Tag Archives: Dental

Has Your Medical/Dental Practice Had It’s “Checkup?”

13 Apr

There are many things that can cause a busy medical or dental practice to be less profitable that it could be.

Meet Dr. Bob and how he found the answer to higher profits and better cash flow for his practice.

Is Your Collection Agency Putting Your Medical or Dental Practice at Risk?

11 Apr

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The collection agency industry is highly regulated and there are numerous laws on the books designed to protect consumers, which make it more difficult to collect. While it costs agencies more to be legally compliant and hinders their collections efforts, not complying can lead to class action suits and sanctions against the agency (and possibly their clients) that are more costly in the long run if not fatal to the agency’s very existence. Lets examine how this affects your practice.

The Laws You Know

Most Practice Administrators are familiar with the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) of 1978 which creates a set of guidelines that collection agencies are required to follow as well as penalties for not adhering to the Act. Additionally, practices are familiar with HIPAA laws and the security requirements of Protected Health Information (PHI).

But Do You Know About These Laws?

Despite having been a law since 1991, most practices are not familiar with the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA)  which also impacts collections. Among other provisions of the TCPA (such as calls can only be made between 8am and 9pm), the TCPA prohibits the use of automated dialers to cell phones or leaving automated messages on cell phones. While auto-dialers represent a technological efficiency that allows a collection agency to make more frequent calls and collect more money, their use is not compliant with the TCPA when the phone number the patient has provided the practice with is a cell phone. In order to be TCPA compliant when calling a cell phone, it must be manually dialed. Even if a live collector will be connected with the consumer upon pick up, a cell phone can not be dialed using a computer.

Medical Collections Impact

A recent data analysis by Transworld Systems, a large national collection agency specializing in medical collections, revealed that 60% of the phone numbers that their medical practice clients are obtaining from patients are cell phones. In order to avoid fines of $1500 per incident and class action suits, Transworld Systems has enforced strict policies of identifying and separating land line numbers from cell phone numbers. Additional research is conducted to see if the patient also has a land line which can be put on an auto-dialer to obtain better contact rates.

What does all this mean for your practice?

Today with the ever-changing federal and state regulations, you need to ask more questions of your collections vendor to find out if they are compliant with all laws. Ensure your practice cannot be named as a co-defendant in a potential class action suit should your agency be accused of being non-compliant. It is important to have a Hold Harmless Agreement in your collection agency contract where the agency agrees to hold your practice free from responsibility for any liability or damage that might arise out of their collection activities. Ask questions first before you have to answer for shortcuts or missteps later that could result in hefty fines for lack of compliance. It is paramount to ensure your company of choice is an expert in their field who stays abreast of, and quickly adapts to, the seemingly endless stream of regulations designed to protect consumers rights, often at the expense of their creditors.

Here is a sample list of questions to ask your current agency and any potential collection agency you are considering working with:

1.    Is your company compliant with TCPA, HIPAA and familiar with state laws regarding collections?

This is not a yes/no question, they should be able to provide additional information including how often their collectors are re-tested for compliance and how their performance is monitored for compliance.

2.    Does your company perform background checks on collectors in required states?

3.    How are cell-phone calls handled?

If they dont maintain a separate policy for handling cell phone calls, that should be a red flag to you to find another vendor.

4.    Do you know what PHI is and what steps do you take to ensure its security during storage as well as communication with our practice?Ask how they receive data from their clients (do they accept secure electronic encrypted data or do they expect you to fax or mail patient files which are more easily compromised?) Do they provide you with a secure website to view collections status and if not, do they at least have the ability to encrypt emails when attaching a list of status updates which include PHI.

5.    Is your company licensed to collect in all states?

Even if your patients are primarily local to your office, sometimes they move out of state and your agency will have to be compliant with the laws that govern the patients new residence.

6.    Is your company bonded and insured?

Ask for copies of the documents proving bonding and insurance to make sure your money wont disappear if your agency goes out of business, either as a result of poor performance or as a result of a fatal class action suit.

Call me at 888-780-1333 for a 100% compliant option that will keep you and your practice safe during these times of changing and ever-increasing regulations.

RECOGNIZING THE FOUR PATIENT PAYER TYPES

20 Mar

The way that healthcare approached patient payers in the past no longer works nearly as effectively as it once did.  With the dramatic rise in high deductible health plans (HDHP) and higher co-pays, collecting patient balances quickly and effectively is imperative.  The “one size fits all” approach is dead, both in follow-up and collections of slow-pay and delinquents accounts.

