Most patients and their dentists can agree that maintaining good oral health is a life essential. Unfortunately, this does not guarantee that all patients will follow through and stay on top of their dental payments.
When this occurs, dental offices often must redirect resources to collecting fees. Depending on how your dental team facilitates this process, it is important to know that recently enacted legislation concerning debt collections might put a wrinkle in how your office handles collections. Some details could also impact your office’s file management policy.
According to the Senate Bill No. 531, “A debt collector to which delinquent debt has been assigned shall not make a written statement to a debtor in an attempt to collect a delinquent debt unless the debt collector has access to a copy of a contract or other document evidencing the debtor’s agreement to the debt, except in the following circumstances: If the claim is based on debt for which no signed contract or agreement exists, the debt collector shall have access to a copy of a document provided to the debtor while the account was active, demonstrating that the debt was incurred by the debtor.”
To put it simply, in the course of debt collecting, the new law prohibits the debt collector from notifying debtors about their intent without having documentation proving that the person owes the debt.
As a consumer protection tool, it requires collectors to show proof of their authority to collect the debt before doing so. Consumers can also ask to review documentation and other basic information. Collectors are required to disclose that consumers have this right to request the review of documents, including statements that speak to their account balances, account dates, delinquency dates, last known address and other relevant information.
If your dental practice is unable to produce the pertinent documents, then additional may need to be taken to assist with accounts that have fallen behind.
If you have any questions about this change to your dental billing processes, our remote billing team is here to help. Contact us today for a complimentary consultation.