I received this question from a client recently and thought you might find it of interest.
Q: We have a patient who has emailed asking if we can re-instate him as a patient. He said his balance of $43 that was not paid was an oversight on his part and he would like to come back. He paid the $43 after receiving a certified mail return receipt Termination Letter a few weeks ago. We have never had a request from a patient to come back after receiving a term letter, but then again we just this year have gotten proactive in handling lingering accounts. If we do let him come back is there a specific process?
A: Was this a good patient before this 'oversight'? Did he normally keep his appointments? Was there a reason he felt he did not owe the $43, or was he experiencing financial issues and was embarrassed to discuss them with the practice? A review of your office financial and scheduling policy might be in order as well. Are signatures expected? Do you have updated signatures? Have policies changed since this patient signed the original one?
My advice - let him return to the practice on a 'trial' basis, which means until he proves to be a reliable patient, pays his bills on time and keeps his appointments, I would expect payment in full at the time of service. If the patient has dental insurance, and your practice is participating, ask that he pay his anticipated portion at the time of service, and have a credit card authorization on file for any balances after the insurance pays.
Doctor, do you have a financial and scheduling policy in place to deal with situations like this? If not, please contact me to discuss how we can work together to develop a plan that is right for you and your practice.
Jan Keller is an experienced dental practice management consultant and speaker who has helped 100's of dental professionals across the U.S. and internationally achieve a higher level of success, profitability and enjoyment in their dental practice.