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Paying for Patients @ Temple

Discussion in 'Dental' started by drnpp, Dec 3, 2005.

  1. drnpp

    drnpp Member
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    I wanted to know to all those students in Temple. How frequently do you have to end up paying for your patients if they dont pay?
     
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  3. Dentcraze

    Dentcraze Junior Member
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    Well it isnt that frequent. You dont have to pay for it either, you just wont get credit for the procedure. If you are careful and make you patients pay before, or in instalments when they come in, then they can manage paying for it. Make sure there insurance is active but 90% of the students here do not check insurance unless they are doing an expensive procedure. I personally have two open accounts with patients who owe me money. YOu send out a bunch of letters then you send it to collections. If they still havent paid by the time its time to graduate then you have to pay the balance.. If you need those points to graduate.
     
  4. 3geminal

    3geminal Member
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    Wow! I can't believe that. It is so ridiculous that you don't get credit for a procedure you did. I think it borders on unethical that they put students in that position.
     
  5. beannaithe

    beannaithe Bionerd
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    I second that.
     
  6. Dr.BadVibes

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    Before you guys criticize this approach, keep in mind that many other dental schools have the same policies. I would confirm the policy at the dental school that you intend to goto if this bothers you too much.
     
  7. rarm1

    rarm1 Senior Member
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    I agree... many schools require the patients to pay for work, but will allow you to start - they suggest you get payment before you start...

    since i don't know how to private mail on this... to our friend in Japan... I, too, have been in many countries on dental missions/lecturing... most recently to China... traveled with Health Volunteers Overseas, Operation Smile, and Red Cross.

    bob
     
  8. 3geminal

    3geminal Member
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    Makes no difference, I am not saying your school sucks and mine is terrific. I know the policies at my school. I am simply stating the it is unfortunate that ANY school would knowingly put their students in the position of having to pay the bills of their patients. It is a practice not encouraged in general, for many reasons, not the least of which is business ethics (you are essentially offering free service and undermining your colleagues).

    For the record, my own school has some pretty crap policies too.
     
  9. flat4

    flat4 Mullet Redesigner
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    I'm gonna play devil's advocate here: people that get stuck with their patients bill are in that situation because of their own irresponsibility in my opinion. Sounds cold but it is an relatively easily avoidable situation. There are three major mistakes students make in regards to dealing with insurance.

    1) As somebody already mentioned before, most students don't verify that their patients policies are current. It is the students responsibility to check before EVERY appointment the status of their patient's policies. The patients around here are just too unpredictable to take a chance and assume they are still covered even though you just saw them the other day. All you have to do is stop by the business office for 1 minute (the business office is right next to the chart room BTW) and get a verification print out from one of the reps before the appointment. You can even have YOUR PATIENT stop by the business office and get this printout before your appointment.

    2) Students don't check to see whether the procedure from the previous appointment was billed for or not. Here at Temple, there is a financial balance sheet on the last page of each chart. All you have to do to see if the previous procedure was billed is to turn to the last page and see if the "Amount Paid" matches the "Amount Billed" from the last appointment. If not, then you stop by the business office at your earliest convenience and figure out with the business office rep what the deal is. Problem is, some students don't check at all and they may have multiple procedures that go unpaid and they keep doing more procedures. I heard last year of a student having to pay $1500 put of pocket. All he had to do was check the balance sheet to figure out that things weren't getting billed.Honestly, who's fault is that?

    3) Students don't realize that their patients have private insurance and assume every procedure is covered 100%. Normally for private insurance, a student would have to stop by the business office to figure out what percentage of procedures are covered by insurance and what is the responsibility of the patient. At Temple, if the patient is responsible for a certain percentage, copayment, or deductible, they have to pay that amount at that appointment. You can get the breakdown for your patients responsibility for all the procedures you plan on doing by taking your treatment plan to one of the business office reps once you have one. Students oftentimes don't get this concept and keep doing procedures without having their patient pay the difference (once again, this mistake can be avoided by looking at the balance sheet at the end of the chart and realize things aren't getting billed).


    There are other mistakes but these three seem to be what catches students by surprise right before graduation. I made several mistakes when I first started out in the summer but I caught my mistakes early and asked the right people to correct them. To answer the original poster's question, I do not owe a single cent nor I intend to before graduation. I truly believe that if you stay on top of your business, you will not have a problem having to pay for your patient or having your procedures nullified. Could Temple do a better job of notifying you if the balance sheet's being neglected? Absolutely. However, nobody is going to hold your hand out there in the real world to tell you aren't collecting so I think it's good that they try and teach you this part of dentistry while you're still in school.
     
