Is Your Office Struggling with Collections
By Natalie Lucken, Account Manager
Recently, my team and I ran into a familiar question: Why are patient Accounts Receivable totals rising so fast every month? We love to help dental offices get back on track at eAssist, so here’s how we think about this:
- The first thing we look at is their fee schedules attached to the contracted insurance plans. Are they the most current versions? These can change more than once per year, and individual group plans may change at any time.
- Is the office reminding patients to stop and check out at the front desk, or do they let patients wave and run out the door after an appointment? It is important to have the staff remind patients that, even if they have insurance, there will be a co-pay amount to be billed once the insurance has paid their portion. This builds an expectation in the patient’s mind that they should be receiving a statement from the office.
- Coverage amounts never keep up with rising costs, so collecting some kind of payment from patients on the day of service is imperative! In order to build trust and confidence in your practice, clear expectations need to be laid out from the first visit, and once a service has been performed, people should understand they have incurred some debt in the process.
Are you setting good collections expectations? Often, the practice owner wants to “be nice” and chooses billing insurances first, allowing statements only after the insurance payment is received. This can prove risky, considering lost time, and patients who assume their bill was satisfied by insurance, since they “never got any statements/calls/letters” after several months.