Dental practices are encountering a very specific set of challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic. With operations at a near standstill except for some emergency procedures, it may be difficult to meet financial obligations like overhead costs, payroll, etc. However, practice owners have several options for increasing revenue during this time, not just by recovering outstanding receivables, but also by creating new income opportunities.
Follow Up on Unpaid Insurance Claims
Most insurance companies are still processing and paying out insurance claims during this time. If your office doesn’t already have a streamlined and standardized insurance submission and tracking system, now is the perfect time to implement one. If you already do, take this as an opportunity to optimize–it can all be done remotely to protect employees while maintaining productivity.
For claims up to 15 days without payment, confirm receipt and request the estimated payout date with the insurance company. Resubmit any claims that can’t be confirmed. Repeat this process for claims that haven’t been paid after 30 and 60 days. After 60 days, consider bulk-resubmitting all claims and restarting the process. This should trigger the insurance company to reach out with any overarching issues that may not have been addressed for one-off submissions.
Get Creative with Practice Offerings
While your practice may not be able to operate during this crisis, many of your patients are still working from home and earning income, eager to support businesses like yours. Here are some ways to connect with your patients during this time, and stimulate cash flow in the process:
- Reach out to confirm appointments with patients who have visits scheduled in the future and offer them a 10-30% discount for pre-paying for their procedure. This not only generates cash flow for you, but it rewards patient loyalty for holding their appointments.
- Extend an offer to patients who may be past due in their payments to you. Depending on their delinquency and the amount of their outstanding balance, offering a discount between 10% and 70% is a way to entice payment on accounts receivable that you may not have recovered otherwise. Engaging a collection partner can prove especially beneficial here, in order to minimize error and maximize returns.
- Launch a special campaign for gift cards or gift certificates to your practice. Commonly utilized during the holiday season, this tactic is often successful when packaged with a discount for purchasing, i.e. – offering a $100 gift card for a discounted price of $80. Securing payment for future services also means you won’t incur the variable costs of supplies or staff hours for that income until business picks up again.
While COVID-19 has created a turbulent situation for many dental practices, getting creative with income opportunities can help ease financial shortfalls. For those examining outstanding accounts receivable as well as income opportunities, engaging a collection partner can help increase the speed and likelihood of payouts from patients.
Jacob Corlyon is Co-Founder and CEO of Capital Collection Management, which provides a suite of collection services for the dental industry. Mr. Corlyon also serves as President of the New York State Collectors Association.