Dos and don'ts for financial management: Are you overdue for a collections upgrade?

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Unfortunately, many dentists overestimate their collection rate. One reason is that their practices lack efficient, step-by-step systems for preventing and collecting overdues. In today's economy, many people have trouble keeping up with their bills, so if you aren't the "squeaky wheel," you don't collect. The other reason doctors misjudge how well they're doing with collections is that they don't actually track the numbers, and, as smart business leaders will tell you, what doesn't get measured doesn't get done.


Track overdues, by individual patient and overall. If you haven't been using your practice software to generate hard numbers about your overdues, brace yourself. You're probably collecting a lower percentage than you think and significantly below the target Levin Group sets for its consulting clients: 99%. Start tracking your rate. You'll be inspired to upgrade your collections system.


Don't put collections on the back burner. Collecting overdues can be unpleasant, so many staff members tend to give priority to other tasks. This is unwise, because every passing day makes a bill harder to collect. Everyone on your team must understand that when fees aren't paid, it's as if the dentistry was never done. Block out time and set quotas to bring in the money you've earned.

Roger P. Levin, DDS, is the founder and CEO of Levin Group, the leading dental practice consulting firm in North America. For the complete list of dates and locations where you can attend his latest seminar, visit

The comments and observations expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the opinions of, nor should they be construed as an endorsement or admonishment of any particular idea, vendor, or organization.

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