Reasons for a patient not paying the bill when due can be varied.  Some don’t pay on time because of financial reasons, many times because of the high deductibles in their health plan.  Others have the funds but, due to confusion surrounding their insurance policy, aren’t sure the balance is correct.  Others are simply too disorganized to remember to find the statement and pay the bill when they have the money.  Still others feel that their insurance has paid enough and the practice should be satisfied with that.  Some will say, “that doctor is rich, he doesn’t need my money!”

It is a delicate balance that practices must strike to be aggressive enough to motivate the patient to pay the bill without being so aggressive that the practice risks losing what might be a profitable patient in the future.  Some practices spend great deals of money with internal follow-up through statements, phone calls and letters, not realizing that each contact with a patient in follow-up internally can cost the practice between $10-12.  That expense, not to mention the staff time and attention this takes, can wind up making the whole follow-up proposition more expensive than it is actually worth.

So what is a practice supposed to do?

We, at TSI (formerly known as Transworld Systems) have determined that there are actually four distinct types of patient payers.  Each is motivated in a different way to pay the bill, and it is a mistake to treat them all the same.  They are:

THE DUTIFUL PAYER

The dutiful payer feels a keen responsibility to pay their debts in a timely manner.  They are motivated to pay the bill by the initial statement you send following patient responsibility.  Fortunately, they are (or should be) the largest category in your practice.

THE DISTRACTED PAYER

The distracted payer has the very best intentions to pay your bill, but they seem to be so busy and distracted that they misplace your statement or just forget to pay it.  Timely reminders are sufficient to motivate them to get that bill paid.

THE DISRESPECTFUL PAYER

The disrespectful payer tries to see what they can get away with, and hope that you will give up trying to collect the bill if they dodge you long enough.  They do not respond to your statements, letters, or phone calls.  Rather it will take a contact by a third party collection agency for them to be convinced that the practice is serious about collecting the debt.  That alone will motivate them to pay, and they will generally pay the bill after they receive the first contact by that third party.

PROFESSIONAL DEBTOR

The professional debtor never intended to pay the bill when they received service.  They are likely in collections with other creditors already.  These, and these alone, need to be in the hands of professional collectors, familiar with medical debt, before too much time has elapsed and too much money has already been spent chasing them.

TSI offers a free interface that works with virtually all dental software to help you identify which type of category each patient falls into, and tools to communicate with them in an appropriate manner.  The practice retains control of each account, and the type of communication that is being used on a particular patient.  These tools eliminate the need for the practice to continue time-consuming internal chasing of accounts at a cost that is generally less than they are spending on follow up currently.

For a full description of the tools and services provided by TSI, please call 888-780-1333 to speak to me personally, or email me at david.wiener@transworldsystems.com.

 

Top 10 Reasons Why Dentists Should Carry Their Own Dental Coverage

8 Jun

CFS DENTAL OFFICE

If you have a dental practice, you should seriously consider setting up your own self-administered dental plan.  Here’s why:

  • Dental insurance covers less and costs more every year for patients
  • Dental insurance pays the dental office less and less every year
  • You can customize a dental coverage plan to meet the specific needs of your practice
  • Patients and staff always know how much is covered and what remains
  • Far easier to administer than conventional insurance plans
  • Makes dental care more affordable to the patient, resulting in more treatment plan acceptance
  • Provides treatment to patient immediately
  • The dentist earns a greater portion of service than paid by insurance companies
  • Patients will stay in the practice longer
  • Patients will get treatment they would otherwise neglect.

The purpose of the Private Dental Plan program is to help the patient receive immediate and personalized service through a dental service plan and allow the dentist to keep more money for their services.  This self-administered dental service plan allows dental offices to offer access to dental coverage for those who would not normally be able to afford it.

Through my new affiliation with Dental Practice Services, Inc., I am now able to assist practices in getting set up with such a plan.  Please contact me for more information about how your practice can benefit from a personalized self-administered dental plan.

RECOGNIZING THE FOUR PATIENT PAYER TYPES

12 Feb

The way that healthcare approached patient payers in the past no longer works nearly as effectively as it once did.  With the dramatic rise in high deductible health plans (HDHP) and higher co-pays, collecting patient balances quickly and effectively is imperative.  The “one size fits all” approach is dead, both in follow-up and collections of slow-pay and delinquents accounts.

Reasons for a patient not paying the bill when due can be varied.  Some don’t pay on time because of financial reasons, many times because of the high deductibles in their health plan.  Others have the funds but, due to confusion surrounding their insurance policy, aren’t sure the balance is correct.  Others are simply too disorganized to remember to find the statement and pay the bill when they have the money.  Still others feel that their insurance has paid enough and the practice should be satisfied with that.  Some will say, “that doctor is rich, he doesn’t need my money!”

