5 Ways to Improve Dental Accounts Receivable

accounts file

Outstanding accounts receivable are a sore spot for many dentists. If your dental practice is losing money because patients aren’t paying on their procedures, we can help! At Dental Practice Enhancement, our job is to help you succeed.

First, dentists should determine why so many outstanding balances are going unpaid. It could because of one or more of the following factors:

  • Lack of training
  • Fear of enforcing a prepayment policy
  • Improperly estimating insurance
  • Unmotivated or improperly trained team members
  • Not setting up automatic payments for patients
  • A disorganized accounts receivable system

Whatever the reason for having outstanding accounts receivable, they all add up to one thing—a loss of profit. To improve your cash flow and create a better accounts receivable system, implement these five steps into your dental practice:

1. Ask for full payments before the patient ever leaves

Are your team members assuming that patients want to be on a payment plan? Same-day payments could dramatically increase by simply asking the patient to pay before he or she leaves! Your dental team members may feel awkward at first, but over time it will become part of their routine.

You can help make your staff members feel more comfortable by providing a script or offering several suggestions on how to handle this part of their customer interaction. We’ve discovered that asking how will you be paying? in a kind and respectful manner is extremely effective.

To make this transaction better from the patient’s point of view, try to have a staff member they’ve connected with ask the patient about payment. The interaction will be less awkward and more successful!

2. Offer several forms of financing

Most dentists offer three payment options: cash, CareCredit®, and in-house financing. Expand your payment options by working with two to three financing companies. That way, if a patient isn’t eligible for one, they have one or two more options before utilizing in-house financing. This will cut down on using your dental practice as a bank!

3. Contact patients frequently through various media

When patients are on a payment plan with your office, be sure to ask what their preferred form of contact is. It could be a phone call, text, email, or mail. Use their preferred media, but if the payments aren’t coming in, utilize an additional method of contact.

Calling patients for payments can be a difficult task. This is another instance when you should have a staff member the patient is familiar with contact the patient directly.  

4. Offer a same-day payment discount

One way to boost same-day payments is to offer a small discount for those who pay with cash, card, or check on the same day as their appointment. A five to ten percent discount will be enough to encourage many patients to find a way to pay that day. Though it may seem like you’re losing money, you’ll actually save more by not dealing with an uncollected account receivable in the first place.

5. Hire a dental practice management company

If you want to free your staff up to do complete other tasks and focus on providing excellent customer service, consider hiring a dental practice management company. This way, you aren’t the one associated with collecting the payments (which is viewed negatively by most patients), we are.

Our highly trained virtual administrators at Dental Practice Enhancement can increase your cash flow by taking over your account receivables. We can also train your team members in billing collection from both patients and insurance companies.

Call us today at (833) DPE-FOR-U to learn more.

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