05.22.09 Issue #376 Forward This Newsletter To A Colleague

Bete Johnson
Director, Business Development
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YOUR FINANCIAL POLICY: Benefits for both practice and patient

A written financial policy can benefit both practices and their patients.  Especially in today’s tough economic environment, having a written document that details when the practice expects payment and what types of payment options are available for patients can minimize confusion, increase patient satisfaction and assist with case acceptance. 

By being able to clearly communicate a patient’s financial options, your team will be able to:

1. Increase treatment acceptance by eliminating fear of cost. Patients know up-front their payment options, and can easily choose one that fits their financial situation.

2. Ensure patients clearly understand how their insurance benefits work within the financial system of your practice. Plus, patients appreciate having payment options to bridge the gap between their benefits and fees for quality dentistry.

3. Increase patient satisfaction by minimizing confusion and miscommunication.

When dental teams clearly communicate the patient’s financial responsibilities and all payment options upfront, patients can quickly determine which financial arrangement works for their situation and can get the dentistry they want because the uncertainty and “fear of cost” issue has been addressed.

Creating a customized Financial Policy is easy to do, no matter what type of practice you have.  Set aside some time during your next team meeting and:

  1. Discuss your practice’s standard payment procedures.
  2. Discuss exceptions that are made and why. 
  3. Understand how payment policies affect your patients’ perception of the practice and their relationship with you.
  4. Role-play various case presentation scenarios to understand how a Financial Policy could impact success, both positively and negatively.  Once you’ve reached consensus and agreement, write the Financial Policy document.

CareCredit has made this process even easier by offering a complimentary and practical tool for practices who offer the program.  Dentists and their teams can go online to http://www.carecredit.com/FinancialPolicy to answer a short questionnaire that includes how insurance benefits are handled, which payment options are available and when payment is expected.  Almost instantly, the dental team can download and print their customized Financial Policy document to include in their new patient information packets, use as a visual aid during the treatment and fee discussion and to post on their practice’s website. 

Having spent the last 22 years listening to dental teams, gathering the best advice and techniques from leading dental experts and from some of the 75,000 dental offices currently offering the program, CareCredit combined this feedback to develop a customized Financial Policy that fits your practice's payment and insurance preferences.

Additionally, when the patient has determined his or her payment preference, a Patient Payment Agreement Form can be printed that details the financial arrangements agreed upon. A template with options is provided online so that each practice can modify their customized Financial Policy to include only the options the practice wants to offer.  Of course, dentists are advised to consult with their own advisors to ensure their payment policies comply with all state laws.

During these tough economic times, becoming more efficient is also important.   CareCredit has introduced a new computer desktop tool that gives practices instant access to the company’s powerful online practice building resources, including the Financial Policy, right from their desktop.  With just a few clicks, practices can access key management reports, submit applications, and process transactions easier and faster than ever before.  Plus, the desktop tool instantly connects dental teams to the popular online payment calculator, which is useful during the treatment and fee presentations to show patients just how easy it is to fit dentistry into their financial situation. 

Click here for more information on adding CareCredit.  Practices that currently offer CareCredit can log onto CareCredit’s website to create their free customized Financial Policy.

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