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 By Neil B. Gailmard, OD, MBA, FAAO, Editor March 6, 2002 - Tip #7 
 Contact Dr. Gailmard | Subscribe | Archives | Print this issue Visit: optometricmanagement.com 
 
The NSF Check - Not So Fast


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Additional Information

Any optometrist who collects fees from patients has dealt with this unpleasant acronym - NSF. Non-sufficient funds - also known as the bounced check - is a reality in business that could be due to an innocent error, or it could be the first sign that you are not going to be paid for services and materials that were already delivered.

We have found a pretty good way to handle this event:

  • First, we instruct our bank to never automatically submit a bounced check to the host bank twice. Submitting twice is often standard policy, but the problem with that is that if it bounces a second time, the host bank will not process it anymore. A new check must be written by the patient. After a check bounces once, I want it sent to my office, so we can control what happens to it.
  • When we receive an NSF check our office immediately calls the patient and asks them to bring in cash or a credit card to cover the dishonored check. We are pleasant and understanding with our patients if they have a good financial history. Usually the patient makes good promptly.
  • If the bad check is not corrected in a day or two, we call the patient's bank that the check was written on, tell them that we have a check in the amount of $X from account Y by patient Z. We ask if there are sufficient funds currently to cover the amount.
  • If we get an answer of yes, my assistant drives the check to the bank right away, and cashes it. If we get an answer of no (there are still not sufficient funds), we keep calling every day or so until we do get a positive answer. Funds are usually available eventually.
Of course this technique doesn't always work - but it is worth a try because it makes you less dependent on the patient. We do charge a small re-processing fee for bad checks, and if the patient does not make good, we do not accept any future checks from that party.

Best wishes for continued success,

Read Past Tips Neil B. Gailmard, OD, MBA, FAAO
Editor, Optometric Management Tip of the Week


A Proud Supporter of

Send questions and comments to neil@gailmard.com.

Dr. Gailmard offers consulting services to eye care professionals through Prima Eye Group; information is available at www.primaeyegroup.com.

Please Note: The views expressed in Management Tip of the Week do not necessarily reflect those of the sponsor.

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