Some challenges you face in your dental practice are occasional, not earth-shaking. Others are ongoing and perhaps more jolting, such as how to improve your dental practice billing, payments and collections process.
It’s no surprise. Statistics confirm the struggle and its impact on your dental practice or DSO revenue stream.
“Bill collecting has never been easy. According to the United States Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, 52 percent of collection services originate from unpaid medical bills. About 43 million people have outstanding medical bills… Studies show that the chance of collecting from a patient drops almost 20 percent as soon as the patient leaves the office.”
Reality being what it is, there are strategies you can implement or refine now that will help you improve your billing, payments and collections process.
Five opportunities to refine and improve your dental practice billing, payment and collections strategy
1-Stay a step ahead
The more advanced information you have on your patient, the better. This includes getting thorough and accurate information relative to their dental insurance coverage and policy details.
The optimum timing is…when they schedule their first or next appointment. This would include verifying that their benefits have not changed — as in new employment, changing providers, in-network changes, etc.
Get clarity on the fundamentals and work forward from there.
- Annual coverage maximums or limitations based on treatment frequency, etc.?
- Procedures that are not covered?
2-Be transparent about fees
Patients expect transparency about payment and fee expectations. You can avoid tension and payment delays with full disclosure on their out-of-pocket portion and any related extras they can expect to be charged.
- Outline all cost estimates in your treatment plans.
- Anticipate questions and be prepared to clarify your payment policies.
- Provide payment options to help your patients with high-cost treatment and to encourage more manageable payment consistency.
- Give patients an option for making up-front payments when they have a low fee for services, such as $200 or less.
3-Highlight your payment solutions
This aligns with the previously mentioned fee transparency. Communicate cash, debit and credit card payment options up front.
Patients are accustomed to those options. And the outcomes are in your favor too.
- Patients are more likely to pay the day of.
- Payments and fees are received when treatment is provided.
- Billing and collections conversations are not required.
4-File insurance claims each day
Consistency pays. And you can streamline your insurance workflows by using available automation and claims monitoring via dedicated software.
- Flag claims with incomplete or missing data so corrections can be made prior to forwarding.
- Monitor the status of claims made and reduce follow-up time.
5-Refine your collections and follow-up communication
Past due accounts require a blend of firmness and graciousness. Striking that balance can be challenging as you communicate with patients.
- Evaluate the tone and clarity of your patient communication about overdue payments.
- Confirm each patient’s communication preference, such as phone, email, text, mail, etc. This helps ensure that payment notifications are getting through.
- Communicate about overdue financials with consistency and use a compelling, engaging message until their account is paid in full.
Challenges around dental patient financials can be met and overcome. Invest the time to refine your process and utilize data analytics tools to streamline your billing, payment and collections process.
The following resources can provide relevant insight on your dental practice financial systems:
Refine and upgrade your billing, payment and collections process using a proven and trusted data analytics platform
The Jarvis Analytics platform helps ensure that you’re tracking the important metrics and staying on track with your goals as your dental practice or DSO grows and expands.
Experience Jarvis in action. Request a demo today!
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