The most effective way to keep your outstanding accounts receivables under control is to get your dental patients to pay at the time of service. Seems simply enough. Yet if you want patients to pay at the time of service, your front and clinical teams must work together.
Too many times your front and clinical teams have different definitions of when patients are finished with their appointments. Clinical team members are sometimes too fast to discuss patients who are finished with treatment and who already have their next appointment scheduled. Sometimes, however, these patients owe money, which is hard to collect when patients are escorted past the front desk and to the door by assistants or hygienists.
It’s normal for the clinical team to frame an appointment by what occurs chair-side. When chair-side tasks are finished, the appointment seems finished. This disconnect is easily remedied by always taking the patient to the front and having the front team discuss the patient. Then opportunities to collect at the time of service are never missed.
Another important step to ensure payment is made at the time of service is to always provide an estimate for treatment costs. Front teams need to hold themselves accountable for this no matter if it’s one filling or comprehensive treatment. But once again, they also need help.
Too many times the front office looks like a congested freeway. And when patients have to wait, the opportunity to schedule treatment and have time to review cost estimates diminishes significantly with each passing minute.
One of the easiest ways to minimize wait time is to schedule whatever possible in the back. In addition, when treatment plans are accurately entered and sequenced by the clinical team, the front team can quickly produce cost estimates.
Collecting at the time of service is best seen as a coordinated effort. If your over-the-counter collections are coming up short, consider how you and your team can fine-tune your teamwork.