The amount your dental practice has in past due accounts receivable can quickly escalate without proper systems in place. It’s not uncommon for busy teams to focus on just getting the billing statements out without considering how they are managing past due accounts. Here are four things to consider as your practice tries to collect on past due balances.
First, if a patient is past due your team needs to do more than just send a billing statement. It’s important to call those patients before sending the statement. If you are lucky enough to talk with the patient, you can often settle the balance right then or establish regular payments.
Second, when statements are sent out, make sure there is a due date. Bills with due dates get paid before those without due dates.
Next, since patients are sometimes confused about the status of insurance claims, add notes to your statements to remind patients that insurance has already paid on the claim. You can also add notes to remind patients their balance is past due.
Finally, it’s important to have a protocol for how to handle patients who do not settle their balance, make consistent payments, or communicate with your practice to make other arrangements. Waiting six months or longer to address delinquent accounts is too long. If you have sent three billing statements without any type of response from the patient, it’s time to discuss additional action with your team, which may include sending a pre-collection letter.
Successfully managing accounts receivable requires more than sending billing statements. By taking additional steps to stay on top of past due accounts, you will improve cash flow and reduce future headaches.