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What is the number one reason for patient's dissatisfaction with their dental office?

Posted on October 8, 2015 at 6:55 PM

Q: What is the number one reason for patient's dissatisfaction with their dental office?

A: Billing/financial issues. When we start our training with our clients, the first thing we teach is how to correctly put together financial agreements with patients. This includes a lot of scripted verbiage to communicate with patients our expectations, what we anticipate insurance will do for the patient (often what insurance will NOT DO for the patient, LOL), and make sure that information is secured in a signed agreement between both parties. Few key pearls we can give you

1. We DO NOT estimate insurance, but rather we tell the patient that "We would like to collect $____to start the procedure. We will send a claim to the insurance and when the claim resolves we will resolve the balance that could be a balance due or a credit." The amount we collect at time of service is close to what we expect insurance to pay, but we do not tell the patient that because they hold us to it and as we know insurance plays their own game and is unpredictable even with a pre-determination.

2. We encourage 3 or 5% pre-payment at time of diagnosis for their next visit and schedule them. This commits a patient to the appointment and prevents no shows. (It also increases your cash flow)

3. We put a "?" in the field that says remaining balance due because we want to reiterate that we really do not know what the insurance is going to do. Then we are not locked into predicting what the insurance will pay exactly.

4. We do not send pre-determinations. This step is a waiting game and prevents booking the schedule. We all know that pre-determinations are NOT a guarantee of payments! It says it right on the pre-determination form.

5. We prepare the FA (financial agreement) for ALL procedures without exceptions, even for insurance companies that pay 100%. That's because if they don't eat it! Because, the patient will tell you that they would have not proceeded if they knew they would have to pay out of pocket, etc.

Here is a sample financial agreement from our website.

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Reply Valerie
7:46 PM on October 13, 2015 
Great facts! It all narrows down to patient care and billing. We collect a down payment upon scheduling but still high no show/canc on scheduled appointments. What to do when patients want a refund on pre paid appointments?
I once suggested to my doctor that we should eliminate the broken appointment fee and create a deposit fee towards scheduled treatment. When your in an office with high turn over with staff and doctors, patient retention is hard but not impossible to improve with the right approach and strategies. In my opinion
Reply ★ Owner
10:08 AM on November 1, 2015 
When patients want a refund it is an indication that they did not buy the value. Turn over of team members kills practices. The number one reason for turn over is lack of sound systems. Everyone just does whatever they want and there is chaos people can not handle due to stress. Cancellation fees create irate patients that destroy your reputation.
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