Develop and Follow a Credit Policy

Even minor adjustments to your credit policy can help grow your practice. Do your patients make small monthly payments? Do they extend their payments over a long period of time? Do they wait to make payments until they receive late payment statements or additional late fees have been added? A credit policy can address these issues and more. The first, most important step is to make sure your practice has a written credit policy. Of course, the policy’s only helpful if it’s followed. Make sure it’s understood by everyone in the practice, particularly front desk and billing personnel. New patients should receive a copy of the policy as well.

While it’s important for all staff to know the policy, make one individual responsible for delivering it. Rather than discuss the options and structure of payments in the treatment room, arrange for your credit manager or office manager to meet with patients before treatment is provided to explain the cost for a procedure, together with payment options.

What should your policy include?

• Expected timing of payments

• Expected payment on day of treatment for certain services

• Collection of co-payments

• Patient payment options, and if installment payments are available

• When payments will go to collections

• How billing for emergency situations is handled

• How the office assists patients with insurance claim problems A best practice to implement within your policy is to verify benefits and arrange payments as the patient walks in the door—not after the work is complete. You should also regularly review aging accounts and payments that have been written off to make sure the policy is being followed.

Compliments of Schenck CPA’s