How to Increase Dental Office Collections

How to Increase Dental Office Collections

Hello Friends,

Fear of cost moves many people to put off visiting the dentist or to cancel their appointments for scheduled treatment. Fear of presenting fees causes many team members to dread or avoid presenting treatment plans/financial expectations and asking for payment. These fears do not help the patient or the office.

I know this is true because as I coach dental office teams, during my in-office visits we quickly discover that in most cases solid collection protocols are lacking.

Would you like to see more patients not only accept treatment but pay for it before or at the time of service?  Would you like to see an increase in production and office collections?  Would you like to decrease the amount of time and money being spent on making collection calls and sending patient statements/letters? Great news, I can help you!

how to collect dental patient copays betty hayden dental coach

Today, I’ll share with you a few tips to help make that happen.

  1. See the true value of dentistry – With each day and each patient you and your team have the privilege and opportunity to potentially change someone’s life or at the very least, help them smile healthier. A healthy smile is part of a healthy body, healthy smiles and bodies create healthy communities.  The entire team must believe this. The entire team must also wholly believe that you’re providing the best quality care. Having full confidence in the doctors and hygienists’ ability to provide quality care and to create beautiful and healthy smiles is a must. Give every patient the opportunity to say yes or no to your very best care!
  2. Be confident with fees The entire team should role play presenting small and large treatment plans and financial arrangements until everyone is comfortable saying the dollar amounts out loud and with pride.
  3. Financial policy Have a written financial policy that is kindly reviewed with the patient at their first appt. Have them sign and take a copy with them. For your existing patients, review with them any changes to your financial policies, have them sign and give them a copy to take home.
  4. Avoid assumptions and judgment Don’t make decisions for the patient as to whether they can afford the treatment based on your assumptions or reality. Remember this, Sympathy vs Empathy: Sympathy is feeling for the patient… deciding for them that they can’t afford the dental care, Empathy is feeling with the patient… yes, this is more than they were wanting to pay, however, you’re going to give them hope… you’re going to offer third-party financing, break up the treatment plan if possible or allow them to make payments as a credit until they have enough money to get started with treatment. Always offer the best treatment and flexible payment options and allow the patient to decide what they want to accept or not.
  5. No surprises! – Present treatment plan and financial portion before treatment is started. Make sure your numbers are as accurate as possible, especially when estimating the insurance portion. If you accept their insurance, have up to date eligibility, a breakdown of benefits and the insurance fee schedule on file for the patient.
  6. Payment due before or on the day of service No billing the patient for co-pays or payment for services. (Hint: Collecting prior to appt. will reduce cancellations and no-shows. Another Hint: Collect co-pay before the patient goes back for treatment, especially if they’re having a lengthy or difficult appt. No one wants to stand at the front desk fumbling for money or to write a check with gauze hanging out of their mouth after an extraction, or numb and exhausted after a long appt. Make it more comfortable for them by collecting their payment and making any necessary follow up appts before they go back.)
  7. Make it easy for them to pay In addition to accepting cash, check and charge cards, offer third-party financing. Avoid in-office payment plans!
  8. Incentives Offer incentives for patients to pay when they make the reservation.
  9. Dealing with forgetful patients When a patient says they forgot to bring money…they can either call the payment in over the phone when they get home or give them an envelope with payment due date for them to mail in a check. Call the patient if payment isn’t received by the due date.
  10. When Insurance is involved – Always give the full treatment fee, the estimated insurance amount and the patient’s estimated co-pay that is due today. Let the patient know you’ll send in the claim and inform them if anything changes with the estimated insurance portion. Watch your insurance aging report closely. Promptly follow up on any unpaid claims, insurance rejections, and requests for add’l information.

There you have it, 10 tips to successfully collect payment before or at time of service.

Once you make a plan to consistently collect payments before or at time of service and hold your team accountable to follow through with that plan, you’ll wish you started it sooner.

Here are a few more tips to help make this a true success for you.

  • Daily, Weekly and Monthly, monitor your patient and insurance accounts receivables, collection and credit reports.  (Carefully review write-off’s, discounts, credits, charges, and payments.)
  • Each day, look at the day prior, what were your total production charges & collections? Pay close attention to the total patient responsibility vs patient payments, these numbers should be close to the same. If not, why not?
  • ALWAYS send out clean insurance claims! If your administrative team needs any training in this ever-changing insurance world with how to estimate co-pays, send out claims (daily), post insurance payments and adjustments…get them the proper training asap!
  • Don’t assume… know by who, when, what and how your money is being handled. It’s important for the entire team to understand why this information is necessary.
  • Set goals, share with your team what your production and collection goals are and how it benefits them to all work together as a team to reach or exceed these goals. Consider offering a small bonus or incentive when these goals are reached.

