Don’t Wait Until it Hurts

DeVon Banks, D-TECH CEO, was invited to be a guest columnist for Hiltz and Associates December newsletter. Check out her article below on the importance of putting things in to place to keep your practices A/R and accounts where they need to be.

Original article can be found HERE

“Don’t Wait Until It Hurts”

Don’t wait until it hurts” is the catchphrase many dentists use as they deliver patient education, both chairside, and in marketing pieces. 

How much of this advice do you follow in the way you deal with your business practices? The most common calls I get are from dentists who are distraught over not being able to meet payroll, facing a loan repayment, and help in dealing with the betrayal of employee embezzlement. 

Many of these challenges could have been avoided if a few checks and balances were in place to ensure proper monitoring of the practice’s accounts receivables along the way.  I’ve had to be the bearer of the bad news to many dentists about huge amounts of money is uncollected and unaccounted for – as much as $50,000 to $2.5 million. Oftentimes, the practice owner was completely unaware.

There are many tools available in most practice management systems to help you look for red flags, and assist with monitoring monies in and out of the practice. 

Here are a few of my favorites:

Password Protection One of the components of maintaining HIPAA compliance and protecting your patient data is password protection. It also serves as a way of ensuring accountability within your team. No passwords should ever be shared – especially those with administrator rights.

Audit Trail Reports An audit trail report tracks the entries, changes, and deletions of transactions and information in your practice management system. This is a great place to look for discrepancies and suspicious activity. It is usually tracked by login credentials and has date and time stamps.

Refund Reports All refunds to patients and insurance companies should have the approval of the practice owner.

Patient and Insurance Aging Reports While most dentists focus on what they are collecting, they should also pay attention to what is not being collected. Depending on practice volume, your aging reports, for both patient and insurance, should maintain specific limits to make sure you don’t miss timely filing deadlines, or exceed state statute of limitations for collection.

Adjustment Reports This is usually where the highest concentration of errors, omissions and over-application occurs. Adjustments should be kept to a minimum and reviewed regularly by the practice owner. Remember: If you don’t track it, you can’t measure it. And if you’re not measuring it, you’ll never be able to make improvements. Don’t wait until it hurts!