Examining patient financing -- Good for your patients. Good for your practice.

May 1, 2012
We hear about it a lot these days – dental practices getting squeezed by lower consumer spending. The result is less treatment ...

By Justin Setiz

We hear about it a lot these days – dental practices getting squeezed by lower consumer spending. The result is less treatment acceptance and lower revenues – and no practice is immune. Economists have even coined a phrase for this belt-tightening and credit-crunching – “the new normal.”

But, any dentist will tell you, patients electing not to get the treatments they need because of financial concerns is far from what they’d like to see as “normal.” Luckily, there are some innovative payment options out there for dentists who want to help their patients, keep money coming into their practices, and avoid becoming debt collectors themselves.

Your outside financing partner should be as flexible as you.

You always have your eye on individual solutions for your patients – from the routine to the cutting-edge. And we all know “one-size-fits-all” rarely fits anyone. So you should expect the same kind of flexibility from your financing partner. Look for a payment option that offers several no-interest plans, as well as budget plans and regular revolving options. The more options your financing partner can provide, the more likely you’ll find the one that works best for your practice and your patients.

A good partner lets you focus on your patients, instead of whether you’ll get paid.

Almost nothing is as frustrating – or as productivity draining – as out-of-control accounts receivable. And who wants the hassle of tracking down past due payments? Keep your focus on care, and let a third party handle the payment process. Just make sure they offer fast payments in two to three days.

You shouldn’t be held hostage to high merchant fees.

One of the main benefits of patient financing is cash flow management. But be careful. Some partners will make you pay a big price for this convenience on the back end. Keep a close eye on the merchant fee rate for each financing option you select.

Peace-of-mind matters – to you and your patients.

No one wants to wonder how they’re going to afford a procedure they need. That’s why the best financing partners provide your practice with all the materials your patients need to understand their financing options right from the start. And they also provide reliable support to your staff so they can answer any patient questions. That way, your patients know exactly how they can pay, and you know exactly when you’ll get paid. Taking the payment out of the relationship lets everyone focus on care.

You have enough equipment in your office already.

It sounds funny, but do you really want to deal with another payment terminal, snarl of wires, and who knows what else? Working with a financing partner who can accommodate your existing payment processing equipment just makes everything that much easier. Some will allow you to process through a standard credit card terminal, a touch tone phone, or via the convenient and easy-to-use online processing.

Fast payments make for a healthy practice.

We can’t stress this enough. Knowing that you’ll be paid consistently and on time lets you manage expenses, budget for equipment upgrades, hire staff, and keep your finances in order. Plus, offering a trusted payment option can help you increase treatment acceptance and patient loyalty at your practice.

Sounds like a good deal to us. Less hassle, more savings, better treatment rates, fast payments, and full customer support. If you’d like to learn more about patient financing options from the Henry Schein Financial Services experts, give them a call at (800) 443-2756, Option 1.

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