Flagging overdue dental accounts is so helpful! Especially if you catch overdue accounts at 30 days. And you can easily do this! Just follow along with my Weekly Management Systems. And you’ve got it! Because I monitor all overdue patient balances at 30 days. And even the outstanding insurance claims at 30 days!
Which Accounts Over 30 Days Do We Flag?
All outstanding balances over 30 days get a flag! But not until after a phone call is made. And that includes both patient balances and outstanding insurance claims over 30 days. (We just want to be sure to remove the flag once the account is paid). Just be sure to reach out to patients and insurance companies first.
Always ask a patient for payment while on the phone. Many times we first reach a patient’s voicemail. And there’s no way to ask for payment at that time. The best we can do then is to ask our patient to call the office. But if we do reach our patient, we ask for payment that day. If no payment is made on the day of the call, flag the account. This way we know the patient has an overdue balance for future reference.
Even with overdue insurance claims, we flag an account. This is again set after calling the insurance company. It might be that the insurance company denied the claim. If that’s the case, call the patient first. Try to reach the patient immediately and get the balance resolved. If you need to resubmit to a different insurance, it’s no longer over 30. I guess technically it is. But we are not going to flag it or count it as over 30 for purposes of a flag.
Flagging Overdue Dental Accounts Alerts Everyone
Hopefully, when we leave a message for our patients, we receive a return call! And the sooner the better… right? But it’s so easy to forget who we called and why! Especially in our every day hustle and bustle. So, when our patient calls, we want a quick reminder when we pull up their account. A flag on your patient’s account will do just that! Alert you as to why you made the call in the first place!
We avoid schedule mishaps with a flag too! As we truly want to avoid a patient on the schedule with an overdue balance! So it’s also a great idea to make notes on an appointment that a patient has an overdue balance. This way you can discuss any overdue patient balances at the time of confirmation. Or you might even want to reschedule your patient. Of course, it all depends on the situation.
Outstanding insurance over 30 days get a flag as well. This will do a couple of things for you. It will stand out that you made a call on this account to insurance. And to check the guarantor notes on the account. Or to look at notes wherever you place them regarding overdue balances.
Pop-Ups & What To Say
Pop-up flags are the best! Use something that will jump out at you. But even these pop-up flags can be ignored. Once we get used to something, we can easily not see it anymore. So be sure that you don’t over use flags in the office. Pick where you will use them as a team and how. We also want to be discuss where we want our flags to open for us. Do we want them on the patient’s chart, the schedule, when we make an appointment, etc..
I want them everywhere with a balance. But you may not. I really want anyone who looks at a patient account for any reason to know there is a balance. There also be a way to mark an account so that you don’t see this pop-up again that day. Be careful with this. It can definitely come back to bite you!
Keep the flag notes short and to the point. But be clear too. It’s great to have the ability to show the patient balance with the pop-up. And to attach the entire family to the flag. Something like “see account” works fine. And then you know to also check the notes on the patient’s account. The flag is meant to alert you that there’s something going on. Then you can find out what that something is.
Flagging Overdue Dental Accounts Then Add Patient Account Notes
After you create your account flag, make an account note. You want to put this note in a discreet location. This note doesn’t belong in the patient chart notes. Nor should it be on anything that your patient will be able to see. Not that you are doing anything wrong. It’s just that it’s inside information. And your patient doesn’t need to see it. That’s all.
Include the date and a short note about whatever action you took. You might even want to develop an abbreviated system for yourself. For example: “3.3.19 l/m -balance $21.40 over 30. ” Or again, whatever works for you! Just make sure everyone on the team knows what the notes or symbols might mean. These notes can even include promised payments, payment agreements, etc.
Be Sure To Keep It Clean!
Clean up all notes and flags as you go along. As a patient pays, or an insurance company pays, delete everything! This is the part that’s easily missed. And it can be one of the reasons flags get ignored. Keep your data base clean. And you want the entire dental team to know they can trust the flags and account notes are accurate.
Mark accounts of repeat offenders. It happens. There are those patients who are always always always slow to pay! It’s enough to drive you crazy! And you’ll get to know who they are. But the rest of the team may not know this about a patient. So, it may be a good idea to discreetly mark the account. This way, the dentist also knows about their payment habits. And will be cautious when presenting financial options.
Identify a place on the patient’s file. I’m sure there aren’t many of you that are still using paper charts. I have used the abbreviation “SP” in a designated field. A field in the patient’s account information that we may not use. And it’s a consistent spot used anytime there is an issue like this. Work this out as a team. You’ll be glad you did.