Optometrists examine eyes for both vision and health problems. They spend years to get the “Doctor of Optometry” degree, and then gradually establish their name in the city. It is undoubtedly its a promising career since a wave of aging baby boomers will eventually need to see an optometrist at some point in their life. However, optometry practices have their own business complications.
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Optometrists regularly face several business challenges which include:
1. Managing their employees and retaining quality talent.
2. Keeping up with the government regulations.
3. Paperwork associated with running a small business.
4. Low reimbursement rates from government programs like Medicaid or Medicare.
5. Retaining patients when their employer changes vision insurance.
6. Peer competition.
7. How to expand their optometry practice to get new patients.
8. Accounts receivable and unpaid bills.
But when a patient repeatedly fails to make a payment on time, there is little that an optometrist’s office can do. Sending reminder invoices and followup calls often do not work. They are met with several excuses from patients, often genuine, sometimes not. In a worst-case scenario, the patient simply does not pick up the call, or the invoice letter gets returned as “undelivered / wrong address”.
Overdue accounts receivable can hurt the profits of a small business.
Another nightmare scenario that can arise if the practice gets sued back from the patient, because the untrained in-house staff of the optometrist’s office, was unaware of the federal and state collection laws involved while trying to recover money on past due accounts, and unknowingly commits a violation. These legal complications can be very expensive and stressful for the practice.
Instead of writing off these past-due accounts receivables, it is advisable to transfer these accounts to a professional Debt Collection Agency after 60 or 90 days of non-payment.
Collection Agencies have sophisticated debt collection techniques and tools to track down the debtors and recover money from them. Optometrists can select low-cost diplomatic demand demands service, or slightly more intensive collection calls service. Earlier you transfer an account for collections, higher the chances are to recover money from it.
Collection agencies are particularly careful while dealing with medical debt collections. They will try to recover money diplomatically so that the patient-doctor relationships are not strained.
When the patient realizes that a debt collection agency is involved, they are far more likely to clear their outstanding bills. So, while the optometrist is focusing on serving existing clients and expanding his practice, the collection agency acts as an extension of their office recovering money from past-due accounts.
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