Advanced Billing and Consulting Services (ABCS RCM) provides dental billing help as well as general healthcare-focused RCM services. As a medical billing company, we have noticed that there are three main issues that dental providers often face. Wherever a practitioner is located, they will still have to overcome the following challenges.
- Maintaining staff: For many organizations, staffing is always an issue. How do you hire, train and retain new people? Dental practitioners often have the same problem. They want to possess an expert staff in order to develop a level of consistency in their practice. Some patients are anxious just by being in a dental office, the staff should not increase this level of anxiety. Offices need to be calm and positive. If patients are relaxed during their visit, they are more willing to pay balances and refer friends or family. In order to remedy this issue, dental providers should consider outsourcing the more stressful parts of the practice. Dental practitioners need to know their strengths and weaknesses. There are companies that specialize in claims submission, timely filing limits, pre-determination, accounts receivable, etc. Instead of waiting on the phone and haggling with insurance providers, a dental staff should focus on appointment check-ins/outs, answering customer phone calls and general patient interactions. In addition, practitioners can submit and render more claims as well as likely increase their overall cash flow and revenue. This allows them to have the accounts receivable of a much larger office, but maintain a more relaxed small office feel. In the end, if current or prospective patients are ignored, or not given the staff’s full attention, the second challenge will occur.
- Attracting and retaining patients: In many regions of the United States, there is stiff competition between dental providers. In many urban areas, there are numerous dentists located in close proximity to each other. Finding new patients is usually more of a challenge for smaller dental practices versus larger facilities. Smaller practices have limited budgets, which makes it difficult to compete with a larger facilities’ advertising and marketing strategies. However, smaller practices can maximize their patient interaction by making sure the patient is the center of attention. Patients want a dentist, and other healthcare providers, to be professional, but still provide an authentic interaction. They do not want to be just another number. To meet this challenge, it is wise to outsource the uncomfortable task of contacting patients about missing payments, deductibles and denied claims. This is an awkward activity that can generate considerable negativity toward the person making the missing payment inquiry. Practitioners went to school for dentistry, not account receivable/receivable and collections. Patients should not connect negative feelings and anxiety with a dental practice. This will keep that patient as a satisfied customer and make word-of-mouth referrals more likely.
- Reduction of dental insurance: Federal health laws require public and private insurance to cover dental care for children. However, these laws do not give adults the same protected dental coverage. Dentists know that billable rates and collection percentages have been dropping for many years. Yet, there is an expansion in the pool of patients covered by dental benefits through the Affordable Care Act. The erosion of private dental insurance, cost increases, as well as a limited number of dentists who accept public insurance has fueled a decline in visits by working-age adults (ages 19-64) across income levels. In 2011, only 36 percent of working-age adults saw a dentist, and more than one-quarter had untreated tooth decay. In order to research and optimize a patient’s insurance coverage, a dental provider needs expert staff in order to carry out this task. Ideally, this task would be carried out by someone who has the time and resources to specialize in this kind of work. Otherwise, the office staff may find themselves constantly on the computer or phone, instead of greeting and interacting with patients.
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Dental Billing, Healthcare Billing, Dental Providers