Extending Credit

Tips to Control Your Accounts Receivable

Following are some guidelines to assist you in determining to whom you wish to extend credit and how to go about collecting on those accounts.

* Assess the patient/client’s credit worthiness before extending any sort of credit. Have them fill out a “credit application” (see sample in the Form section,) and verify the information supplied.

* Always charge for any credit extended, using a monthly percentage or a flat service fee.

* When extending credit of any kind, have the patient/client sign an agreement covering the terms of the credit. Ensure that they fully understand and agree to the terms of payment.

* Monitor all accounts monthly so that you know who may be delinquent. Take immediate action on any account over 30 days past due. The older an account gets, the more difficult it will be to collect. Call the patient/client right away and make arrangements to bring the account current.

* Flag past due accounts by putting a red self-adhesive dot on the upper right corner of the patient/client’s chart folder. In this way it is easier for any staff person to see that the patient/client has a past due account and it will be more likely to get addressed.

* Each day review the schedule for the next day so that you will be prepared to see any patients/clients whose accounts need addressing. Confer with the receptionist on anyone who will need to be seen after their appointment, or from whom the receptionist would collect over-the counter.

* If a patient/client you had planned to collect from has forgotten his/her checkbook or does not have the agreed upon amount, the receptionist should contact the accounts manager or the office manager so that the matter can be addressed.

* Patients/clients with delinquent accounts, who are not making an attempt to handle it, should be sent to a collection agency. Again, this should be done as soon as possible before the account gets too old to realistically expect payment.

* Ensure that statements are accurate and are being mailed out every month on time and without fail. Utilize appropriate labels on the statements such as: Thank you for your payment.”

If you need assistance in implementing this article or any practice management topic, we offer one hour of complementary consulting for free, if you participate in a 15 minute anonymous interview to help us in our upcoming publications. Fill out form below