It is a delicate balance that practices must strike to be aggressive enough to motivate the patient to pay the bill without being so aggressive that the practice risks losing what might be a profitable patient in the future.  Some practices spend great deals of money with internal follow-up through statements, phone calls and letters, not realizing that each contact with a patient in follow-up internally can cost the practice between $10-12.  That expense, not to mention the staff time and attention this takes, can wind up making the whole follow-up proposition more expensive than it is actually worth.

So what is a practice supposed to do?

We, at TSI (formerly known as Transworld Systems) have determined that there are actually four distinct types of patient payers.  Each is motivated in a different way to pay the bill, and it is a mistake to treat them all the same.  They are:

THE DUTIFUL PAYER

The dutiful payer feels a keen responsibility to pay their debts in a timely manner.  They are motivated to pay the bill by the initial statement you send following patient responsibility.  Fortunately, they are (or should be) the largest category in your practice.

THE DISTRACTED PAYER

The distracted payer has the very best intentions to pay your bill, but they seem to be so busy and distracted that they misplace your statement or just forget to pay it.  Timely reminders are sufficient to motivate them to get that bill paid.

THE DISRESPECTFUL PAYER

The disrespectful payer tries to see what they can get away with, and hope that you will give up trying to collect the bill if they dodge you long enough.  They do not respond to your statements, letters, or phone calls.  Rather it will take a contact by a third party collection agency for them to be convinced that the practice is serious about collecting the debt.  That alone will motivate them to pay, and they will generally pay the bill after they receive the first contact by that third party.

PROFESSIONAL DEBTOR

The professional debtor never intended to pay the bill when they received service.  They are likely in collections with other creditors already.  These, and these alone, need to be in the hands of professional collectors, familiar with medical debt, before too much time has elapsed and too much money has already been spent chasing them.

TSI offers a free interface that works with virtually all dental software to help you identify which type of category each patient falls into, and tools to communicate with them in an appropriate manner.  The practice retains control of each account, and the type of communication that is being used on a particular patient.  These tools eliminate the need for the practice to continue time-consuming internal chasing of accounts at a cost that is generally less than they are spending on follow up currently.

For a full description of the tools and services provided by TSI, please call 888-780-1333 to speak to me personally, or email me at david.wiener@transworldsystems.com.

 

Don’t Miss This Great Business Tax Credit

1 Feb

In 2104, Congress approved a tax credit for businesses as a part of the Affordable Care Act.  Don’t miss out on this tax credit that could save employers thousands, tens of thousands, and even hundreds of thousands each year.

Medical and Dental Practices, What Would You Do?

7 Jan
WWYDLogoWhat would you do if your patient data was stolen or a fire or flood destroyed your office?  Suppose one of your employees opened a malicious e-mail and your patient data was encrypted and held for ransom?   I know this sounds absurd, but just Google “data for ransom”.  What would be your first step?  With most medical records being stored digitally, it’s not a matter of if you’ll experience an incident regarding your electronic patient information; it’s a matter of when.
Technology is moving so fast in every industry, but in the medical industry, technology advancements are leading to more and more protected health information (PHI) theft and data breaches.   Patient information is not being properly protected. As you are well aware, protecting your patient’s confidential information is the law. Computers, laptops, e-mail, mobile devices, and thumb drives, all store and send ePHI.  Without the proper controls in place, your patient information can easily fall into the wrong hands, exposing your OMS practice to large governmental fines, and reputational risk.
HIPAA just announced that they will be conducting random audits starting in 2016.  Their pilot audit program revealed that many small to mid – size medical practices are not taking the necessary steps to protect their patient information and are not complying with even the basic HIPAA Security and Privacy Laws.   The HIPAA Security Rule now mandates that every practice take an annual risk assessment. The government also strengthened its ability to enforce the law in medical practices with fines reaching up to $50,000 per violation with a maximum $1.5 million annual penalty.  This is why Cash Flow Strategies is recommending PCIHIPAA, as a dedicated source for protecting your practice.
Cash Flow Strategies has many of our clients participating in their Compliance Program.  They have agreed to provide a complimentary HIPAA Risk Assessment (a $599 value).  You can take the Risk Assessment online and immediately receive your risk score with no further obligation.  I encourage you to take 5 to 10 minutes as soon as possible to complete the Risk Assessment  by clicking here. You’ll receive a 23- page Risk Analysis, and a 30-minute consultation that you can also schedule online.
Just click here to start your Risk Assessment.  It will be a great way to start your practice off on the right track in 2016.