Print out these tips and suggestions and review them at your next team meeting.

If you appreciated these complimentary ideas I  would love for you to please leave me a review/recommendation here on GOOGLE and/or FACEBOOK.

Don’t miss out on any of the ideas that I share each month! Are you receiving my complimentary Practice Management and Marketing Ideas in your email each month? If not, please start following us today. If you prefer, send me your email address (to bhaydenconsulting@gmail.com) and I will send you an invitation to follow my blog.

Yours for Greater Success,

~Betty

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Dental Insurance Maximum Renewal Letter, Reminders, and Ideas

Dental Insurance Maximum Renewal Letter, Reminders, and Ideas

Hello Friends,

The month of September is a great month to get your “Use it or Lose it!” letters and emails out to your patients. This is for all of your patients that have dental benefits that renew on January 1st .and patients with FSA or HSA dollars that expire at the end of the year. Especially helpful for your patients that are /pastdue/due/or due this year for their hygiene visit and/or with treatment that is yet to be started or needs to be completed and their remaining dental insurance maximums are getting ready to expire.

remaining dental max letter

Time to remind them to Use it or Lose it!  Get your letters, emails and text messages out to your patients reminding them to use any insurance benefits they have remaining for the year to complete any needed treatment or for their continuing care hygiene appointment before they lose them.

Some offices choose to mail these letters out in early September. I think October works well too.  Remember, the closer it gets to the end of the year the more difficult it becomes to get them to schedule and you may not even have room in your schedule to accommodate them.

Your goal is to get them from the filing cabinet/computer to the schedule!

Personalize  – When mailing out remaining maximum letters, be sure to customize for each patient according to their treatment plan. This will help to re-create the urgency and value for treatment.  For some patients, it will take some type of additional incentive to get them to act. Perhaps, include a gift certificate for $ off of their treatment if it’s completed and paid for by December 31st. Not redeemable for cash. Or the opportunity to enter a raffle for a really great prize!

Here is a scripting idea for your “Use it or Lose it! letters:

Dear (Patient name),

It’s that time of year again, when you are busy with school schedules, getting ready for fall weather, and/or scheduling upcoming Holiday plans. During this busy time, you may not be thinking about your available or unused dental insurance benefits.

Whether you have insurance benefits remaining or if you have funds set aside in a flexible spending account (FSA) or healthcare saving account (HSA), now is the time to schedule treatment so your co-payment amounts can be applied to this year’s deductions.

Make sure to use all available benefits to complete any outstanding treatment or for your all-important preventive dental hygiene appointment. Almost all plans do not allow you to rollover unused dollars to the next benefit year. So, Use ‘Em or Lose ‘Em!

Call us today to schedule your appointment. We find that the upcoming holiday season is always our “busy time” and we are certain it is a very busy time for you too. 

Beat the end of year rush and get in early, our phone number is ………

Please know we are here to assist you and answer any questions you may have regarding your dental treatment.

Yours partners for better dental health,

Take this opportunity to add a P.S. message to the end of your letter, telling your patients all about your specials on teeth whitening. Many people at this time of year are looking to whiten their teeth for their end of year celebration family photos, or to buy gifts for family and friends.

For example… 

P.S. Now is a great time to whiten & brighten your smile for your end of year celebration photos. We have some fantastic whitening specials! Teeth whitening gift cards also make a wonderful gift.

P.P.S. Did you know we are on Facebook, Instagram, & Twitter? “Like” us on Facebook at … and “follow” us on Instagram, and Twitter at …- This way you can stay up to date with all our office events & news plus have a chance at exclusive offers & contests.

Mailing Tip –  Use a bright-colored envelope and neatly hand-write the name and address. Use a “live” stamp. This will take a little more time to do but your patients are more likely to open an envelope that looks like it’s  from a friend and not their dentist.

Phone Calls – About a week after you mail out your letters, go ahead and start calling them to see if they received the letter and to schedule them an appointment.

Document – Be sure to document that a letter was mailed, phone calls were made and what type of response you received from each patient.

Important Reminder – Before sending out these letters and making calls to your patients be sure to review your upcoming appointment schedule… Where is your open chair time? Will pre-blocking some open time be helpful? Also, before scheduling last minute appointments that require lab work, be sure to communicate with your lab guy/gal that they can, in fact, get these cases back to you in time.

