Newsletter | Are Financial Conversations Uncomfortable?

January 22, 2018by Lisa Philip

Money is often an uncomfortable topic of conversation for teams and patients. Dentists want to do what’s right for the patient and, most often, patients would prefer to say “yes” to the care they need. But, dentists should also be appropriately compensated for their services in a timely manner.


Miscommunication during the financial conversation can significantly and negatively impact all the other drivers we’ve talked about. So, providing absolute clarity when it comes to treatment cost and payment options is a must. It’s also important that payment be efficiently handled, which means that it is received prior to treatment.


When patients have completed dentistry and owe the practice money, it can damage the relationship, leading to patient migration and fewer referrals. For patients who would prefer to pay over time, accepting a healthcare credit card, like Health Smart, gets you out of the banking business.


Dentists should not be bankers and carry accounts over a long period of time impacts the value of the practice in the future. The benchmark for healthy collections for the dental practice is directly related to the management of the accounts receivable department.


The goal for accounts receivable, in an assignment dental practice, is to not have the total dollars owed to the practice exceed more than four to six weeks of production, with less than 10% outstanding in over 90% of the cases. A non-assignment practice theoretically would have no accounts receivable, especially if they collect over the counter at the time of service.


The practice engine of revenue is possibly the most important driver towards success and has several key components including patients, scheduling and case acceptance.

If your growth begins to stall, the first place to focus your attention is the aspects that help to generate revenue.


Your first and primary goal should be to make sure patients (and revenue) are coming in the front door and then making it into the chairs. Once this engine is on track, you can optimize your practice by making sure that the other drivers are also running smoothly.


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Lisa Philip