How to improve collections for your dental practice?

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How to improve collections for your dental practice?

Accelerating cash flow, increasing collection rate, and improving patient payment experience are the factors to sustain growth. However, many practices struggle to have accounts receivable, and if your cash flow is not moving the way you want, then it’s time to make some changes. New collections will help you in investments in equipment that improve the patient experience and office efficiency.

The process looks simple- the dental practice provides dental care, the insurer pays for the treatment as per the policy, and the patient covers the outstanding bill. The dental practice collects the payment. Unfortunately, it’s a challenge for most dental offices.

Here are some actionable tips to see improvement in the practice’s collections.

Patient Collections:

Consider in-house financing options- The first step towards increased cash flow is to offer your patients in-house financing. The flexible payment terms, like interest-free installments for two months, three months, six months, or even a relatively short horizon, make it easier for the patient to pay the remaining balance. The in-house financing spectrum can make the patient feel more confident about their payment as they can choose the payment schedule depending on that best fits their finances.

Offer electronic payment solution- Accepting credit cards, cash, debit card, digital wallet, or mobile payment makes the process easy, fast, simple, and quick for the patient and the dental office also receives the money.

Patient’s in-house membership plans- In-house membership plans aim to reduce the friction between the dental practice and the patient. The goal is to offer affordable dental care with a monthly or annual subscription for preventive care. The subscription plan is a recurring revenue for the dental practice and establishes loyalty toward the dental practice.

Friendly and consistent follow-ups- Asking the patients for money is disliked by both patients and the practice. It is a time-consuming task. Often dental offices feel hesitant not to spoil the reputation. From a different approach, the same intrusive process can help you expect payment. One reminder in a week through texts, and emails, can never go wrong. 

Initially, making phone calls appear intrusive to patients. But if you do not receive any response after two weeks, make a collection call politely through a trained financial coordinator who can get the results you want.

Incentives- Nothing is better than upfront payment, and if you motivate the patients enough, they are more than willing to make the payment upfront. The dental office can incentivize the pay upfront and adjust the fee later as advance payments. Instead of showing it as a discount, portray it as an appreciation for the upfront payment that can significantly enhance the collection rate.

Insurer Collections:

Claim submissions daily: One of the easiest ways to improve your A/R status is to submit claims daily. It looks significant to save claims for the end. Submitting the dental claim every day has a positive impact on the financial situation of the dental practice. Firstly, no pile-up of cases. Secondly, less stress is caused by back and forth with the insurer. 

Scrutinize the claim before submission: Simple clerical errors result in resubmissions and delays in payment by a considerable amount of time. Dedicated staff for filing claims and reviewing for accuracy can help to achieve sufficient revenues despite low reimbursement from the insurer. 

Timely follow-up from the insurer: After the submission, if the reimbursement gets delayed by one day, contact the insurer immediately. That could be a sign of payment holding from the insurer that you can quickly fix if acted on time.

Patient eligibility verification: To maximize reimbursement perform insurance verification with the insurer before the service. As per ADA, patient eligibility is crucial after the lockdown since the practitioner sees unemployed patients that have lost coverage and end up in revenue loss.

Review fee schedule: Review your fee schedule annually for long-term financial success. Adjusting the fee as per the market can provide extra revenue right away. For instance, as per ADA, infection control and personal protective equipment usage automatically increase the cost of dental care procedures.

Correct coding: Assigning CDT and ICD code set to ensure reimbursement. The payers have their own rules in assigning codes and have a specific purpose for claim submissions. If the procedure and the code match, you keep the cash flowing and stress levels down. Code updates every year, and practice should review the claim before submission.