Wishing you all a full schedule for the end of the year!

If you enjoy the complimentary ideas that I share each month, I would love and truly appreciate for you to please leave a review/recommendation for me on GOOGLE and/orFACEBOOK

Have you signed up to receive my complimentary dental marketing and practice management ideas that are sent right to your email inbox each month? If not, take a second and sign up. Or send me your email address and I will send you an invite to follow. This way, you won’t miss a single idea!

Yours for Greater Success,

~Betty

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Dental Marketing Ideas for November

Dental Marketing Ideas for November

Hello Friends,

I thought I would start this post with a lovely quote about the month of November, apparently, that was a big request as it looks like November is not a favorite for most. The majority of the quotes were about how awful the month of November is.

If that’s how you feel about November, I would like to help you make it such a great month in your office that you’ll be full of positive experiences and remarks! (That will give me some encouraging quotes about November for next year. 😉 )

betty hayden consulting free dental marketing ideas november

Just for you – Dental Marketing Ideas to help you make November

the cheery & productive month it so wants to be…

Let’s start with just a couple of reminders:

Candy Buy Back – Many of you will be starting off the month of November hosting and celebrating your office Candy Buy Back events. Be sure to alert the local TV news, online & print newspapers and social media sites about these events.

Incomplete Treatment & Insurance Maximum Renewals – Do you have any patients with incomplete treatment or ones that are due/past due in hygiene with remaining insurance benefits that are going to run out at the end of this year? Do what you can to help them see the need and value in scheduling an appointment this month before the end of the year rush really shifts into high gear! See Remaining Dental Insurance Maximum Letter – Use It or Lose It Reminders

Dental Education Opportunity:

November is American & National Diabetes Month

Nearly 26 million Americans have diabetes.
People with diabetes are 2 times more likely to develop serious gum disease.
Use this month to educate your patients about the connections between diabetes and gum disease while they are in the chair and or via email, office newsletters, and your social media sites.

Great American Smokeout: 17  – Wonderful Educational Opportunity to help your patients Kick the Tobacco Habit! As well as encourage youths to remain tobacco-free.

Cosmetic Dentistry Opportunity:

Many of your patients will soon be attending holiday parties/events and typically with these special occasions come a lot of picture-taking. Now is a great time to help them see how they can easily get their smile ready for the camera with teeth whitening and other cosmetic treatment/procedures.

Continuing Care Opportunity:

Give Up Your Shoulds Day: 1stThe dictionary defines “should” as a word used to indicate obligation, duty, or correctness, typically when criticizing someone’s actions. Help your patients to give up some “shoulds” in their lives that often lead to guilt and stress. Such as: “I should schedule my dentist appointment” or “I should floss every day”; encourage them to turn these shoulds into something positive by seeing the value and personal benefit to flossing every day and/or being able to say they scheduled their dental appointment. It’s not something they “should” do but what they “want” to do to stay healthy.

Here are 3 More Ways to Help Your Patients 
Smile in November!

World Kindness Week: 13-19 – Have Gift Of Health Certificates for your patients to share with their friends, co-workers, neighbors, and family. What about handing out special surprise gifts for your patients or deliver gifts to local businesses this week. Perhaps there is a patient coming in this week for treatment that is experiencing serious financial hardship and would benefit from some extra kindness by you donating some of their dental treatment.

Black Friday – Offer Special Pricing on Teeth Whitening & Electric Toothbrushes, Ortho Consult or a New Patient Visit.

Flossing day: 29th – Post fun floss facts & tips on your social media sites. Make a video and share on Facebook, YouTube & Pinterest demonstrating proper flossing techniques.

As always, I would love to hear your ideas for making November a great month! Should you need any help implementing these ideas or have any other questions that I can help you answer…I’m ready to help! Contact me today at bhaydenconsulting@gmail.com.

Have you signed up to receive my complimentary dental marketing and practice management ideas that are sent right to your inbox each month? If not, take a second and sign up. This way, you won’t miss a single idea!

Please share my blog with your dental friends.

