How In-House Payment Plans Can Change your Practice with David Stern - T-Bone Speaks
How In-House Payment Plans Can Change your Practice with David Stern

How In-House Payment Plans Can Change your Practice with David Stern

I’m delighted to welcome Dr. David Stern from Jarrettsville Family Dental onto the show to discuss his interest in in-house payment plans and how it has impacted his practice.

Dr. David Stern obtained his DDS degree from the University of Maryland School of Dentistry and is a current member of the American Dental Association. He is a family orientated man and enjoys the “small town lifestyle” of Jarrettsville with his wife and two adorable little daughters. When it comes to his practice, he strives to develop long-term and meaningful relationships with his patients and ensuring that they can afford dental treatment, which is what fuels his interest surrounding in-office payment plans.

David reached out to me after listening to one of my previous podcasts where I talked about in-house payment plans, and I decided to invite him onto the show to hear more about what made him bring payment plans on board, what the outcomes have been and how it has changed his practice.

On the podcast we discussed:

•    How David came to learn about in-office payment plans

•    What an in-house payment plan is and why it’s necessary

•    Benefits of in-house payment plans for the practice AND the patient

•    Challenges of implementing payment plans and how to overcome them

•    What type of practice should and shouldn’t implement a payment plan

•    Why you should have a firm financial arrangement in place before treatment

•    How to track multiple types of AR within a practice and managing outstanding payments

•    Types of dentistry carried out in “rural practices”

To listen to the full podcast episode hit play below:

Here’s a more detailed overview of our discussion…

What are in-house payment plans?

An in-house (or in-office) payment plan is when the dental practice provides patients with an automated payment plan that allows them to spread the cost of their treatment over an extended period.

When we launched our in-house payment plan, we did it with the sole aim to make dentistry more affordable for our patients. When the patient arrives at the practice for treatment, and they can’t afford to pay the bill there, and then, they have the option to pay a down payment and then continue to make equal payments over three, six or 12 months depending on their payment plan.

If you want to find out more about payment plans, you can head to http://tbonespeaks.com and listen to a few of my previous podcast episodes where I talk about payment plans during my interview with Dental Hacks.

Challenges of implementing payment plans

I was curious to know about the different challenges that David and his team faced when they first implemented in-house payment plans and how they were able to overcome them.

David said that his biggest challenge was his own mindset in the beginning stages of implementing payment plans in his practice. He was fearful that patients wouldn’t keep up with the payments and the system would fail. However, once he realized how beneficial and successful it had become, it soon became the first payment option he would offer to his patients.

Other challenges that his team faced were concerns regarding payment and the fact that it was another thing they had to learn on top of everything else. But they soon realized it was smooth sailing, and they had nothing to worry about.

His team no longer have to hound people over the phone looking for payments, and they aren’t sending out as many bills per month as they once did.

How In-House Payment Plans Can Change your Practice with David Stern

Should your practice have a payment plan?

During my discussion with David, we talked about the type of practice that would seriously benefit from implementing an in-house payment plan.

If you’re someone who has a schedule that’s almost fully booked, you’re doing the type of dentistry you want, and your patients are paying you up front – don’t screw with that success. You don’t need to implement an in-house payment plan because you don’t need it.

However, if you have a lot of empty chair time and you’re doing a lot of single tooth dentistry when you could be doing multiple tooth dentistry, but your patients are struggling to pay all at once, then an in-house payment plan is something you should consider.

Importance of firm financial arrangements

I always emphasize the importance of having a firm financial arrangement in place before carrying out the treatment, and this is something that David and I discussed at length during our conversation.

David’s practice offers various payment options to his patients so that money doesn’t act as a barrier between them and their health. We also talked about how we track our AR, and I went over the three types of AR we track here at my practice:

1. Real Patient AR – People who owe the practice money and there are no payment arrangements in place as it currently stands.

2. Insurance AR – Money that insurance companies owe the practice.

3. Payment Plan AR – Patients that owe us money, but there is an ongoing agreement in place.

When I asked David if he had any advice for other dentists thinking about implementing payment plans, he had one thing to say; “Stop hesitating, just do it.”

Ask T-Bone

David had a few questions for me, including what I would do differently if I could go back and change things clinically, financially and in my personal life.

I’ll admit, it was a difficult question because I can’t say I have many regrets. However, I would have started to save money much earlier than I did, and I would have began my implant journey a lot sooner too. Concerning my personal life, I would have taken more time off work to spend it with my family, which is something that I do a lot more often now.

Get in touch with David

You can get in touch with Dr. David Stern, and the Jarrettsville Family Dental practice over on their website​ and Facebook

About the Author Tarun Agarwal

Dr. Tarun Agarwal represents the next generation of leadership for the dental profession. As a respected speaker, author and opinion leader, he is changing the way general dentists and their teams practice.

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