One of the best ways to manage accounts receivable is to make sure you collect as much as possible at the time of dental service. This sounds like common sense advice. What then stands in the way of this fundamental task?
When your dental front office team presents financial estimates for treatment, your patients may have different ideas about paying that balance than you do. Too many times the method of payment is not discussed until after treatment is rendered, when the patient stands at the front and announces his intention to pay $50 per month toward a $1,000 balance.
Another difficult situation emerges if the patient decides to apply for third-party financing after dental treatment has been rendered, and then the patient is denied. What do you do then?
Both situations are avoidable if you discuss the various methods of payment you offer at the same time you discuss estimated costs. You want to guide patients to commit to the appropriate method of payment before they schedule for treatment. You then have the opportunity to clear up misconceptions, for example, about paying $50 per month toward a large balance, and you can talk with patients if their third-party financing application is denied. It’s much more effective to have these financial discussions before dental treatment is offered.
Never assume that just because patients seem okay with the out-of-pocket estimate and schedule for treatment that they will pay with an appropriate method. Misunderstandings not only clog up your accounts receivable, they also damage your relationship with patients. Clear communication is always important. Make sure your dental team always discussing the method of payment before scheduling patients for treatment.
Learn more about how our dental practice consulting can help you implement effective accounts receivable systems.