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As a dentist, you want to focus on providing excellent service to your patients, but you may find yourself neglecting certain administrative duties. That can lead you to leaving money on the table. 

Dental billing is a critical part of your practice. When you can’t effectively bill clients and collect payments, you’re not making money. The same goes for submitting claims to insurance agencies. When they do not make a payment, the client needs to be held responsible — something only possible if you’re keeping tabs on your accounts. 

Let’s look at some dental billing tips to help you keep your practice’s admin organized.

1. Staff education

Dentists are taught how to work with dental problems, not how to do accounting. While you are prepared to work with your patients while they sit in the chair, you may not fully know how to run a practice.

So make admin  education a priority. Take a short course on the business side of running a practice. Even if you think you know it all, there may still be some useful information available. Make sure the course provides details on how billing should work and all other related matters.

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Do the same to ensure your staff are up to date with their knowledge for running a practice. The better off they are, the more successful you’ll be. This also ensures staff members can fill in for each other when their coworkers take vacation or call in sick for a day. 

2. Know your codes

Dental coding is critical when it comes to submitting claims. When setting up a bill for a client, you need to ensure the correct dental codes are added to the bill. 

A few changes have been noted in the past, particularly when looking at codes used in the dental industry. For example, there was a time when D1203 and D1204 (fluoride treatments in kids and adults) were combined into a new code, D1208. But if your office reports an older code, your practice won’t receive proper reimbursement,

Likewise, lots of practices submit code D0140 when performing a limited evaluation or procedure. The reimbursement is minimal, as this is dedicated to standard evaluations done twice a year. Instead, know when you should report a D9110 code. This can help to increase the accuracy of your bills and ensure you’re being reimbursed properly. 

3. Consider outsourcing

Outsourcing is a subject that’s met with mixed opinions. Some find outsourcing to be an excellent addition to their business. Others stress at the sight of the word. The thing is, with the right strategy, outsourcing can actually be a way to save both time and money when you run a dental practice.

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Your staff may already have their hands full when making appointments, organizing patient files, and performing other administrative and reception tasks. By outsourcing elements like billing, the collection of owed money, and the handling of insurance claims, you can relieve the burden placed on your staff. This also means you may need fewer staff members compared to dealing with these tasks internally. 

4. Use automation 

With your dental practice, there are numerous tasks that can be automated. For example, when you enter dental codes into a system, an invoice can be automatically configured. Client data is automatically pulled up by the system, and an invoice is sent. 

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The system connects to your business banking account, allowing it to monitor for transactions with the client’s reference number or the invoice number. Automated billing reminders can also be sent, clearing up some time from your hands and allowing your staff to focus on other important tasks. 

5. Be aware of balances

One statistical report claimed over 25% of adults in the US have outstanding medical bills that have not yet been paid. In another publication, it is reported about 137 million American adults have trouble paying their medical bills. 

When patients have outstanding balances, it means you’re losing money. You already provided the services, so now it is time to collect the payments due.

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While it’s important to be reasonable, you do need to implement a system that allows you to obtain the money you’re owed. This may involve handling client data over to a debt collection agency, for example. While it is a move that some dentists prefer not to make, in the business world, it can become an essential part of keeping your practice running. 

6. Understand the claims process

Make sure you understand how to submit a claim to each insurance provider. Get to know how each provider is different. You might have to register with the provider when you initially start your practice. Know how the process works and how they do their respective reimbursements. 

7. Adjust your fees accordingly

Making money includes keeping up with changing times, which generally includes rising prices. As your electricity costs, rent, and the need for medical equipment rises, you need to consider these additional expenses. 

With this in mind, consider adjusting the fees you charge for your services once per year. This allows you to make up for increases in your overall expenses. Be reasonable with the increase, and patients are likely to understand. 

8. Use the right software

And of course, ensure you’re using the right software. There are several integrated solutions that can help simplify claims, billing, and keeping track of balances. 

Some of the software solutions make it easy to set up a dentist appointment when a patient calls, for example.

You can also consider revenue cycle management. This is a useful option that helps you increase your overall revenue while keeping costs at a minimum. These management services generally give you full access to your own accounts, which means tracking and checking up on your practice’s performance is easy. 

Final thoughts

Billing the right way is critical for your business. And our dental coding tips will ensure you know how to structure a bill while also helping you streamline the process. This will end up saving your practice precious time while also bringing in more revenue. Good luck!

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