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Dental Consultant Advice: Patient Financial Policy

Dental Consultant Advice: Patient Financial Policy

Establishing a clear and firm financial policy for your dental office helps to see that your practice is paid without the type of misunderstandings that can cost you new patients and referrals. Recommendations:

1. Insurance: 

a. Tell the patient how much the insurance company is expected to pay. 

b. Tell the patient you will bill the insurance company for that amount.

c. Inform the patient they are responsible for that amount if insurance company doesn't pay.

d. Collect the balance at the time of service.

e. If the insurance payment is not received within at least 30 days inform the patient so they have a chance to contact the insurance company to handle.

f. If still no joy from the insurance company after 45 days collect the balance from the patient. 

2. FFS:

a. Prepay Option: 5% courtesy discount offered on treatment over $500.00. Note: Some offices only offer this to non-insurance patients. If you offer to insured patients make sure to check with the insurance company for their specific rules.

b. 12 months same as cash based on approved credit application. 0% interest if paid within 12 months. See Care Credit (or alternate company) info.

c. Payment at time of service: If need be, payment can be split over appointments if the treatment takes more than one visit. Only offer if they ask.

3. Long Appointments and Lab Cases: 

Patients take appointments more seriously when they have to leave a deposit to "reserve your time: Doing so also flushes out those who are not serious. For appointment of two hours or more, require fee for service patients to put down at least a 50% deposit. For insurance patients, collect the co-pay as the deposit. Explain that you have had patients no-show for these appointments in the past and the dentist and assistants sit around doing nothing for three hours. For lab cases the patient pay 50% up front. Long term, reliable patients should not be asked for a deposit. 


 

Kevin Tighe, Cambridge Dental Consultants, Senior Consultant, got bitten hard by the business and marketing bug during long summer days working at his dad's Madison Avenue ad agency. After joining Cambridge as a speaker in the mid-1990s, Kevin went on to become Cambridge’s senior consultant and eventually CEO. Cambridge Dental Consultants is a full-service dental practice management company offering customized dental office manuals. Frustrated? High overhead? Schedule a chat with Kevin at

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There is the good, the bad and the ugly of dental practice management, but many dentists will still tell you the probability is your dental consulting will work if you and your consultant are on the same page. It stands to reason that if a dental consultant had little value, worth or benefit that consultant could not stand up to harsh economic realities for long.  A veteran dental consultant is also a "personal coach" who shold bring management wisdom based on "in the trenches" experience along with systems and protocols to that have been successfully implemented in other practices. Top dental consultants talk and network with each other. They pay attention to what systems work and don't across many dental practices. 

Systems

New Patient Phone Call

Insurance Processing

New Patient Experience and Patient Education

Financial Arrangements

Scheduling

Confirmation

Unscheduled Treatment 

Reactivation

Daily and Weekly Checklists

General Policy Manual 

Staff Accountability

What gets monitored, gets managed. It is as simple as that. The only way to monitor what gets done is with daily stats especially for your weak areas. For example, one employee should be specifically responsible for calls to patients who are unscheduled, overdue for re-care or need reactivation. Other staff can and should help in coordination with the accountable employee.

Leadership

What most practice owners are lack in knowledge is not how to book an appointment, but rather how to be an effective leader. The best systems in the world are useless if the staff do not comply. Good leaders know how to get staff to willingly follow through and comply. 

Questions To Ask 

  1. Do you and/or your staff have to travel or does the consultant come to you?

  2. Is the program mostly one on one consulting versus seminars or courses with multiple clients in attendance?There are advantages to both.

  3. If the dental consulting is one on one who will actually deliver the consulting? I recommend knowing who your specific dental consultant will be prior to signing on the dotted line.

  4. Is program based on a specific dental practice management system? You want to avoid cookie-cutter programs. Ensure the program will be tailor-made to fit your practice's specific needs.

  5. The cost (including travel expenses and downtime) is certainly not the only factor, everything else being equal, it is still a major factor to consider. It's unwise to pay too much, but it's worse to pay too little.  

 

Top Dental Practice Mangement Consultant

Shane Blake DDS Coudersport, PAMy name is Kevin Tighe. I am Cambridge's CEO and Senior Consultant. Before joining the Cambridge team I was in charge of setting up workshops for large nonprofits throughout the United States and Canada. During that time, I was fortunate to receive mentoring from several world-class business consultants, including a dental practice management guru, which led to a position at Cambridge as their seminar organizer. In time, I began crisscrossing the country delivering seminars myself for the better part of a decade. Subsequently, I moved up to senior consultant and eventually owner.  Contributing writer to Dental Economics/DIQ, JADA, AGD Impact and Dental Town Magazine.

  

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