Collecting on past due accounts is a function that the Accounts Manager will find herself/himself having to do. Any contact with a patient/client, even under these circumstances, should be kept on a friendly, professional and dignified basis. This will promote respect for the office and its business practices.
Always remember the following points with regard to your patients/clients:
- Most people have good intentions and want to cooperate with agreements that they have made.
- Although a person’s account may be overdue, most people still have a good intention to take care of it.
- Most people prioritize their bills and will first pay those that they feel are most pressing.
- Most people with past due accounts will pay those bills where someone is actively requesting them to pay.
Bearing in mind the above, your role is to arrange to be one of the creditors that your patients/clients will not delay paying. The following points may be helpful in this regard:
- Bill promptly every month.
- Ensure that your bills are accurate.
- Ensure that you have the original signed financial agreement from your patient/client.
- Contact the patient/client as soon as you realize the account has become delinquent.
- When you speak with the patient/client, let them know that you believe that they are able to make payment.
- Let the patient/client know that you expect to be paid, and refresh their memory on the signed agreement.
- Allow the patient/client their self-respect; never back them into a corner, insult or badger the patient/client.
- Explain to the patient/client that you want to help him/her work it out so that they can maintain the agreement that they made with your office.
- Be prepared to offer some options to the patient/client that they may not have considered.
- Be willing to really communicate with the patient/client so that a true understanding and agreement can be reached.
- If absolutely necessary, utilize the credit reporting associations. Let the patient/client know that you are planning to do so and that this will go on their credit rating.
- As a last resort, utilize the services of a collection agency, and let the patient/client know that you plan to do so.