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Working with Difficult Patients- 6

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Difficult Patient #6- The Dentist-n-Dash


These Dentist-n-Dash patients might be the most frustrating for dentists. Services are rendered, repairs look great and the patient has no complaints…until it comes time to pay their bill.  Trying to track down a patient with an outstanding balance and getting them to pay, regularly, can be very time-consuming.  Additionally, for every minute a team focuses on collecting past business dues, the office is losing money on future business prospects.


Consumers are still highly in debt.  Some are trying to manage all of their monthly bills and it’s difficult for them to prioritize and make all collectors happy. The average American consumer does not engage in services to become delinquent in their financial responsibility.  Many households are needing to pick and choose which bills get paid each month while maintaining some semblance of normalcy.  Do consumers still have iPhones, drive nice cars, and carry their Starbucks cup like a badge of social honor?  Yes they do.  No one likes to sacrifice.  That’s a reality.


Review your processes and systems for receiving payments.  Make sure they are as simple as possible by including credit/debit card processing, automatic withdrawal payments, and check processing.  Have your system automated where reminders are sent via text, email, and postal letter.  Make sure your treatment coordinator actually reviews financial policies with every patient, not allowing for the proverbial ‘sign here’.  If you’re tracking down too many patients, consider taking partial or full payment prior to services rendered. Finally, if you’re the business owner and not receiving payment would make business and living difficult, it’s time to get very, VERY comfortable talking to your patients about money.  Leaving it up to your team is like leaving money on the table.

Step 6

If you have reflected, practiced the what/how you’re going to talk, documented, and planned…CONGRATS!  If things are still a struggle, get comfortable with asking the difficult patient, “What is your problem?!”  In a nice way, of course.

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Keep going, you’re doing great! Working with Difficult Patients- 7

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