GETTING MONEY FOR YOUR COMPANY OR MEDICAL/DENTAL PRACTICE HAS NEVER BEEN EASIER

9 Dec

Are you a small to mid-sized business or practice who needs fast cash to use as working capital?

Getting the money you need for your company has never been easier.  If you need $25,000 – $1,000,000, we can offer a high-quality alternative to banks.  Traditional bank loans can be sluggish, and often deserving small businesses get turned down.  That’s why we have set up a no-hassle application process to make access to working capital simple for business owners like you.

  • All credit histories considered (no minimum FICO score)
  • No complicated paperwork
  • Quick approval times (24-48 hours and even same-day)
  • Transparent Rates and Fees

Unlike banks, we don’t require a formal business plan or collateral.  If you answer yes to the following questions, you are eligible:

  1. Do you have bank statements for the past 6 months?
  2. Have you been in business for the last one year?
  3. Do you have $25,000 in gross sales per month?

In just a few easy steps, you can be on your way to a renovated facility, state-of-the-art technology, marketing and advertising campaigns that get the customers coming through your door, or any other business expense.

Don’t wait.  Call today at 770-783-9523 or 888-780-1333 to get your application started.

Cash Flow Strategies, Inc.

 

 

INSURANCE MONEY WON’T PAY YOUR BILLS ANYMORE, DOC!

16 Jun

I was told today by a doctor that he refrains from pushing too hard to collect from a patient who owes him money, because of all the money he makes on the patient from insurance companies.  He is willing to write off patient balances, to keep making insurance money from the patient visits, and doesn’t want to offend the patient into leaving the practice by insisting he pay his bill.

This is the general attitude many doctors had 25-30 years ago.  It may have had some validity back them but times have changed!  Insurance money alone will not keep your doors open and your lights on any more doc.  You are putting your practice in jeopardy by not seeing what is happening around you!

High deductible health plans are the norm these days, and co-insurance is rising all the time.  Despite what the government tells us, there are more and more patients who do not have insurance, or have adequate insurance.  Self pay is now the highest payer in the medical world behind Medicare and Medicaid, and it is catching up fast.  According to recent statistics, patient balances now represent over 35% of a doctors income and soon, if major changes aren’t made, will be over 50%.

You can’t wish it away, or ignore it away.  You MUST find a way to motivate patients to pay you, and pay you faster than before.

Medicine, whether you like or not, or understand it or not, is a business.  You are trading a service for money, and the patient knows it.  They also know when you are leaving them alone about their bill so that you can continue to collect insurance money. Not only do they know, but guess who they tell?  EVERYBODY!!!  And guess what happens?  You get all the patients who don’t want to pay their bills.  Great!  Until, that is, until you watch your patient A/R go through the roof.  By the time you see this happen, you are already in trouble.

Don’t waste time.  There are automated tools to help your practice both maintain your good relationships with your patients, AND get them to pay you their portion of the bill sooner.  Call me today at 888-780-1333 and I will tell you about them.  Isn’t it worth 20-30 minutes of your time to keep the lights on in your practice over the long haul?

Is It Time To Dismount?

5 May

My father was a wise man. He used to tell me, “If you find out that your horse has died, it is a good idea to dismount.”

I’ve found, in my experience, that many medical and dental practices are riding a dead horse, and it is definitely time to dismount.

How many things in your practice are being done the same way they were 20 years ago? 10 years? 5 years? If you are like most practices, your answer will be “nothing!” But, if you think about it, the one thing that is being done the same way it has been for a long time is the way you collect money from patients and insurance companies that owe you money.

Sending a monthly statement, and calling (when you get the time to do so) does not work any more to motivate your slow pay and delinquent patients to pay your bill. Calling, waiting on hold, and nagging insurance companies doesn’t get you paid on time either. And do you have any idea how much having employees on hold that long will cost you in a month?

Over the years, we have determined that there are four distinct types of patient payers. Each one requires a different approach to motivate them to pay you, and it is a mistake to treat all of them the same. It is hard, if not impossible, for you to determine which is which quickly and inexpensively in-house.

We have also found a much more economical and effective way to motivate the insurance companies who are dragging their feet, making excuses, and ignoring your calls to get you paid faster.

Transworld Systems can help you update and automate your A/R processes for both insurance and patients. The cost will normally be less than what you are paying now to do what you do in-house, and the results will be MUCH better than riding a “dead horse.”

Contact David Wiener at 888-780-1333 or email me at david.wiener@transworldsystems.com

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