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Spend $300 to collect $100?

Spend $300 to collect $100?

Here's a scenario typical at many dental offices: A patient comes up to the front desk to see the treatment coordinator after receiving their services and doesn't know there's a co-pay. Perhaps they thought their "dental insurance" would cover it.

They say they didn't bring their wallet, checkbook or whatever. So the front desk says, "No problem, we'll send you a bill."

Your collections person then prepares the bill and sends it out. No payment comes in. A second bill is sent. No payment. The patient is called. A message left. More calls. More answering machines. But still no payment.

A letter is sent telling the patient they'll be turned over to collections. Zippo. The account is turned over. The agency collects on it and you receive a fraction of what the service was worth. Congratulations.

You've just spent $300 to collect $100 and as a bonus you now have a former patient in your backyard who'll probably be bad mouthing you. Unfair, but true.

I'm always looking for ways a dental office can be more efficient. At least half of these scenarios could be avoided if, as an example, the front desk simply reminded the patient during the confirmation call that there will likely be a co-pay.

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