 and is billed by the postman. Just like in the old days!
- Updating Patient Information can be done in more creative ways than just asking if anything has changed. One of our West Seneca, NY dentist clients has a program that gives their patients incentive to give them current and correct information every visit! They text their patients reminders for upcoming appointments, and offer a 5% discount on services for the program enrollment. It’s a win/win, the patients get an efficient way to receive reminders and get the discount, while you get to reduce the no-show rate and improve your chances of getting current up-to-date contact information.
- Setting a Deadline to place accounts in collections. The biggest killer of recovery rates is time. According to the ACA, an account becomes 1.5% less likely to pay everyday past your 60 day bucket. Our clients who pick a day, say day 90 or 120, and send the account on that day have a considerably higher chance of recovering the money. Stock piling accounts and turning them over every couple of months may seem easier, but trust me its inefficient in the long run. A good collection agency should be seen as an extension of your internal efforts and when used properly, can save your practice huge money. So stop hoarding accounts and get them turned over!
Bottom Line – Our clients who put the time into implementing procedures that automate processes or reduce potential future AR problems, always have better recovery rates.