Assess patients' financial options. When the crisis has abated, some patients may find themselves unable to meet financial obligations. Be open to renegotiating payment plans and offering patient financing. These choices aren't fun to think about, but it is a good business protocol to identify these options now and be prepared. Keep in mind that during the recovery, receiving a reduced-level payment or payment over time is better than no payment.
Don't forget to track and plan for overdue patients. Contact all patients for them to come back to the practice as soon as you have hours available. Levin Group teaches the "3-3-3" method, which dictates that you call every overdue patient at least three times once a week. If you can't reach the patient in three phone calls, then try sending three text messages once a week and then three emails. If you still can't reach them or they ignore you, move to a 90-day cycle. And remember to be flexible when scheduling. You can get patients in sooner by adding extra hours to the workday, working on typical days off, and working on Saturdays.
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.
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