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How to Enhance Billing and Collection Procedures at Your Dental Practice

Updated: 2 days ago

Keeping up with collection tasks can pose a challenge for many dental offices. Indeed, when you observe an increase in your accounts receivable (A/R), it frequently points to shortcomings in the collection process.

Because A/R turnover can have a substantial impact on your profitability, it's crucial to tackle collection issues promptly.

After implementing measures to consistently convert your accounts receivable into cash, you'll discover increased accessibility to funds for:

  • Investing in equipment upgrades.

  • Recruiting and training new personnel

  • Introducing streamlined office procedures aimed at ultimately boosting revenue for your dental practice

The more proficient you become in converting your accounts receivable over time, the more robust your cash flow will be.

An ideal conversion target is to ensure that 95% of your patients settle their dental fees within sixty days of invoicing. The following 7 tips can assist you in achieving this goal by enhancing the billing and collection process at your dental office.

Enhance Billing and Collection Procedures

7 Strategies for Enhancing your Billing and Collections Procedures


Strategy# 1: Pre-validate patient insurance


At the outset of the billing process, it's essential to consistently request patients' dental insurance information, ideally at the time of scheduling their appointments.

By preemptively collecting this information, you'll have insight into their timely filing periods and comprehensively understand the scope of their coverage, including any limitations or inclusions concerning:

  • Deductibles or reductions

  • Yearly maximums or frequency restrictions

  • Exclusions for missing teeth or non-covered items or services

This practice not only enhances your insurance collection rates but also prevents issues such as submitting claims to incorrect insurance providers or treating patients without active coverage.


Strategy# 2: Provide fee estimates before administering treatment


Instead of catching patients off guard with unforeseen charges that they may struggle to cover later, establish a routine of:

  • Offer every patient a price estimate before proceeding with any treatments

  • Clarify your payment terms and policies

  • Suggest alternative payment options that could assist in making more expensive treatments easier to manage

The clearer and more streamlined your dental practice's payment processes are, the less likely a disorganized billing and collection system is to adversely affect your business.


Strategy# 3: Whenever feasible, gather payment in advance


It's particularly crucial to delineate any upfront payments that patients will need to cover out-of-pocket before commencing treatment.

Though collecting fees in advance for pricier procedures may not be practical, asking for payment at the time of service for treatments under $200 can significantly mitigate your collections.


Strategy# 4: Provide an extensive selection of payment methods


By accommodating cash, debit, and credit cards (and obtaining direct deposit or credit card details in advance), you can:

  • Promote more immediate payments from patients

  • Secure automatic payment upon service completion

  • Avoid the billing and collection process more frequently

If you haven't already, it's worth considering providing third-party financing options.

External payment plans not only assist more patients in affording expensive or non-covered treatments but also help you avoid the hassle of chasing down payments.


Strategy# 5: Submit your insurance claims daily


The sooner you submit insurance claims, the sooner your dental office receives payment. Investing in specialized dental software is an excellent method to electronically file claims and accelerate your collections process.

Some software systems not only automatically validate your claims (enabling swift resolution of any missing or inaccurate information) but also simplify the process of tracking your claims' status, reducing the time spent on follow-ups with insurance companies.


Strategy# 6: Enhance your collections process


Due to concerns about harming client relationships and potentially losing patients to competitors, it's not uncommon for some dental offices to send statements at the 60-day mark and simply hope for favorable outcomes.

While being overly assertive in pursuing unpaid bills isn't advisable, it's essential to establish a robust billing and collection process to safeguard your cash flow.

Begin by adhering to these 3 recommended practices:

  1. Ensure that all your patient communications are warm, upbeat, and tailored to the individual.

  2. Determine which communication channels your patients prefer (such as phone, mail, email, or text).

  3. Contact patients through their preferred messaging channel promptly when their payment is overdue.

Ideally, maintain regular contact with these patients by sending friendly reminders on a weekly basis until their bills are settled. Alternatively, utilize the auto-reminder feature in your invoicing or accounting software to automate the follow-up process.

Sending weekly reminders as part of your billing process not only reduces the time spent on manual follow-ups but also keeps your practice at the forefront of patients' minds, especially when they are managing multiple payment obligations.


Strategy# 7: Maintain consistency in your payment follow-ups


As consistency is crucial for effective collections, it's advisable to assign dedicated staff to follow up on overdue bills. However, be aware that collections might become secondary to more pressing responsibilities if assigned to your bookkeeper or office manager.

An effective solution to this issue is to outsource your receivables to a third-party accounts receivable company. These agencies specialize in collecting outstanding invoices, guaranteeing both consistency and timeliness in your follow-ups.

Seeking assistance with your billing and collection process is an excellent strategy to optimize your A/R conversions and manage past-due balances effectively.

Interested in outsourcing your dental office's accounts receivable? Bluemount is here to assist you!

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