Have I done everything to collect on this account?
You hit a brick wall with collections on four accounts showing up on your accounts receivable report. Over the last 4 to 5 months you have sent multitudes of statements, called repeatedly at different times and left courteous but cautious messages about “the account” with detailed directives to please call immediately. Even the dunning messages on the statements were carefully constructed to not offend. Yet you can’t help but feel down when you remember the patients and how nice they were with their promises to pay with the tax return, the inheritance and one was getting a second job just to get the dental work done. Each of them was so happy. “I am referring my neighbor.” “Your office is so great!”
What happened? The real question is what happened prior to the treatment to secure financial arrangements with the patients. Where was the written agreement as to how and when they were going to pay? You are not a bank or a collection service so why did you put yourself in that position?
“We were busy and the patient walked out and said they would pay in full next time.” “I forgot to collect the balance at the last visit because I was busy on the phone.” “We don’t give treatment plans because we don’t have the time to call insurance companies for benefits. Their insurance didn’t pay anything so the patient refused to pay.”
What to do now? Perhaps a third party can help because they are not the office and often this will get some people to pay. But the problem is you have lost the patient and probably their family and future referrals. What are you going to do differently to keep these accounts and their headaches from happening again?