Hi, this is Dave Kats from Therapist Consultants and I have a tip for you.
Some people, some therapists have trouble collecting money. They have, what I call, a poverty complex, and I found the best thing to help you with a poverty complex is to have a set of scripts that you use when collecting money from the patient.
For instance, here's one script that we always use in our clinic. When the patient comes to the front-- if you haven't charged them before they go back, and they come up to the front. You say, "That will be $125 for today. Do you prefer to pay by cash, check, or credit card?" And then you just look down and let them decide. But always use that, "Do you want to pay by cash, check, or credit card?" Because then that gives them a choice of yes's. Yes, I'll pay cash, yes, I'll pay by credit card, or yes, I'll pay by check. Always use that one when they come to the front, "Your fee today was $125, do you want to pay that by cash, check, or credit card?"
Of course, once they're established, you know what they're going to do each time. But that's for the first time or two. Then there are some other scripts that help. One of the things is if a patient asks for an exception to the rule, they say, "Well, can I just wait and get billed at the end of the month?" Use the phrase or the script, "It's our policy that--" You may be the only person in your clinic. You may have no other therapists, you may have no employees but you still use the phrase, if they say, "Can I just pay next time?" You say, "Well, it's our policy that patients pay at the time of their visit, so you really should pay $125 today. Would you prefer to pay that by cash, check, or credit card?" But always hide behind the fact, it's our policy. Because they tend to comply with policy.
Another one, if somebody says that they forgot their checkbook, the common script would be this, if you say, "Okay, it's $125 today." And they'll say, "Oh, I forgot my checkbook." The next thing you'd say is, "We accept cash or credit cards." Let them decide what to do. If they say, "Well, I don't have any cash and I don't have my credit cards with me." You say, "Well, what would you like to do about it?" Or you may suggest even an ATM if it's close. You say, "What would you like to do about it?" And if they really have an intent on paying they'll say, "Let me run home and get the money, or let me come right back with my credit card." They'll make a decision for you.
If they don't, if they say, "How about just letting me pay you next time." Then you use this script. You say, "Okay, you can pay us next time before you come back for your session. Before you go back to see the therapist for your session." And have them pay for last visit before they go back to do visit number two. Then they pay for visit number two at the end of visit number two. There are some scripts that you use. Here they are again, "Your fee today is $125, do you prefer to pay for that by cash, check, or credit card?", "Well, I don't have my credit cards with me, can I just pay next week?", "Well, it's our policy that everybody pays at the time the service is rendered so I really need to have you pay $125 today.", "Well, I forgot my checkbook.", "We accept cash or credit cards if you prefer to use one of those.", "Can I just pay next visit?", "In a few cases, why don't you pay next visit? What you should do is be prepared to pay next visit and we'll have you pay before you go back to see the therapist."
Then they know what the rules are when you play the game. Use those scripts and I think you'll feel more comfortable about talking finances and I think your collections will be better too.
This is Dave Kats, thanks for listening.
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