For most office administrators, collection calls would be way down on the list of things they’d like to do! Your whole purpose in practice is to take good care of patients but sometimes unfortunately money becomes an issue.
I make hundreds of collection calls every month and there are a few things I’ve learned. Most patients intend to pay their bills and are actually relieved if you help them find a way to take care of things.
Approach collections positively:
“I am going to call and help the patient” versus
“I’m going to call and pressure the patient.”
Of course there is some pressure but it’s best to come right out and ask:
“We have a balance of $250, how would you like to take care of that…?” pause and wait for the patient’s response.
Patients will want to make excuses, so let them vent. You are not asking for excuses—you don’t want to get bogged down into everything going on in their life but if they want to share some of their challenges with you, it’s okay to be a good listener. If you listen to them and show compassion, chances are they will work with you.
Always confirm what you talked about:
“So, if I heard you correctly, we’ve agreed that you will pay $100 now and then $100 by the 5th and another $100 by the 20th. Is that correct? We can count on you for that then, right?”
Sometimes patients won’t follow up on promises or they will be abusive on the phone. Cut them some slack, but if they do not work with you this is a very helpful phrase:
“Mr. Smith, I work in a dental office and our job is to care for people. As long as they are working with us we’ll work with them to take care of an account. However, if we don’t have cooperation and respect we have no choice but to give this to a professional collector. I’m not a professional collector, I am here to help get your balance taken care of in whatever way we can get this done…”
Have questions? Contact Sheila at 952-921-3360 or