Do's and don'ts for staying on top of collections

2016 11 18 14 42 01 206 Practice Success2 400

Production -- no matter how much it increases -- doesn't count unless the practice collects its fees. Review your policies and do what's needed to tighten up collections.

Require payment, including co-pays, upfront. File accurate insurance claims quickly, and stay on top of the insurance companies. Finally, pursue overdue accounts diligently with the Rule of Threes: three phone calls (preferably cell) a week for three weeks, then three emails a week for three weeks, and finally three letters a week for three weeks.


Review your collections process. If your collections rate is less than 99%, take a close look at the systems you're using to collect overdue fees. Start with these questions:

  • Do you have documented, step-by-step systems for your financial coordinator to follow?
  • Is your financial coordinator fully trained on those systems?
  • Are there set times when your team member works on collecting overdue accounts?

If you answered "no" to any of these questions, you need to improve your collections process.


Don't procrastinate on overdue accounts. The longer you wait for overdue payments, the less likely you are to collect. Contact patients who owe money to the practice when they're one day past due. This will send a clear message that you're serious about collections. Also, use "an ounce of prevention" and try to collect all fees, including co-pays, at the time of service.

Roger P. Levin, DDS, is the CEO of Levin Group, a leading dental management consulting firm, and one of the most sought-after speakers in dentistry. Dr. Levin has authored 65 books and more than 4,000 articles on dental practice management and marketing. You can sign up for the Levin Group Tip of the Day.

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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