Dental Accounts Receivable Management & Patient Billing
Dental Accounts Receivable Management is a vital part of your dental practice. You have all put in the efforts on the production side of the practice. It was all for nothing unless payment for services is actually collected. And it actually costs the practice money to provide services and not receive prompt payment.
Few general dental offices collect payment in full at the time of service. For many offices, insurance is billed. And that’s okay. Just be sure to have a strong accounts receivable system in place. If you would like a stronger collections protocol, stay tuned. I’ve got some great tools and tips for you. Accounts receivable management is my specialty. But you’ve got to put a few other tools in your toolbox too!
If you are the person in charge of the accounts receivable in your dental office, you also need some basic understanding of collection laws.
Send Statements Early in The Day
Review & send your patient statements every single day! Gone are the days when you would send statements once a month, or even once a week! I recommend you review your patient statements early in the morning. I mean first thing! Once you have returned any phone messages is the time to do this. And before any new charges or payments are posted.
Hopefully, you have entered all payments from the previous day. You balanced the day before and it is closed. You know everything is correct. And if you do this now, before you make any outgoing confirmation calls, you may not be interrupted. Well, maybe not too much. And maybe your responsibility is just patient billing and accounts receivable. Still, send these statements early in your day.
Electronic or Paper Statements?
Patient statements can even be sent electronically today! Patient statements don’t need stickers & smiley faces or notes on them! But it can take longer for patients to receive a statement. The statements have to go through a clearing house and a process to reach your patient. But it is less expensive than sending yourself. And you don’t have to fold, stuff, and stamp.
Check out these benefits to sending daily patient statements:
- Patient statements go out every day. Payments are also received every day. When the dental office sends out statements once a month, or once a week, the money coming back into the office will also be in bunches.
- Patient billing done every day simplifies life for the person doing the patient billing. There are fewer statements to review. There is not a huge stack every day to review. Only a few statements would be going out every day.
- Patients call the dental office with questions sometimes once they receive a statement. Daily patient billing will keep those phone calls that come into the dental office to a dull roar rather than a tidal wave!
- The billing person is more familiar with patient accounts when patient statements are sent every day. It’s true!
Dental Accounts Receivable Management: How to Send Patient Statements Daily
Every dental practice I worked in sent patient statements monthly. At least until I came on board. One dentist had told me when I was first hired that he didn’t want me to change a thing. He liked the way things were, his patients liked the way things were. And he assured me he was happy quite happy with things at a “status quo”.
He didn’t know what he didn’t know. We were able to talk through the billing process. As a business owner, he had no idea what his accounts receivable even looked like. And he did not know what it would mean to actually print out statements and review accounts once a month. No idea!
This dentist’s previous practice manager worked on Saturdays when the office was closed. She would come into the office to do the patient billing when it was quiet. Saturday was not a day I wanted to spend with patient bills.
The good news was, I could definitely save him money on cost there! I assured him we would also save postage, paper, envelopes, and man hours. And that payments would be coming in much more regularly now. Consistency always brings consistency. It’s a law.
Software Settings and Filters
Still, he was concerned. His big concern was that patients would receive more than one statement a month. He thought the office would be sending the same patient a statement every day or something like that. Again, he didn’t know the computer software system had a filter for this.
Settings and filters in computer software systems allow us to send statements to patients only once in 30 days. No patient should receive a statement more than once in 30 days. Hopefully, they pay it within 30 days, and there is no need for a second. So, be sure that you select the filter to only send statements to each patient once every 30 days.
Make sure when sending statements every day, that you select the filter to only send statements to each patient once every 30 days!
Dental Accounts Receivable Management & Overdue Patient Balances
Dental accounts receivable management includes overdue patient balances. What do we do with these? And what is the best way to stay on top of this? I’ve got you covered! I have personally developed a system that works very well. And it’s so simple, you will wonder why you didn’t think of it yourself.
Weekly management systems tell you when to work patient balances. A specific day for balances over 30 days. And another day for over 60 days. You guessed it! There is even a day for patient balances over 90 days.