Give up $37 to receive $240

Dentrix Patient AlertI took a call just yesterday from a patient upset at the $75 fee to replace her son’s ortho retainer. Her son recently got his braces off, came in for the appointment to make the retainer, but didn’t return for 2 months to get the retainer. Not surprisingly, the retainer didn’t fit and the orthodontist charged her $75 to make a new one. She felt we didn’t inform her of how quickly teeth move and that this might happen and she didn’t want to pay the fee.

Since she is happy with the overall practice, I suggested that there is in fact a lab fee associated with making a new retainer, so how does she feel about splitting the $75 with me just to make sure the lab fee was paid? She was happy to meet me halfway. So I gave up about $37.

Next, I mentioned that I see her GP side account balance was $240 and since we had things working well on the ortho side, would she like to make arrangements with me to get this balance paid off? Why, yes – and she paid me 1/2 by credit card over the phone with an agreement to send me a check for the balance next week.

So – I gave up $37 to earn $240. Not a bad deal.

The takeway from this experience is: How do you have your collection notes set up in Dentrix? If your system is working, then your office manager has the information she needs as she picks up the phone to talk with the patient and solve a problem just like this one.

In our group, we use patient alerts as the best method for communicating collections issues. Thanks to the alert, I saw that this patient’s account balance was $240 and knowing this helped me handle the situation smoothly. By the end of the call, she’s thanking me for her help and I’m letting her know I’ll confirm the retainer adjustment with the orthodontist when he’s in on Friday. Gotta love it.

For more ideas to improve the business-side of your dental practice:

AUTHOR: Jill Nesbitt
1 Comment
  • Rochelle Johnson, CDA

    As an assistant, it is my job to inform patients of little tidbits of information like: after a temporary crown is placed I explain how to floss, no sticky foods which includes gum, and so on, and why so that they understand. It’s very irritating to have patients come in without a temp and tell the dentist that they were not informed not to chew gum. Same thing might have happened with your retainer patient’s mom. The assistant told them why they needed to be back on their appt day and mom told you she wasn’t told. I keep thinking I want to have patients sign/initial that they have received instruction sheets. Actually, they wouldn’t have to remember all the instructions at the office, but they could refer to it as necessary at home.

    March 4, 2012