Getting Your Dental Practice Financials Back in Shape
You have your practice up and running in the new normal. You’ve already reengineered patient management to be ‘COVID proof’ at your office, for the health and safety of your patients as well as your staff. The pandemic has also likely forced you to limit the number of patients you can see each day. On top of that, you’ve probably also had some patients delay or cancel cleanings and treatments out of concern for themselves and possibly even economic hardship. That all translates to a simple math equation and it might not be pretty – costs up and revenue down. So, as a business owner or practice manager, how do you manage your way out of that?
Get back to the basics of dental practice cash flow management
There are numerous actions you can take– some more complicated than others. It’s important that you get your team focused on the basics, to begin with, in order to understand where your practice stands. That starts with revenue recovery. Dentistry is largely a cash business, so you need to make sure you’re collecting your cash and managing your expenses as efficiently and effectively as possible.
Recover lapsed patients to increase dental practice revenue
→ Make sure you are communicating regularly with your entire patient list to let them know that your practice is a safe environment.
Targeted communication. Create a specific communication for those who previously delayed, or canceled, their cleanings and treatments to bring them back in as soon as possible.
Expanded hours of operation. Depending on the response you may want to even think about extending your hours to accommodate your returning patients. An early start, or late finish for a few days to help secure revenue NOW may be preferable to pushing patients into next month and the resultant longer-term delay in their return cycle that this will cause.
Streamline your collection process
→ Ensure accurate predetermination of copays. Make sure the team is on top of copayment requirements before your patients arrive at your practice. This includes making accurate pre-determinations for specialist treatments. Any mistakes will mean you need to invoice your patients, which means payment delays and increases the risk of delinquency and write-offs.
Be on top of your past-due accounts. You can better manage this by having a process in place that notifies you and the team each week of pending balances and that reminds staff to try to collect outstanding accounts.
Understand your expenses and payment terms
Whether you have 40 patients a day, or 14, you will have many fixed costs that remain unchanged such as rent, maintenance and service fees, subscriptions, malpractice insurance, repayments, etc. Make sure you have a clear understanding of what these are. If you don’t already have one, put in place a financial process that ensures that you and the team are fully aware of the payment terms, so you don’t pay any earlier than you need to.
Train your team on revenue process and procedures
Now is the time to make sure your team is clear on what is needed to maximize dental practice revenue and manage dental practice expenses effectively.
Make sure the roles for each staff member are crystal clear and in writing. That is especially important for any new procedures you have introduced, or existing procedures you have modified. Don’t leave anyone thinking the other person was going to do that new task!
At NGT Academy we offer several dental practice management courses designed to help you successfully optimize the revenue cycle of your practice. You can check out some of them here:
- Financial Management Best Practices for Dental Office Managers Part 1&2
- Check out our catalog of courses → here
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