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  The Business side of things: LH Financial Agreement System
Posted by: Brian on Wednesday, September 13, 2006 - 05:15 PM
  Accounts receivable
763 Reads

PracticeWorks doesn't have a great place to record any financial agreement you reach with a patient (sorry, Yellow Stickies weren't designed for this!), and no way to print out any such financial agreement. We've solved that problem with the Lighthouse Financial Agreement System. It consists of a Financial Agreement Form, where you document the pertinent amounts, the payment option chosen by the patient, and the dates/amounts of all payments due; a Financial Agreement Document that prints out all the information on the Form, reiterates your financial policy, and has a place for the patient to sign; AutoLinks for accessing the Form and printing the Document as automatically as possible.

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  The Business side of things: New Patient, Financial Policy and CC on File System
Posted by: Brian on Thursday, April 21, 2005 - 10:47 AM
  Accounts receivable
933 Reads

"You only get one chance to make a first impression." How often have we heard that? But cliches endure for a reason - they're often true! Here's something else that's true: you only get one ideal chance to introduce your policies and procedures to patients, and that's when they are a brand new patient. As soon as a new patient becomes an existing patient, it's more difficult to get them to adapt to a policy "change" than if you had conveyed it to them from the first visit.

While we're on the subject of truisms, we believe that the most effective and efficient way of ensuring you get paid for any dentistry not covered by an insured patient's insurance is to have credit card information on file, with authorization to use it if necessary. This is effective because, unless the charge to the card is declined, you will get paid. It's efficient because it allows you to be a lot more relaxed about the estimate at the time of service (saving you a huge amount of time), knowing that you'll be able to easily deal with the differences after the claim has been paid (or denied).

Combine everything so far, and the new patient visit is the ideal time to introduce your financial policy (which incorporates "CC on file") to your new patients, which is the main point of this article, and the associated Exchange Pack.

Notice I didn't say "errors" two paragraphs up, but rather "differences." This is consistent with something else we firmly believe: the harder you try to tell patients exactly how much their insurance will pay, the more they'll expect it, and the more disappointed they'll be when insurance doesn't pay that much. Besides, it takes a LOT of work to do that, and no matter how hard you try, you're still going to be wrong sometimes. So why put forth all that effort?

Something else about this "CC on file" policy: don't worry about your existing patients. They have already established themselves as someone who pays their bills or not, and if not, it's probably too late to start getting credit card information from them. And if they're a good payer, you don't need the "CC on file." So our advice is to implement this policy only for new patients. That's all built into this Exchange Pack and article.

The system described below takes into account all three of the above truths, fully automating a new patient letter and financial policy, then the gathering and periodic updating of "CC on file" information. You can use all of it or only part of it (but please consider using it all - the results can be dramatic!). Also, it will easily accommodate your exceptions - existing patients for whom you decide to get "CC on file" info, and new patients who you decide to exempt from the policy.

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  PracticeWorks: The TRUTH about version 5 account splitting
Posted by: Joel on Thursday, September 23, 2004 - 06:10 PM
  Accounts receivable
523 Reads

There has been a lot of discussion around here about the "problem" with splitting accounts in version 5. Wanting to understand more, I decided to dig a little further and find out what the fuss is all about, what the TRUE problems are, etc. After about an hour of poking around, here is what I found.

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  The Business side of things: Preventing New Emergency Patients From Becoming Painful For YOU
Posted by: Brian on Monday, July 19, 2004 - 07:36 AM
  Accounts receivable
753 Reads

One of the most frequent sources of problem accounts is the new patient emergency - they call, you squeeze them into your schedule, get them out of pain, somehow they leave without paying their entire balance, and then the fun begins. Statements, calls, letters, and eventually sending them to collections. The other side of the coin is that a new patient who comes to you in pain can become a good patient, with a lot of dental needs and the ability and willingness to pay for it. Your challenge is figuring out what kind of NPE (New Patient - Emergency) you're dealing with, in about a minute, on the phone.

Allen and Bridgett were faced with this dilemma years ago, when the practice was young and they were very eager to get lots of new patients. But Allen, being the astute business manager that he is, actually wanted to make sure they got paid for all the work Bridgett did. (What a concept!) Here's what they started doing, and it has worked wonderfully for them, and we're sure it will work for you, too.

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  The Business side of things: Lighthouse Accounts Receivable Management Pack
Posted by: Allen on Friday, May 30, 2003 - 01:40 PM
  Accounts receivable
2768 Reads

Once a dental office is started and has established regular pateint visits - both new and existing - the biggest challenge that faces a practice is Accounts Receivable Management. It can be as simple as being a pure cash practice with all payments paid prior to any service being rendered and can be as complicated as significant insurance assignment / capitation along with internal finance plans and no firm financial policy resulting in patients determining how they will provide payment to your office. This article will describe a way of handling A/R that is the result of 9 years of evolution in both overall practice philosophy, practice business policies, and PracticeWorks automation extensions to help imlement and support the fulfillment of the philosophy and policies.

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