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Presenting the Cost of Treatment

Presenting the cost of treatmentDr and staff and collections can be tricky issues with doctors and their staff. On one hand, you want the patient to appreciate you and the care you provide but on the other, you must be aware you’re your dental office is still a business and collecting payment is a necessary evil. Having a staff that has been thoroughly trained is key; they must do the legwork for you and, if trained properly, they will be invaluable assets to your practice.

A doctor who is doing his own collections will give the impression of being greedy and unconcerned with a patient’s well being. When a patient asks the doctor how much a procedure costs, the doctor should always refer back to his or her administrative staff by saying something like, “I’m the doctor and I specialize in healthcare but my team can help you with any insurance questions or financial concerns. I’ll be back shortly to check on you,” then exit the room while an administrative staff member addresses financial questions. OR, if a patient asks about the cost of treatment options, be frank with them and say, “Well, a root canal and crown costs more now but an extraction will cost you more in the long run. I’m not sure of the exact fees, but our business coordinator can give you all the details.”

The recommendation is to have your staff come into the treatment room or into a designated financial office where there is complete privacy. A person who is trained as a dental assistant or has a good understanding of dental procedures is recommended to discuss treatment as patients will likely have questions during this meeting. It is also extremely helpful to have clear intraoral pictures so the financial adviser can leave these on a screen as they explain the costs for treatment. Patients should have a clear image of what the doctor has seen to emphasize a need for the services as it is much harder to “sell” a root canal to someone who hasn’t experienced any discomfort than it is to someone who can see an abscess on a digital x-ray.

Train your staff to always be empathic. A smile, a kind word, and a personal comment like, “I completely understand having to make payments – I have two children myself and they are BOTH in karate. It definitely gets expensive!” goes a long way. Your financial advisors should be a balance of personable and assertive. You want them to be firm in collecting payment and convey the message that any payment arrangements are binding contracts while maintaining the image of a caring practice.

Would You Like To Know More? Use the “Ask the Expert” feature on our Website.

~Written By Rachael Armstrong



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