Financial Agreements

Motivational Moments with Eric Vickery: Effective financial arrangements for dental practices, emphasizing written agreements, clear options, and proper documentation.


About Eric Vickery

Eric holds a degree in business administration and brings a strong business and systems approach to his consulting. His initiation into the field of dentistry was in the area of office management. He managed dental practices for over ten years and has been consulting over 250 offices nationwide since 2001.

Episode Transcript

Transcript performed by A.I. Please excuse the typos.


This is Dental All-Stars, where we bring you the best in dentistry on marketing, management, and training. Hello friends, welcome to your weekly Motivational Moments with Eric Vickery, president of coaching at All-Star Dental Academy. This week, we’re gonna focus in on the next system, which is financial arrangements. So if you remember, ideally scheduling comes out of good, strong, ideal financial arrangements, which cannot happen if we don’t have ideal case acceptance, which cannot happen if we don’t have



ideal treatment planning. So that’s the flow. Think of the waterfall. You have to treatment plan it ideally. You have to have great case acceptance. You have to have good financial arrangements so you can have really good scheduling. In the financial arrangement section, it’s really a system that, I don’t know, I would say can really break case acceptance if it’s not done right. I don’t know that it makes case acceptance, but it definitely can break it. So what are your financial arrangements system?



What are they like? And so for us, we have a written financial arrangement worksheet. We’ve used this for a very long time. And the premise of it has several really important points. One is when you sign something, when you choose something, when you write something out, it’s a contract. It’s official. Okay, number two, you’re giving someone a choice, not a chance. I never say to a patient, how would you like to pay for this? Or, hey, it’s gonna be…



$4,000, let us know what you wanna do, or just leave it hanging there. We always have something that we work through with the patient. It’s filled out, it’s handwritten, it doesn’t have to be super complicated, just has choices. We have this document if you want it, just email heather at alls she’ll get it in touch with one of the coaches, we’ll get it to you. It’s a simple document, and you get to edit it. What are your three or four choices that you use



for the patient. So if the patient’s Ricky Bobby and we’re sitting in front of them, I use my permission statement, which we’ve worked on, and I just simply say, Ricky Bobby, I’m so glad that you and doctor have made a decision to help take care of your teeth. I would like to go over all the options we have with you so that you can choose which one best fits your budget to make this affordable for you. Does that sound fair? Great. And then I already have the form filled out. I turn it around. I’ve got a treatment plan with a consent.



Signature ready here, and I’ve got a financial arrangement worksheet here. We’re eye to eye. This patient is not standing over me looking down. I’m not looking up at them. I’m standing up coming around. I’m in a semi-private area. Or they’re sitting down, and we’re having this. I prefer that. We’re sitting down. We’re both neutral. We have good body language. I turn the sheet around and I say, Ricky Bobby, your poor, I’ll use round numbers. Your total treatment plan is $10,000.



and we have four options that you can choose from. If you like to save money, you can pay that in advance and you would save 5%. So you would save $500 by paying today $9,500, or at the time you decide to schedule. The second option is you want to spread payments out. You wanna make it affordable for you. We have two options. You can do a 12 month no interest plan for $833 a month.



or you can even extend it beyond that with an interest plan. There’s a finance charge on it, and you could pay as low as, make up a number here, $250 a month for four years, five years, whatever it is, and I laid that out.



Third option is you can pay it as you go with your appointments. And how that works is you have five visits coming up and you would pay $2,000 at each visit. And how we do that is when you’re ready to schedule, you pay $2,000 and then we get you an appointment with doctor and that day when you come in, you pay the next $2,000 and you get the next appointment and so on. This way they’re always prepaid by $2,000 for an upcoming appointment. They will show up.



So the pay as you go is just take the total number of visits divided by the total amount. And now you have an equal amount every time because if you say it’s $400 at the first visit and it’s $1,000 at the second visit and it’s 3,000 at the third visit, and they’re gonna end up not finishing. They’re gonna cancel later on down the line. And if they have insurance, you’re just taking the thousand off the top or what have you, all right. And then you might have a last option where they do half today.



a quarter in 30 days and another quarter in 60 days. That is a credit card payment system. So you could say, you could pay 5,000 down when you’re ready to schedule. You can do that today. And then you have all your appointments scheduled. Then in 30 days, you’ll pay 2,500. And then in 60 days, you’ll pay another 2,500. And I have their credit card on file. We’re not gonna finish treatment within 60 days. It’s gonna be out beyond that anyway. So there’s no risk there.



So again, you get to choose which option works best for you. Use this system, make really good notes, make it official, have them sign it, and then you scan that into their document center. They get the original copy, and they’re off and running with it. You put a note in the appointment so that everybody knows what was done. And so when that patient walks in, if I’m not the one that did the financial arrangement, I can say, oh, I can see you and Shelly did the agreement here and that you wanted to do X today, I could take care of that for you.



and there’s no miscommunication. If it’s less than a certain dollar amount, you do not have to do a written, signed financial arrangement. It might be for your office less than $1,000, that typically is the number we see, and then you can do a verbal FA where they’re just signing the trigger plan, and you might hand write on there what they’ve agreed to for payments, and then you document that in the appointment that they’re coming in for, so I can…



revisit that verbally with the patient. Oh, I can see here we talked about it and you wanted to do your $600 payment today by Visa. I can take care of that for you and you’re ready to go. All right, wonderful guys. I’ll see you all next week. Have fun with this.



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