Five steps in your Dentrix software when sending an account to collection

We hope that our patients never stiff us with an unpaid balance. However, it can happen … and it is important that your practice has a system for identifying your collection accounts. In your Dentrix software, there are five steps that I recommend you complete for every account that you send to collection. Yes, I do recommend that you use a reputable collection agency when you have unpaid account balances.

You can’t just sweep these unpaid balances under the rug and hope they somehow disappear into the universe somewhere. I see it all the time on the collection manager report where accounts are listed and the financial coordinator says, “Oh, I need to write that off. They are not paying that balance.”

These unpaid balances cannot just sit on your accounts receivable report and collect dust. You must have a systematic process to deal with these accounts and take the emotion out of it. I know it’s hard because you want to believe that the patient will walk in one day and apologize and write you a check for the balance. However, this is a slim reality.

Below are the five steps to put in place so you can effectively manage any past due accounts and the accounts that you send to a collection agency.

  1. Change the family billing type to the “Sent to Collection” number. Changing the billing type will allow you to filter the account from reports and billing statements.
  2. Inactivate all family members so they will drop off any continuing care lists and drop out of any automated communication you have set up with third-party software.
  3. Reject all unscheduled treatment plans. That way, if the patient ever does come back to the practice, you will start from scratch.
  4. Make sure to add a patient alert so that you will have a pop-up on all Dentrix modules if anyone from the family calls to schedule an appointment. This is probably the only time its okay to click “ALL” when creating a patient alert.
  5. Sending the family a dismissal letter is usually the one step that gets missed. I understand you don’t want to lose a patient. However, if the patient calls with a dental emergency, you must see him or her unless you have dismissed that patient out of your practice.

If you want to take a deep dive into this topic and the entire revenue management system, I would recommend my course “Your Guide to Managing Accounts Receivable” which will go through all aspects of A/R management.