Dental Treatment Coordinator (TC): “The total cost is __________. There are several ways of paying including check or any major credit card.
Patient (PT): “That seems like an awful lot”.
TC: “We do have a couple of options but let me run this one by you first: Many dental patients take advantage of it because it is a way to save you money. In your case you could save _______ if you were able to pay the up front which would make the cost ________.”
“Dr. [name] has found that his best patients are those that complete their whole treatment plan and have good healthy mouths that are easy to maintain. So as an incentive he is willing to give _______% off for payment in advance. Is there some way you can work that out?”
“We take credit cards. Is it possible for you to put some on your credit card and pay the rest by check?”
TC: There is another option: Dr. [name] has worked out an arrangement with a company called FINANCE COMPANY (Insert your finance company) for patients just like yourself who want to get the treatment done but don’t have the cash readily available at this point in time. The option is this: Dr. [name] has agreed to pay FINANCE COMPANY a premium in exchange for them not charging you any interest. This is an arrangement that Dr. [name] has worked out for his patients. In your case the _________ could be spread over six months at no interest. That would be _________ divided by six or approximately ________ per month. Can you handle that?”
If the patient says “No” then say:
TC: “If we spread the payments over 12 months that would be _______ divided by 12, which is approximately _______ per month. That is 12 months at no interest. If you don’t get it paid off in 12 month then there would be an interest charge. Will that work for you?”
TC: “Well, all right. Here’s the application. Fill it out. We’ll fax it in and get an answer in about ten minutes”.
The premium they charge the doctor is 5 percent for 6 months and 10 percent for 12 months.
If the application does not go through make a polite excuse to prevent the patient from being embarrassed such as: “By law, the company is not allowed to tell me the actual reason but you can call them and they will tell you.” Then go on to Option #3.
Option number three would be raising the limit on their credit card.
TC: “Do you have a credit card? Here’s another option you may be interested in: Many of our other patients have done this. Most credit card companies will increase your limit for medical or dental purposes. There is an 800 number on the back of your card so if you want to try you can give them a call from here. That way if there is any question about whether or not this is for medical or dental purposes or if they have questions about the actual treatment or the cost I would be available to explain all that to them. Is that something you would be interested in doing?”
TC: “Do you have your credit card with you? On the back is an 800 number. What’s the number? I’ll dial it for you.” Here’s the phone. They’ll need to talk to you not me. Like I said if they have any questions I’ll be happy to speak with them. I’ll be back in a minute.”
If he doesn’t get approved you know he is a credit risk. Now you know that this patient has to “pay as you go.” You do not extend any credit to him/her.
TC: “Here’s what we can do. We can break it down into six visits. You need to pay at the beginning of your treatment each time you come in. That will be ___________ each visit. Do you have any problem with that?”
TC: “All right then would you be doing that by check?”
On the Dental Treatment Plan Form write in specifics of the exact agreement you made. Print a new treatment plan with specifics on Treatment Plan Form.
WRITE ON THE TREATMENT PLAN FORM:
Patient accepts above treatment. (Patient's name) will pay for each portion of the treatment, in full, at time of service. Patient must sign before treatment.
SCRIPT FOR A CROWN PREP:
TC: "Let’s get you scheduled for that first appointment. The first visit we'll prepare the tooth for the crown. The second visit we will adjust and place the crown. That will be ½ or _______ on the first visit and _______ on the second visit.”
When it is okay with the doctor to do the crown prep in three visits spread the appointments apart if it is technically okay do it to help the patient out. Obviously, you may be able to seat it on the second visit but if this is needed on the financial end and it won’t compromise the treatment make it three visits. The second visit would just be a 5 minute try-in but the patient would have 3 visits to pay in full.
Let's say he can’t "pay as you go" and he needs payments. The only way we ever do payments with anybody is if they are an established patient and already have a good credit history with us. You will have patients like that. They don’t have the cash, but they pay like clockwork. Only do this with an established patient. There is no 5th option for a new patient.
Another option for the new patient is to send in monthly pre-payments until they have enough on account to get their treatment done.
SCRIPT FOR NEW PATIENTS WHO WANT PAYMENTS:
TC: “Yes, we do have a payment plan. How much a month can you handle? (Patient answers __________ per month). That’s fine. Send in that amount to us each month as a prepayment and when the credit in your account reaches the cost of the first treatment we will call you and you can come in and get it started. The advantage is you can send in as much as you want each month and avoid credit problems.
The doctor does not have to assume the credit risk of the patient not paying for treatment already completed.
Dental Insurance should be verified before the patient comes in. It eliminates extra steps while the patient is in the chair.
ADDITIONAL SCRIPT THAT CAN BE USED DURING THE FINANCIAL ARRANGEMMNTS:
TC: “How can we work this out so you can get the dentistry you need?”
Let the patient be part of the solution if none of the above options have worked.