Buyer of A/R Beware

Buyer BEwareAbout a year ago we were engaged to represent a buyer in their efforts to purchase a dental practice. The transaction went fairly smooth and it was one of those engagements where the client wanted to try & handle much of the transaction themselves…or at least as much as they felt comfortable with.

As the settlement day approached, the seller of the practice suggested that the buyer purchase the A/R (unbeknownst to us) and they even agreed on what seemed to be a generous allocation, 0-30, 90%, 30-60, 75%, 60-90, 60%, 0% older than 90 days. On the day of settlement the seller did what they normally do, generate a current A/R report, less patient credits so the parties could do the math and make that part of their settlement.

Things seemed to be going ok for the first 30 days or so, then the buyer started to notice a couple of things. EOBs were arriving with amounts MUCH lower than what the A/R balances were showing and in some cases the EOBs showed services dates much older than what was reported in the various aged buckets.

Here’s what the buyer learned over a period of time – A) the seller was posting the charges WITHOUT posting the appropriate PPO/Insurance adjustments or at least an estimate of what the PPO/Insurance should have been and B) the software they were using retained any insurance A/R as a 0-30 balance even after 30 days.

So not only did the buyer pay 90% of inflated 0-30 balances because the PPO/insurance adjustments weren’t made, if there were any rejected claims that weren’t handled within 30 days those balances remained in the 0-30 bucket and the buyer overpaid for those balances as well. In the latter case they got hit twice as hard because not only would they have paid less than 90% on those older insurance balances, they also WAY overpaid on those balances because the adjustments weren’t made as well.

As a buyer if you’re going to purchase A/R, make sure you do your due diligence. Make sure all credits are removed, make sure the buckets are aged by date of service, make sure balances have been adjusted for actual or estimated PPO/insurance adjustments.

We’ve seen situations where a software will take a 6-month-old balance and included it in the 0-30 day bucket because the software starts the aging at 0 days whenever an invoice is issued, even when the date of service is 6 months old !

The DentalCPAs Team

For additional information and/or questions specific to your practice,contact one of our Dental CPA team members at 844-DENT CPA or