Choose Wisely: Dental Practice Collection Agencies

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It would be nice if all of your patients paid in full, always on time. But let’s face it – that’s not reality. Most medical and dental practices turn to a collection agency at some time or another. Simply put, working with a collection agency is the nature of the business. The real challenge comes with your search for the best collection agency to help your medical practice’s success. There are some important agency attributes to be aware of in your search for the right collection agency to work with your practice.

Do your Homework

Be meticulous in your research. The collection agency industry gets a bad rap for a reason – many companies rely on illegal tactics to collect money. For example, some of them will make threats or pretend to be someone else. Check out these five illegal tactics most commonly used by shady debt collectors. The bottom line: you don’t want to have any connection with these kinds of debt collectors.

It’s important to ensure that your chosen debt collector for your dental practice adheres to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), which is the main federal law that governs debt collection practices. The FDCPA prohibit debt collection companies from using abusive, unfair or deceptive practices to collect its debts.

Choosing an Agency

There are a little over 4,000 collection agencies in the United States. We recommend finding an agency that specializes in the healthcare industry. Start with FindACollectionAgency.com. This site has a medical section broken down by state. These medical collection agencies understand the ins and outs of the industry, giving them the knowledge and expertise to better collect your outstanding balances from patients. It’s also important for the agency to have a complete understanding of insurance requirements, medical terminology and HIPAA.

Here’s a quick checklist to help guide you in your search:

  • Check referrals. Contact current and previous practices that have used your chosen agency.
  • Choose an ACA International member. This is the Association of Credit and Collection Professionals. This is a nonprofit that ensures its members adhere to their ethical standards.
  • Verify the proper licenses. This will depend on where you do business. You should verify that the correct licenses have been acquired for every state where you practice.   
  • Receive and review insurance details. Professional liability insurance (PLI) is important for collection agencies to acquire. In many cases, this coverage will extend to your practice.
  • Receive a written breakdown of fees. Most agencies use a tiered-system in which they will receive a certain percentage. Be sure to approve these fees before moving forward.
  • Conduct a meeting with members of the agency. A good old fashioned sit-down meeting can go a long way. Ask to see statistics on their success rates. Ask about their procedures and methods. In general, don’t be afraid to ask a lot of questions. This meeting will give you plenty of insight to help you make your final decision.

It bears repeating: finding the best collection agency for your medical agency is all about doing your homework. Do your research and stick to the above checklist. You will find yourself with a reputable collection agency to help you recover funds.

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