The Experts Weigh In on Accounts Receivable
Is your patient collections process working? Do you know the status of your practice’s financial health? Most dentists when asked this question, can’t really offer a definitive answer based on cold, hard data.
All dentists know that patient collections and cash flow are critical to a practice’s ability to build wealth and grow. However, if there aren’t systems in place to help your team collect payment when it’s due, that can pose a big risk to your financial success.
To find out more about improving patient collections at dental practices, I spoke to three experts in the industry. Below are the top five accounts receivable best practices based on their firsthand insights.
Accounts Receivable Best Practices
1) Train your team on the ins and outs of patient collections
Team training has a direct correlation to positive patient experiences and overall practice success. As a matter of fact, when your team understands how collections affect a practice’s livelihood, they’re more likely to help patients understand their financial responsibility.
One of the best ways to train your team on the ins and outs of working in a dental practice is to watch live seminars and online courses hosted by Front Office Rocks Founder Laura Nelson. Her presentations have led dental practices to unprecedented financial growth.
She says you have to “make sure the whole front office team is aware of your financial guidelines and payment solutions.” To do this, you have to outline payment options, discuss outside financing options, and explain what needs to be done if the account is past due.
2) Collect copays and deductibles upfront
Part of training your team on patient collections is teaching them the importance of collecting copayments and deductibles upfront. To add to that, it should be a known policy at your practice so there’s no confusion.
You should have this policy noted on your website, patient documents and waivers, as well as reinstating it when patients call to schedule an appointment. This is a surefire way to make sure your practice receives payment from every patient the day they come in (and not 2 months later).
Laura said she often recommends Front Desk DDS to dental practices that need complete front desk support. “They provide advanced call center solutions to dentists such as handling phones, billing, and insurance,” she says.
3) Offer payment options to patients
It helps to be accommodating, then not! Remember that. These days, you can accept online payments which patients can complete using a smartphone. You should also accept all well-known credit cards and virtual checks.
In addition to that, Dental Whale Practice Management Focus Area Leader Dr. Steven Wingfield says “it helps to offer flexible financing options.” He also notes “you can also go the extra mile by presenting customized payment solutions to help meet a patient’s specific needs.
To add to that, “automated payments are a safe and secure option which also benefits the practice after insurance adjudication to collect on balances owed,” he explains. The point is to offer affordable and transparent payment options that simplify a patient’s finances, while improving your bottom line.
4) Reconcile your accounts receivables aging
Did you know once an account ages beyond 90 days, you lose 7 percent of the value of that balance every month and the chances of you getting paid decrease by 50 percent? Truth is, if you produce more than you collect month over month, then your cash flow will suffer.
Breakaway Consulting Leader Briney Gunshore has helped hundreds of dental practices increase production and recoup losses throughout her career. She says, “80% of your receivables should fall within the 0 to 30 days range.”
As a rule of thumb, accounts that are more than 90 days overdue should equate to less than 5 percent of your total accounts receivable. More importantly, make sure your front office team follows through with collecting payment the day service has been rendered.
5) Track patient collections using a dental software
The most successful dentists actively track performance and measure results. In order to do this, they use dental softwares like Eaglesoft or Dentrix to monitor collections and benchmark performance.
Not only does tracking patient collections offer critical insights into the health of your practice, it helps you develop strategies to improve your bottom line. To add to that, Briney keenly points out, “With electronic claims there really isn’t a reason for claims to age over 30 days.”
However, worth noting are a few outlier claims that require resubmission, which are the only exceptions to claims aging over a month.
How to Improve Patient Collections
Do you want to know your financial strengths and weaknesses so that you can improve patient collections at your dental practice?
Well, to find out where your practice stands among its competitors, simply take a no-cost practice health assessment. Typically, it costs $500 or more, but right now Breakaway Consulting is offering it to dentists on the house to help them strengthen their competitive advantage.
Follow these steps:
- Click the button below that says “Get Your Evaluation.”
- Fill out the form with the information requested.
- Once complete, click “Submit.”
- A specialist from Breakaway Consulting will call to share your results and explain what they mean.
To learn how you can unveil hidden opportunities to build wealth and grow your practice, visit www.breakwayconsulting.com.