Hello and welcome to another edition of ask T-Bone!
Today we have a question that was actually submitted to the gang at the dental hacks regarding an episode that I did over there on in office financing, so In-office payment plan. In fact that episode on in office payment plans is now also on my podcast feed, for those of you that would listen to it. So here’s the question:
I listened to one of your old shows and actually email you guys a while ago about how a doctor T-Bone and use an online automatic payment with patients to help them with financing. So I loved the idea and we started doing it, the only problem is that they don’t send us emails every day and what about what reports were and we were wondering if the table had an easier way of knowing what payments were arrived and how he put them in his PMS. Thanks so much and keep up the great work.
So a couple things, I want to focus on this episode of getting clarity on the in-office payment plans. So number one: this is not financing. I do not recommend charging interest on the in-office payment plans that you’re doing yourself for a couple reasons. One: the interest is so minimal, that doesn’t make a difference. Number two: were talking about short-term here not long time that’s why the interest is so minimal. Also, there are significant lending regulations and rules that we would be subject to if you have start financing your patients. Things like what your maximum APR how you can justify all of those things. So it’s really important that you do not get into financing directly yourself. If you’re interested in doing in-office financing and becoming the bank, where you are the bank and you benefits from the interest payments I suggest you contact Doctor Bruce Baird with Comprehensive finance and look into his program, where they will, for a small fee, do all the leg work, and the paperwork, and the managing the interest, and you as the dentist will become the bank and get the benefits from interest payments. so if you looking for something like that certainly give Bruce a call at c
So, now what I’d like to do is go ahead and clarify a couple things. Number 1, I don’t know why I like using numbers so much, they just come to my head. But first, let’s talk about the rules of in office right financing or in office payment plan. One: it has to be automated and easy. So this person that posted the question says that they’re not getting emails daily. so I would say that this is a recipe for potential errors and issues. So right away we don’t use a special program or anything like that, it’s simply a credit card processor that has a process of doing recurring authorization. In other words what you can automate the charging of the card every month, so if your processor does not have a record feature then consider contacting the one that we’re using. it is called eProcessing. It’s a relatively large national credit card processor, we make no money off you using them but we had great success with them and they do send us a daily report by email that allow us to see exactly who was charged, who was not charged and all of those things. We also have a web portal that we can go in and we can see all those outstanding payments and how we doing on a month-by-month basis and in even a day-by-day basis. So we should be getting those. My guess is that the questioner probably has a system that they just need to have a one box turned on or something turned on to get a daily that report or daily transaction report that’s simply isn’t turned on with the credit card processor.
Now, how do we put this payment in the Eaglesoft or your practice management system? we have been using Eaglesoft, so that’s what I’m going to discuss. So it’s important to understand in my opinion when you said something about a payment plan they don’t technically owe you money, and why I say that? I know they owe you money because they haven’t paid off their payments, but it’s not true, or you should not be sending them statements on this behalf. And my belief is that we’ve traded for a financial Arrangement. So one of its features, probably very rarely utilized within eaglesoft, is a feature called In contract. And that what this allows you to do, it allows you to set up a payment plan within eaglesoft, not the actual running of the payment plan but to Simply let your electrical accounting system, within eaglesoft know that the station is on a payment plan.
So, our workflow for setting up payment plans in the office is: Number one we have a financial menu where our patients can choose which option makes the most sense with them and we have a signature on file for that, so that way we have from Financial Arrangements.
Secondly we go ahead and run and set up the recurring transactions that starts with the down payment and the creation of the recurring transactions. And then we set up an eaglesoft, our practice management system, that we are, or that this patient is in a recur, and we set it up using their in contract feature, and what this does is, it let the software know that this patient has a balance that is in contract in firm for a financial Arrangement, and it shows up on the account screen as a separate lines, so that way we know if the patient comes in for something else, that we don’t need to demand payment about this dollar amount, because they already in contract, but that in other words, it’s created an arrangement to pay that off. So any statement that is sent to the patient does not reflect that has a current balance but as a Financial Arrangement balance. So it’s important to set that up. Now the benefit of also setting this up within the practice management software, is that you can now run reports. You can see how you’re doing, you can take a look, and you can evaluate how much do you have outstanding are you extending out too much, what your payment right is like. Now what this also means is that when you do get your daily e-mails, you don’t simply posted this to the account you post them to the in contract, so the in contract balance yet keeps getting reduced and it looks like the payment are going there. So it’s important, there are several steps that go with this. It sounds you know, initially it going to sound like oh my god that is a lot of work, I don’t want to deal with it, but I promise you it’s not a lot of work it’s only a few more steps than those you already doing, and the benefits greatly outweigh the extra work that’s going on here. So hopefully that answers the question but I have a couple of minutes left you that I’d like to talk about the benefits of in office payment plans where we’re finding it in our office extremely useful. Number one, now with doing quadrant Dentistry again and by that I mean we’re offering our patients to do the entire quadrant and a lot of times a patient may need a crown and they have a couple small feelings that I need to be done and so in the past, they would choose not to do those feelings. Now today, we are able to add on those feelings as part of the treatment plan because we’re able to look at payment options for the patients that we weren’t able to a few years ago. That makes it easier for the patients to say yes to that entire area and for us it’s way more efficient to go ahead and take care of the entire quadrant, while we are working on one tooth, essentially the entire area, isolating, doing all the work. We are also using it to increase our ancillary services in by ancillary Services I’m talking about night guards and things along those lines things that the really benefit patients, but often times patients don’t value a see because I can’t imagine spending $400 out of pocket for a piece of acrylic to protect the teeth so instead we’re able to look at those and say Hey or something like 30-40 $50 a month we can help you get something that’ll protect your teeth combine that with digital photography to show them the recession, all of those things, it really makes a difference and this is a really big production boost for your practice if you can add 10 of 15 gards to your practice per month and also it’s an unbelievable service. You know, I would imagine that 60 to 70% of your patients could really benefit, it legitimately benefit from an occlusal guard and so I think that the in-office payment plan it help us increase that. Also just like orthodontist Finance or payment plan out their orthodontic treatment, we are doing that as well in our practice for orthodontic treatment, so now our patients can do it down payment and we can payment plan out the remaining portion of the treatment over the number of months that we expect the treatment to take making orthodontic treatment more affordable and accessible for our patients. And again Orthodontics is one of those areas where you can really boost your practice production without having to see more patients.
So I just wanted to give you some ideas of where we are using the payment plans and how successful will being with payment plans. Certainly there are risks with the payment plans but again the risks are far outweighed by the benefits.
Thank you guys for submitting the questions. Again if you have more questions please visit www.tbonespeaks.com, submit your question, we really enjoyed having the questions no matter how big or how small, sometimes it Sparks an idea that I’d like to talk about for 5 or 10 minutes, such as this one, because it would have been very easy for me to just say yes we have a system that emailed us directly and here it is, but instead has allowed me to give clarity on the in office payment plan. Also if you can go to iTunes and leave us a review that would be great, we are trying to improve our iTunes ranking so we can be found easier, and also if you could share a podcast on social media that would be unbelievably wonderful. All you have to do is go to a website www.tbonespeaks.com, click on any one of the podcast posts whether to ask T-Bone or the full episode T-Bone speaks and at the bottom of those pages you’ll see the share buttons and just quickly click share so you can let the world know that you also listen to this podcast. It would be unbelievably helpful for us, so that we can go and help and reach more people.
Thank you very much!