  10. ItsGavinC

    Dentist Moderator Emeritus 15+ Year Member

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    For sure one of the dumbest things I've ever heard. :thumbdown:

    They don't make money so you don't get credit. It's so dumb it's almost comical.
     
  11. aphistis

    Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

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    Continuing the devil's advocate position above, it's still a better deal than you get in practice. If you treat a nonpaying patient outside, you don't just lose a couple points, you lose 100% of your profit--plus you lose money on the fees, supplies, & chair time you threw away on them.

    If we're not satisfied a patient can/will pay for treatment, we need to either take fees up-front or else dismiss them. It's just another component of developing a good feel for case selection, which I think most here can agree will be critically important to us in practice.
     
  12. 1992Corolla

    1992Corolla CheerioKing
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    Hmmmm, just like the real world...I like that.
     
  13. DcS

    DcS damn the red baron
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    At UNC if procedures are not paid for we do not get credit. On big-ticket items, patients pay 1/2 up front before a tooth is touched. That usually ties the patient to the tx in more cases than not.

    However, in response to the diatribe above, I have several comments. The fact that Temple makes you responsible to check up on patient policies is ludicrous. Are you paid for this? I guarantee you there are people in your school that are. You as a student are not an employee of the school, however, it seems your school might say otherwise. Schools have financial offices for the very purpose of verifying insurances and handle billing issues. If pre-dents are considering dental schools, I would be highly suspicious of schools that force you do deal with these issues. And don't give me this crap about how it's "good practice for a private office". The fact remains that you are a dental school STUDENT, not EMPLOYEE. Their job is to teach you, not force you to do work that employees should do.

    At UNC, my last worry is chasing patients down for money. If they don't pay, they go into financial lock, and I can't schedule them. That's fair enough. I do not have to pour through insurance to go to a financial office. What a complete, utter waste of time.
     
  14. flat4

    flat4 Mullet Redesigner
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    Well Temple definitely isn't for those who wish to be spoonfed. You said it yourself, we are STUDENTS...to be more specific, we are students who wish to learn how to be WELL ROUNDED dentists, which includes how deal with the financial aspect of private practice. I personally don't mind that they're teaching us how to deal with and handle different types of insurance policies as I've personally things I never would have learned if I weren't in charge of my patients finances. But that's just me. Maybe it'll get old by the time I graduate but as of now, I'm thankful that I'm getting these types of life lessons (plus it takes a whopping 2 minutes out of my day so I don't get my panties in a bunch).
     
  15. GTchick

    GTchick Senior Member
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    Just wait until the billing office screws you over. I love when they tell me that the insurance will pay for something and then the insurance decides not too after I have done it. There is no way I am getting out of school without paying for a couple of my patients and I do verify insurance before every appointment.
     
  16. Hot pickle baby

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    I third it.
     
  17. Hot pickle baby

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    looks like dental school will be VERY political and full of hassles, what ever happened to just doing your assignments and homework and that being enough?
     
  18. r0entgen

    r0entgen Senior Member
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    does anyone know if upenn has this policy?
     
  19. drhobie7

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    Undergrad is history.
     
  20. flat4

    flat4 Mullet Redesigner
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    If it were truly out of my hands, then I would be pissed also. If you really think you weren't in the wrong, then see Mrs. Ricks in the business office and tell her your situation. She is actually pretty understanding depending on the situation but if the problem was caused by your misunderstanding of protocol (ie. you clearly ignored or forgot to follow steps which can be found in writing), then there's probably not much you can do. Just seems kind of odd that they would preauth something and then tell you that it's not covered after you do the procedure.

    Not sure if this makes it any better but I think that you do end up getting the credits back if you pay the difference. What happens is that before graduation, they look to see if all your charts are balanced and if your patients owe anything, they sort of "hold on" to your credits until you can pay the school back. Then you get the points back and you are cleared for graduation. It's not like the credits disappear forever.

    Let's jut put it in these terms. The school is the pimp, we are the ho's, and credits are crack. The ho's (us) bust their butts off (no pun intended) so they can score a little crack (credits) which is held by the pimp. If they don't pay the pimp all that they owe him, then they don't get their crack. Why? B/c the pimp knows that the ho's value crack too much not to pay up. Similary, the school won't give us our credits until we pay up b/c they know how much we value our sacred credits.
     
  21. 3rdMolarRoller

    3rdMolarRoller User Account Deleted
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    It only cost $20 to report people on all 3 of their credit reports. I'm sure once they apply for they Sears charge card or used auto loan and get rejected they will come crawling back to the student and beg to pay!
     
  22. Hot pickle baby

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    by then you will have already NOT graduated. I think it takes 6 months to go through the process of having the angry miscellaneous guy call and ask where his money be!
     

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