Dental office collection letters should never be a substitute for collection calls. In fact, the two go hand in hand. And, although it can be difficult to reach patients by phone, it’s still important to try. And I always will begin to try to reach a patient with an overdue balance at the over 30- day mark. However, I will have already initially called a patient with an unexpected balance immediately. Once I am made aware there is a balance the patient is responsible for, I inform the patient by phone right then and there.
Dental Office Collection Letters at 30 Days
Hopefully, I reach my patient with an overdue balance by phone at 30 days. But even if I do, patients don’t always send the payment promised. They forget, or just don’t follow through. So, I will send my initial collection letter if I am unable to reach a patient by phone with an over 30-day balance. And I will also send a letter if a promised payment hasn’t come by the due date.
Implement a Series of 3 Letters
A series of 3 letters is sent. But each of these letters also has an accompanying phone outreach. It’s important to keep trying to reach by phone. And I don’t feel badly if a patient receives a letter and I have already spoken with them by phone. Honestly, I think it’s a great idea for the patient to see that I am serious about making sure that payment is received as soon as possible.
Collection Letter 1 - Over 30 Days
The first letter will always be a gentle reminder. We really want to always assume the best. And that our patient means well. So, be sure to keep the first collection letter short and sweet.
Here’s an example of what I would send:
Dear Mr. Patient,
We have not heard from you regarding your balance of $ .
A statement was mailed to your address on _____________________.
A second statement is attached to your letter today.
Please feel free to contact April with any questions or to make your payment.
Our office number is 888-8888.
When still no payment has been received over 60 days, a second letter is sent. This will also be the case if a patient has promised payment, but we did not receive said payment.
This second letter is a little firmer than the first letter. The other thing that I like to do is have the dentist sign collection letters personally. This does a couple of things. It keeps the dentist in the loop of who owes money and how much. And it does tend to get the patient’s attention a little more!
Letter 2 Example:
Dear Mr. Patient,
I have been informed that there is still an outstanding balance on your account of $_________ that is now 60 days overdue.
If you have already sent payment in, please disregard this letter.
Otherwise, we would like to hear from you today, please.
I would like to help you keep your account in good standing with us.
Please contact April today at 888-8888.
Final Dental Office Collection Letters
Collection Letter #3 – Over 90 Days
By the time we hit the over 90-day mark, there is a serious problem. And unfortunately, we are looking at the possibility that this particular account could be turned over to a collection agency. Or whatever final collection system your office uses. One other little trick that I also like to use includes the envelope. I want the mailing envelope to get the patient’s attention!
Try using different envelopes for each letter. With the first letter, over 30 days, use an office envelope. Whatever you would normally send your patients’ letters out in, use it! But with the second and third letters, try using something else. With the second letter, maybe a billing envelope of some type. And with the third, maybe just a plain envelope. Or a different color envelope to pique their curiosity.
90-Day Letter Example
Dear Mr. Patient,
Please accept this letter as final and official notification that payment must be received in full in our office by (15 days from now) _______________________ to avoid further collection activity.
There is still time for us to resolve this. Please call April today at 888-8888.
Further collection activity will begin on __________________ (16 days from now), which may include third party collection agencies or small claims court.