My office manager suggested that we discount hard-to-collect, 90-day-past-due accounts as an incentive to encourage patients to pay at least something. We'd offer up to 25 percent off the bill, depending on how much the patient pays. We'd require the patient to adhere to a payment schedule until the debt's paid off. Is this a good solution or does it contribute to the problem?
For years, veterinarians practiced reactively, primarily treating illnesses and administering vaccinations. Not anymore. According to the 2004 AAHA Pet Owner Survey, 94 percent of respondents take their pets to the veterinarian for regular checkups to ensure their quality of life. In fact, 58 percent of respondents visit their pet's doctor more often than they visit their physician.
Welcome new associates to your practice with some functional fanfare that simultaneously introduces them to the public. Running an announcement ad in your local paper provides increased visibility for your practice and establishes the new associate as part of the community.
Your team members may find it takes some practice to stay calm and collected when unexpected situations arise. According to Ethics4Everyone, by Eric Harvey and Scott Airitam (Performance Systems Corp., 2002), it's best to prepare staff members for difficult events by playing the "what if" game.
What does your receptionist say to a client who claims to have forgotten his or her checkbook? Or how does your technician respond to an angry client? In such cases, is everyone following a similar script? Is what they're saying the best response? If not, role-playing may help.
Sure, Brownie's not as spry as she used to be," says your slightly indignant client, petting her basset hound's bowling ball stomach. "But that doesn't mean that she's not a healthy, happy dog, Doctor."
What message does the appearance of your clinic send? And what message do the doctors, technicians, and support staff members send when they interact with clients? For a real eye opener, ask your clients these questions, using surveys, focus groups, and casual conversations during appointments. And don't forget to ask new clients and staff members why they chose your clinic. Their fresh eyes can offer valuable insights into the first impressions your practice makes.