198068047 © Kamil Macniak | Dreamstime.com
Dreamstime Xxl 198068047

Are you raising fees in 2023?

Feb. 7, 2023
If you're raising your fees to keep up with inflation and overhead, you're in good company—three out of four dentists recently polled plan to do so in 2023.

Practice schedules remain in a holding pattern and recruitment needs are slightly down, but concerns of inflation and overhead have nearly three out of four dentists recently polled indicating they plan to raise fees in 2023.

Results from the American Dental Association’s Health Policy Institute (HPI)’s most recent Economic Outlook and Emerging Issues in Dentistry poll indicate that amid concerns about inflation, overhead, and rising costs, some 72% of dentists plan to raise fees in 2023. Other top challenges they’re expecting to face for the year include staffing and insurance issues/low reimbursement rates.

While recruitment needs for hygienists and assistants slightly declined, among those hiring for those positions, recruitment has been about as challenging as it was a year ago. In January 2023, 93.7% of dentists who indicated they’re recruiting for a hygienist deemed it “extremely challenging,” up slightly from 91.1% in 2022.

Data showed that in December, 3,400 jobs were added in the dental sector and that the total number of jobs is 4% above the 12 months prior and is beyond prepandemic level—a seeming paradox that was discussed in a HPI webinar last fall that included information about what panelists called a “new normal” in terms of the staffing mix.

Jobs are increasing, but not necessarily the number of people, said Bradley Munson, HPI senior research analyst and webinar panelist, adding that “staffing shortages aren’t going away any time soon; practices need to adjust.”

Key takeaways from the poll include:

Practice schedules steady: Following several months of data showing a “holding pattern,” dental practice schedules remain steady at the start of 2023, with an uptick of practices indicating “not enough patients” is the key reason they are not busier compared to last year’s top reason, staffing shortages.

Dental spending. December data show no big developments in terms of dental spending trends, with results indicating another holding pattern.

Looking ahead: The top actions dentists plan in 2023 are raising fees, hiring more staff, and dropping out of some insurance networks. The top challenges for practices are staffing, rising operating costs, and stagnant insurance reimbursement levels.