Dos and don'ts for maximizing collections

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Be proactive about getting paid

Getting paid for the services you provide has always been an important issue, and the financial stress felt by many consumers since the recession makes it all the more important to reexamine your collection procedures.

Do

Ask for payment at time of service and issue a walkout statement. Gone are the days when you could hand or send a bill to patients for later payment. Use a script to ask for what they owe -- even if it is an insurance co-pay -- summing up with the highly effective "Will that be with a credit card or check?" Then give them a statement detailing services provided and amount billed to insurance.

Don't

Don't allow your cash flow to slow down. File insurance every day. Encourage patients to use outside financing to handle large treatment plans, so the practice will get paid in full up front. And make sure you have excellent systems for tracking and dealing with overdue patients and insurance companies.

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