by Jacob Corlyon
When it comes to maximizing accounts receivable (AR) collection, dental practice owners should work with administrative staff to develop a custom, flexible yet reliable system. This means enacting a multi-part process for assessing and collecting AR at all stages in the revenue cycle: from patient admittance and payment, to insurance billing, and collections.
Standardize Reporting and Documentation
Diligence in documenting communication with patients and with insurance companies–and the outcomes of those interactions–will yield valuable information for collecting unpaid balances. Documentation will also allow your staff a higher level of insight into the status of each patient’s collection file, and an active record of steps taken to recover it. Creating standard reports wherein staff can provide daily updates on payment from patients, claims submitted to insurance, receivables recovered, and amounts outstanding will help to foster a culture of accountability and understanding among employees, not to mention increase your likelihood of maximizing collection. This standard of operation will also help the facility from a business perspective, not just in day-to-day operation, but in providing valuable historical tracking should it be needed for accounting or financial purposes in the future.
Encourage Indirect Benefits
Activating a consistent, unambiguous billing and collection system for patients and for staff has many indirect benefits as well. It can increase patient trust, leading to patient loyalty and a higher likelihood of expanding your practice through referrals. For employees, working from a core operational understanding can expedite onboarding and create efficiencies within your team. Fostering this expectation of understanding and accountability can also have cultural benefits for your practice as well. Most importantly, setting in place a fluid, flexible, and robust system will decrease time spent recovering funds, and get you and your staff back to what you do best – serving your patients.Even with the best reporting and documentation processes in place, dental practices can still face major hurdles in collecting outstanding AR. Often, engaging a full-service collection partner can help you manage customer expectations, provide a reprieve to your staff, and protect the revenue you’ve earned
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.