“No problem, Tom. I’m sure Erin my financial coordinator can work up a little arrangement for you to pay – oh say, $50 per month?”
“Uhhh, how ‘bout $25, Doc?”
“Well, yeah sure. We’ll take care of you, Tom, you’re just like family.”
New dentists can find themselves in the awkward position of financial negotiations with patients, particularly when it comes to family and close friends. And that can put practice finances into jeopardy in no time. With so many things on the new dentist’s plate, it can be easy to forget that profitability and collections are the Siamese twins of dentistry. One doesn’t go anywhere without the other.
It’s essential that when it comes to financial plans and promises, new dentists assign this duty to a trained financial coordinator and establish a financial policy that they are comfortable with. Generally, offering patients a few payment options is most desirable rather than a laundry list of payment plans to choose from.
Most importantly, do not get into the habit of extending credit to patients. This will be very difficult to break as your practice grows. Rather, partner with a patient financing company, such as CareCredit.
Consider offering a slight adjustment in the fees for more costly procedures paid in full that are not covered by insurance, such as a 5% adjustment for procedures over $500 paid in full.
Require insured patients to pay a portion of their payment responsibility when services are rendered.
Do not accept post-dated checks.
Give patients the opportunity to pay in full within 30 days before assessing a financing charge on the account.
Sign up for an electronic billing service. And file all insurance claims electronically.
Interested in additional resources to help you manage the financials of your dental practice? Click Here.