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Keep more of what you produce in your dental practice

Feb. 20, 2020
Dentists often hesitate to ask patients to pay at the time of their appointments, or increase their fees, or start big cases sooner rather than later. Dr. Roger Levin says taking these steps will help you keep more of what you work hard to earn.
Roger P. Levin, DDS, CEO and Founder, Levin Group

Work hard. Get lots of patients. Make lots of money. It’s a simple formula, but unfortunately it doesn’t always add up. Great production doesn’t always equal great revenue. If that doesn’t make sense to you, you’re not alone. Many dentists fall into the trap of earning lots of money but not keeping it.

Think about it. We all know about many practices that have a very bad habit of not following up on payments, not keeping tabs on insurance, or not tracking incomplete treatment. Here are a few things you can do to quickly start keeping more of what you produce over the next six to 12 months. 

Ask for payment at the time of service

This is a rule that has been recommended to dentists for over 30 years and yet many practices still allow patients to leave without payment. How does this happen? Unfortunately, when it comes to payments, practices tend to put the ball in the patient’s court. If a patient says, “I’ll send a check,” we say, “OK.” If a someone says, “I don’t have a credit card,” we say, “OK.” “I’ve been a patient for 20 years blah blah blah . . .” we say, “OK.” Try telling Nordstrom that you’re going to take the suit home because you’ve been a customer for 20 years and you’ll send a check when you get around to it. 

Increase your fees annually

When you increase your fees, insurance companies profile your practice at a higher level. Insurance companies spend a great deal of time trying to figure out how to pay your practice less. Dentists help them by keeping their fees lower than they should out of fear of losing patients, however, this causes them to lose much more in insurance reimbursements. 

Tell patients about expiring benefits

Let patients know about any remaining insurance benefits they have that will expire in December. Tell them the exact dollar amount and emphasize that their insurance company will take away those unclaimed dollars. This gets people annoyed and angry. You might hear, “Make that appointment for me. There’s no way I’m letting them take this away.” 

Tell patients about new benefits

There are always patients who miss treatment when their benefits run out for that year. Contact them at the beginning of the year to let them know you’re calling to make the appointment because their benefits renewed, and you want to help them secure a convenient appointment to complete their treatment. 

Start all big cases within seven to 10 days

Handling big cases sooner means that you can collect sooner, you can pay yourself more income sooner, and you don’t have to work three to five extra years. This is not an opinion. It is real math based on real data. 

You work too hard not to hold on to what you’ve earned. Use the five strategies here to help you keep more of what you produce so that you can ensure financial success for today and the future. 

ROGER P. LEVIN, DDS, is the CEO and founder of Levin Group, a leading practice management consulting firm that has worked with over 30,000 practices to increase production. A recognized expert on dental practice management and marketing, he has written 67 books and more than 4,000 articles and regularly presents seminars in the US and around the world. To contact Dr. Levin or join the 40,000 dental professionals who receive his Practice Production Tip of the Day, visit levingroup.com or email [email protected].