Posted on December 22, 2020
The American Dental Association estimates that there are 10,648 practicing orthodontists in the U.S. This figure translates to approximately 3.27 specialists for every 100,000 Americans. As an orthodontist, you may take pride in giving your patients brighter smiles through effective teeth straightening.
Unfortunately, most practices struggle with orthodontic collections. Ideally, you complete an orthodontic treatment, the patient pays, and everyone’s happy. It sounds easy, right? However, most orthodontists and their staff become frustrated as they try to navigate the often confusing and exhausting process of demanding their dues from patients and insurers alike.
Without strong orthodontic billing practices, hundreds of thousands of dollars could be seeping through the cracks annually.
Patients generally have expectations for the kind of service they expect from you. You too should have a policy detailing what you expect from them in terms of payment. You can use orthodontic consultants to come up with financial guidelines to distribute to new and existing patients.
The policy can outline flexible financial arrangements, when you expect payments, how and when to quote your fees to patients, and much more. Draft a policy that’s standard for a majority of your patients, keeping exceptions to a bare minimum. The plan eliminates confusion during orthodontic collections, reducing awkwardness during payment discussions.
You have already earned it. You may need to make it clear in your financial policy that you expect patients to pay at the time of service. You should also collect the patient’s portion for insured services before they walk out of the door.
Most patients admit they don’t pay at the time of the service because the orthodontist simply never asked. It can be scary to think of asking for your payment. However, if done in a friendly, non-threatening manner, it can help get money off the books and into your bank accounts.
If you are serious about improving billing procedures in your office, consider automating the process. An ortho consulting group can assist you in procuring a claims management tool. The software allows you to track overdue bills and claims. You also receive reports that show the effectiveness of your orthodontic collections effort. You can train your financial administrator on how to use the technology to boost your bottom line.
Far too often, busy orthodontic practices have low collection efficiency due to a lack of a follow-through procedure. A report by Dentrix shows that once an account ages past 90 days, your office loses 7% of the balance each month. Orthodontic marketing companies can assist you in educating your patients and staff about the new payment guidelines. Your financial administrator can then have an easier time leading your follow-up efforts. Sharing your percentage goal with your front-desk staff can help you meet your financial goals.
One of the many challenges orthodontists face today is collections. An orthodontic consulting group can assist you in creating a financial policy that will outline your billing strategies. OrthoSynetics can help your practice smoothen your orthodontic revenue cycle management for a better future. Contact our office today!