Have you ever felt as if you were working really hard with a productive schedule yet cash was still tight? There are several situations that can cause this, one of which is not collecting at the same level that you produce.
If collections consistently lag behind production, after you take into account adjustments, then you will normally see your total accounts receivable increasing. For example, if your monthly production after adjustments consistently averages $100,000, yet your collections consistently average $90,000, your accounts receivable is therefore growing by $10,000 per month. The longer money goes uncollected, the less likely you are to ever see it.
That is why it is so important to get paid for as much as you can at the time of service. If you offer flexible payment plans, make sure the terms are very clear ahead of time for patients and that your team monitors those accounts closely.
If you are billing dental insurance, make sure your team follows up on outstanding claims regularly. This means setting aside time twice per month to print a new list of outstanding claims and following up on every claim older than 30 days. It also means thinking ahead regarding what typically holds up claims, such as missing x-rays or narratives, and making sure all claims are initially submitted with the necessary documentation.
Finally, you will benefit from a proactive system for resolving balances that are 60 days or more past due. Often dental teams lack a protocol and delinquent patients keep getting bills month after month. Consider having your dental team contact every patient with a delinquent account of 60 days or more—this assumes insurance has already paid. Also, decide at what point you will either turn patient to collections or write off the balance, freeing your team to concentrate on collectable accounts.
Since you provide such great services to your dental patients, you deserve to get paid. By strengthening your systems up front, you will help ensure that, on average, adjusted production and collections mirror each other.