Dental practices aren’t built overnight; it can take years to build a profitable dental practice. Putting an effective practice for collecting payment from dental clients is essential; unfortunately, even with effective billing and collection practices, collection disputes can arise. Dental practices benefit from working with an experienced attorney who can represent their interests and resolve collection disputes as quickly and effectively as possible.
The attorneys at Mahan Dental Law are skilled at representing dental practices in a wide range of collection disputes. We will carefully evaluate your case and advise you of your legal options. Depending on your circumstances, there are several different strategies we can pursue to resolve the collection dispute favorably. If you own a dental practice and face a collection dispute, Mahan Dental Law is here to help. Don’t hesitate to contact us to schedule your initial case evaluation.
Using Best Practices to Avoid Collection Disputes
Collecting delinquent dental account receivables is unavoidable when managing a dental practice. Collecting your patient’s delinquent accounts can consume a vast amount of your limited resources. It can also cause problems in staff utilization, patient satisfaction, and overall management of your dental practice. It isn’t always possible to avoid collection disputes, but having a streamlined, effective management strategy for collections can help you avoid disputes.
The attorneys at Mahan Dental Law can help you evaluate your dental practice’s billing and collections practices. We will look for any red flags you can address to protect yourself. Many dental practices require payment before or at the time of service. Doing so can help you see an increase in production, profitability, and in-office collections. You may want to avoid billing patients for copays or payment for services after the appointment. Collecting payment before performing services while making it easy for patients to pay by accepting cash, charge cards, and third-party financing can also help you avoid collection disputes.
Being confident with your fees and having a strong written financial policy, reviewing the policy with new patients at their first appointment, asking them to sign the agreement, and updating them with any changes can protect your dental practice. If you need to pursue collection from the patient, you will be in a stronger position with a signed financial agreement from the patient.
Compliance with Local and Federal Debt Collection Laws
Many busy dental practice owners and managers don’t have time to stay up-to-date with the federal and state standards governing debt collection practices. Knowing your legal boundaries can help you avoid severe federal penalties while attempting to collect a debt. Violating these statutes can result in your dental practice being sued for actual damages and additional damages. If your dental practice outsources your debt collection to a third-party collection agency, how do you determine whether they operate within federal and state guidelines?
You’ll need to ensure that third-party collection agencies follow the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) regulations. If you collect patients’ debt through an in-house collection system, you still don’t have unlimited protection against collection disputes or litigation. The FDCPA does not preempt state law when state law offers greater protection for patients than the federal statute.
Depending on your state’s guidelines, a patient may be able to hold your dental practice liable for the acts or omissions of your collection service. You may not be able to effectively make the legal defense that you didn’t know the exact type of conduct in which your collection service was engaged. In some states, debt collectors are limited regarding how often they’re allowed to call a debtor at home. Still, in other states, you can be penalized for appearing to represent a third-party debt collector while engaging in in-house debt collection.
What to Do When a Dental Practice Collection Dispute Arises
Violating federal and state laws can expose your dental practice to potential litigation arising from your patient collection process. Dental practices also risk countersuits, which can result when pursuing unpaid patient debt. The steps you take when engaging in debt collection may help you avoid or minimize the negative effect of the collection dispute on your dental practice.
When a dispute arises between your debt collection agency or your in-house debt collector and a patient, it’s important that you remain cordial. You don’t want your patients to have an uncomfortable encounter with a collector. It’s also important that you carefully document the interactions between the debt collector and your patient.
Negotiating Collection Disputes Settlement
Reaching out to an attorney as soon as possible when a collection dispute arises is crucial. If you suspect the dispute will escalate, speaking to an attorney is even more important. One of the attorneys at Mahan Dental Law will evaluate the dispute and help you understand your legal options. We understand that dental practice owners and partners seek to avoid expensive litigation. With that in mind, we will work to negotiate a favorable solution for you and your dental practice out-of-court.
Our attorneys have extensive experience negotiating with debtors and their attorneys to pursue a fair and cost-effective outcome. Unfortunately, negotiating an out-of-court settlement isn’t always possible. In those cases, you can rest assured that our trial-ready attorneys will be prepared to represent your dental practice in court during litigation. As we prepare for trial, we will continue attempts to reach a fair settlement.
Discuss Your Case with a Skilled Dental Collection Disputes Attorney
In a competitive business environment for dental practices, broken contracts and failure to pay for services can prevent dental practices from succeeding. The attorneys at Mahan Dental Law can help your dental practice implement strategic collections practices. When collection disputes arise, we will provide you with cost-effective handling of the disputes. You don’t have to face non-paying clients, business partners, or contractors alone. Contact Mahan Dental Law today to schedule an initial consultation and learn more about how we can focus on protecting your dental practice’s bottom line.