Dos and don'ts for practice finance: Minimizing overdue accounts

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In the postrecession economy, dentists are searching for ways to eliminate inefficiencies and tighten financial controls throughout their practices. One area that should get special attention is overdue accounts receivable. To avoid unnecessary losses and stress in the near future, dentists should take corrective action now.


Establish the rules from the start. Spell out when the balance of payment is due. Indicate that it is unacceptable to pay after this date. A well-informed patient will usually comply with the financial rules that the practice sets down.


Don't let accounts "slide." Give written notice that the reminder of the balance is due. If payment is not received, send up to two more written notices. Providing an actual written bill will have more urgency, and reminding them will help get the desired response.