Taking a Bite out of Bad Debt

Biting out of bad debt

Collections.  Do you or don’t you?  As a dental practitioner, you went to school to do one thing and that is to take care of people.  You provide them with a service that improves the quality of their life in one way or another.   In turn they pay you for this service.  In a perfect world, this all works out nicely and with little issue.  However, if you have been in business for any period of time you know that it isn’t always so smooth – sometimes payment just doesn’t come easily.  If you haven’t already experienced this problem, know that you will.  It is inevitable.

So what do you do?  You provide a patient with care and they haven’t paid you.  You call, you send letters, you email, you eventually get frustrated by a lack of response and now need to decide on whether or not you send the account to collections.  According to a recent article on the subject published by the  California Dental Association, there are a number factors to consider before making the decision to send the bill to collections.

Whatever the provider decides to do may vary from one case to another, but there are certain practices that can be implemented to help your case should you decided to use a collection agency to settle your account.  For starters it’s important to have a clear financial policy.  It should lay out the services provided and the exact amount that the patient will be expected to pay.  This policy should also lay out clear terms for what constitutes a delinquent account (120 days or whatever the provider deems appropriate) and what the exact course of action is should the patient fail to pay the amount owed.  All paperwork should be signed by both parties and kept on file.  It is advised that practitioners keep a note of every attempt made to collect this debt and what the outcome of each attempt was.  While none of these things guarantee a favorable outcome, they may help in avoiding other litigious issues with a patient.

If you decide that moving forward with a more formal collections attempt is the best option for you, consider contacting Credit Consulting Services, Inc. We have the healthcare collections experience and capability to help you collect what is owed to you.  It is our job to make sure that you spend most of your time doing the job you want to do: taking care of people.

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