Yours for Greater Success,

~Betty

P.S. Please stop by and say hello to me on FacebookTwitterInstagramLinkedIn and Pinterest

 

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Dental Marketing to Seniors

Hello Friends,

Marketing to seniors typically isn’t a priority for most dentists. However, since advancing age doesn’t mean seniors cannot keep their teeth for a lifetime, why not take advantage of the opportunity to reach out to this generation? Help them to see they’re not destined to lose their teeth.

dental marketing to senior citizens

A few ways to reach out to Senior Citizens:

Senior Appreciation Day (In-office)

Senior Health & Wellness Expo

Direct Mail Marketing to Senior Living Communities

Website & Social Media Sites

Today, I’m going to focus on ideas for you to use at a community senior health & wellness fair/expo. However, many of the ideas for talking points, presentation and giveaways may be used in the other forms of marketing mentioned above.

Health Fair settings can be challenging for a couple of different reasons.

One, there are a lot of vendors and booths/displays so you’re going to want to make sure that your display table stands out. That it draws the attention of the guests.

Two, most people are there for something free. No problem for you,  because they won’t leave your display empty-handed.

Many wonder what they should talk about and what sort of items should they give away?

How about these ideas…

Service Talking Points ~

– Denture/Partial Maintenance & Repair
– Bad Breath
– Dry Mouth
– Teeth Whitening
– Orthodontics
– Implants
– Oral Cancer (On-site screenings)
– The mouth-body connection
– Smile Makeover

Presentation / Demonstration ~

– Power Point/Video presentation on a laptop/tablet/LARGE monitor with before and after photos and/or information about your services.
– How To Demonstrations: Proper Brushing & Flossing Techniques

Display ~

– Table Cloth
– Banner (Office Name and Website address)
– Brochures
– Business Cards
– Use nice baskets, containers and frames to display your items.

Keep your table neat but attractive – too much information and “stuff” will be overwhelming in that setting.

Include a Big Call to Action with a deadline: You could hand out a sheet of paper that has a special offer on it: Complimentary Oral Cancer Screening, New Patient Special or Teeth Whitening Offer. On that sheet include some of the other services you offer. Also, include your social media sites and of course all your office contact info.

Make certain that you’ll have the ability to schedule complimentary consultations and New Patient Hygiene visits right there on the spot. (Access to your schedule…at the very least a copy of the schedule for the next 2 weeks.)

Very Important:  Your display table must include friendly, smiling, approachable and outgoing team members (also wearing, professional & clean attire).

Other things you can do to attract people to your table…

– Prize Wheel

–  Gift Basket Drawing/Raffle
Lots of FREE stuff! Which brings us to…

Giveaways ~

– Bottled Water
– Healthy Snacks
– Xylitol Products- Gum/Mints

– Sample dental health products with sticker or tag attached showing that a “refill” may be purchased at your office.
– Imprinted Toothbrushes
– Toothpaste
– Floss / Imprinted Floss Cards
– Imprinted Pens
– Magnets
– My favorite idea for a quick & inexpensive freebie is Lip Balm- (my go to; 
http://www.lipbalmexpress)
– Reusable Bags with your Office Information on them is a handy giveaway, one that allows them to carry their free gifts in and advertise your office for you.

If you’re not looking to spend a lot of money on bags, please consider using small imprinted plastic bags so no one is fumbling with their gifts.

(If you’re wondering where you can order some of the imprinted items listed above and many others not listed, check out Bizarre Marketing.  I share this particular company with you because their customer service is awesome.)

Raffle / Drawing ~

– Electric Toothbrush
– Whitening Pen
– Gift Cards
– Gift Baskets ( Themes: Dental, Gardening, Seasonal items, Spa – don’t hesitate to team up with local businesses for basket items)
– Free Teeth Whitening and or $ off Dental Treatment ( NOTE: they can either check the box for which one or all that they are hoping to win. Use a full sheet of paper with prize options and large space for them to fill out their name, email, address & phone (to be used later to send nice to meet you cards).

Should you decide to use a Prize Wheel instead of Raffle/Drawing be sure to find another way to capture their information so you can follow-up with a “pleasure to meet you” thank you card after the event.

Encourage attendees to “like” your office Facebook page and “follow” your office on Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. Perhaps you can offer some type of incentive/reward for visiting your social media sites.

Take a few minutes before and after the event to briefly introduce yourself to the other vendors and businesses at the expo. Give them a bag with some of your office freebies. This is a great opportunity to build relationships within your community.

So many ways for you to have a fun and successful senior health and wellness fair. Do you have any other ideas that have worked well for you? Please, share them with me.

If you do not already subscribe to receive our free dental marketing and practice management ideas right to your inbox each month, please do so today. Feel free to tell your dental friends about Hayden Consulting. ~Thank you!

We welcome your comments, questions, and likes.

Yours for Greater Success,

~Betty

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