Cash flow is imperative for the growth of any business or industry. But not all professionals are fully aware of the cash flow impact on the bottom line. That is because the importance of cash flow is much easier to identify in some professions than others. Losing control of money has caused more pain for some dentists in the dental industry than temporary red numbers on the bottom line. A practical cash management system, on the other hand, can provide an efficient life-sustaining cushion during the financial ups and down that can be expected at one time or another in most practices.
Once you understand the importance of cash flow control, it will be easier to follow the rules of good cash management. Here’s how to control cash flow during a busy period.
ESTABLISH PATIENT PAYMENT POLICIES UP FRONT
Before any patient come in for their first visit, it is advisable to ensure that schedulers establish expectations, which include:
- The Payment methods that should be accepted such as credit cards and online payments
- How to bill the treatments that the patient will pay out of their pocket if insurance won’t cover the full claims.
- Patient’s responsibility to confirm the extent their insurance provider will cover for simple preventive examinations and additional services that may be necessary during visits such as X-rays
When patients are held responsible for the treatment cost before entering the office, you can reduce the amount of the account (s) that you ultimately turn over to collections, have to charge off entirely or become the past due.
INVEST IN TECHNOLOGY THAT ELIMINATES THE INEFFICIENCY OF CLAIMS PROCESSING.
Your effort to reduce the inefficiencies in billing and claim process during a busy period remains an important aspect of controlling cash flow: invest in an affordable software solution that integrates with your standard EHR software to accelerate application submission.
LEVERAGE INDUSTRY EXPERTISE
It is advisable to engage a certified and professional bookkeeper. If you are currently not working with a bookkeeper specializing in dental industry practice, you’re missing out an opportunity to learn how to optimize your processes.
Also, prepare a regular cadence on cash flow reports. Furthermore, outline the major factors that are the most important contributors to challenges of cash flow. This will enable you to be ready to course-correct and regain cash flow on track. You may want to consider:
- Optimizing scheduling process to minimize patient no-shows, and improve the amount of time it takes to schedule patients, handle check-in, and complete cure treatment.
- Cross training of full-time staff to manage other tasks outside their primary duties.
Problems associated with cash flow can put your dental practice at risk and those that arise unexpectedly tend to be more costly especially in a busy period. It’s best to try these methods to reduce the uncertainty and efficiently control your cash flow. This will also help you develop an action plan when faced with cash flow constraints.
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