Understanding Dental Patient Ledgers with Ease
Understanding dental patient ledgers takes practice. And it’s a good idea to be well in tune to patient accounts. Which happens with familiarity. And this happens through my Weekly Management Systems every week. Because we review every patient account over 30, 60, and 90 days systematically.
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When It’s Messy
Perhaps we are a new team member in our practice. And we soon realize there is a bit of an accounting mess. It happens quite frequently. You are not alone. Now what? First, check in with your doc. Bring the account and a printout of the ledger to the doc. And ask if there is anything you might need to know. Often, there is a story.
Then grab some lined paper and break it all down. I prefer a separate sheet of paper per patient on the account. And list procedures by date of service. It’s helpful if there are good notes on the account ledger. Without good notes, we just do our best. Match insurance payments and patient payments to correlating dates of service. Remember to look at adjustments too. Explanation of benefits are helpful to line things up better.
Review Accounts of Scheduled Patients
A review of each account prior to confirmation is good practice as well. A quick glance at each account with a balance over 30 days is a starting point. With practice, we see where an insurance claim requires a follow-up. And where a patient statement didn’t go out as it should. We learn a lot with a quick review before confirmation.
You may consider a phone call to the patient or insurance before the appointment. It’s a judgement call. I like to have all my ducks in a row, so to speak. Especially before a patient walks in for additional treatment. Patients appreciate this too. As people seldom like the unexpected conversations around money. We may even want to enlist our patient’s help with an insurance claim.
Understanding Dental Patient Ledgers with Printouts
Patients prefer a ledger printout they understand. With a complicated account, I type up a printout. My account breakdown is complete. I understand transactions with clarity. Now, I am able to explain this to my patient. So, I type it up and attach copies of their actual ledger. I also include copies of their insurance explanation of benefits.
This is a great tool to help us in collections of overdue accounts. Especially if negligence on the part of the dental office has transpired. Negligence is a miscommunication or lack of communication on what the patient owes the practice. It’s the responsibility of the office to share in a timely fashion, all moneys owed. Otherwise, our patients feel like a victim. And that’s not how we grow our practices.
We strive to help our patients live their best lives. And we know that our patients always remember the way we make them feel. Let’s help them feel they can trust us with their smiles, their overall health, and their finances too!
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