Don't let fees fly out the door
Your practice isn't a bank, and you're not a loan officer. Use these eight strategies to make sure your practice gets paid for services—so the practice owner can pay you.
Apr 01, 2007
"Hey, not my problem," you may be thinking. "Practice finances are strictly the owner's or manager's responsibility—I don't control that."
If you've ever had this reaction, it's time to think again. Your paycheck depends on the practice's bank balance. And you exert enormous influence over clients' attitudes about payment, because you often present the bill.
1. Examine your feelings about fees.
Essentially, your practice spends about 92 cents of every dollar on these items alone—and this isn't even a complete list of a hospital's normal costs. These figures also don't account for purchases such as X-ray processors, lab equipment, wet tables, or ultrasound. What could you reasonably remove from this list of expenses? When you look at these costs, your fees probably make more sense.
The lesson here: Present the bill with confidence, so clients receive a clear message that the fees your practice charges are reasonable.
2. Know your payment policy.
Do you have a written policy, and do your clients know what it is? Simply printing it on the invoice isn't enough. Make sure all clients understand your payment policy before you perform any services. In fact, it's a good idea to explain the practice's policy when clients schedule an appointment to avoid misunderstandings later.
3. Represent your policy fairly.
The payment policy isn't designed to discourage clients from making an appointment or from bringing in their pet. In fact, the opposite is true. Your practice is working to offer clients the maximum number of ways that they can pay: cash, check, money order, credit cards, third-party payment plans, and, if all else fails, postdated checks. Again, the goal isn't to discourage clients; it's to find a way for them to pay. Does your hospital's policy suggest alternatives, and do you work with clients to find a way to make it work?