Beginning in 2012, Dentistry IQ has periodically offered its readers the chance to explore tips from practice management experts that cover all areas of the dental practice, from patient relationships to the staff to financial concerns to front office matters to marketing strategies.
Whatever your role in the dental practice — whether you're a dentist, hygienist, front office worker, or even a consultant — there's sure to be something in this collection of tips that will help you as you continually commit to your job and practice.
The two previous incarnations of the 100 Tips articles have been big hits on the Dentistry IQ website — the original version still ranks as one of the top-read articles on our website. This fall, the Dentistry IQ editors decided to gather another round of tips. Due to a slight decrease in the number of tips we received this time around, and to increase clickability, we've decided to post each category of tips as a separate article. The separate articles will make it easier for readers to read only the tips that benefit them, although we urge you to read as many as you can!
Here are the top six financial tips from practice management experts:
Making a profit is not a bad thing.
Do your patients understand what sacrifices you went through to make it into dental school? Do they realize the time commitment and financial stress you endured to graduate from dental school? You owe it to yourself and your patients to continue to learn and improve your skills. After all, they trust YOU with their oral care, don’t they?
Give yourself permission to be profitable so that you can continue to care for them and their families.
Lynne Leggett, FAADOM
President, Victory Dental Management
The best way to predict the future would be to create it — for yourself, your team, and your patients. We do not strive to provide average care to average patients seeking average solutions to average problems. We want to do our best. That is fulfilling and drives our emotional and financial rewards. UCR and PPO discounts invading our profession are NOT insurance; there is NO catastrophic loss, and they have NOT adjusted for inflation. Stand up and be the voice for what is right about dentistry. Have discussions about what insurance is and what it is not — with every patient.
Mark T. Murphy, DDS
As "Obamacare" is implemented and it continues to increase the cost of medical insurance, I anticipate many employers will cut dental benefits to offset the increased costs. For a society and a profession that have grown dependent on dental insurance, this could mean some major changes. I envision patients becoming better-educated consumers and more discriminating with their dental dollars. They will be looking for value and will want more health-centered, wellness-based care. Wellness Coaching is a new skill that successful practices will learn and implement.
V. Kim Kutsch, DMD
Explanation of benefits (EOBs) from PPOs can be confusing and can prove costly. I’ve talked with many (new) administrative team members that have either withheld entering the check or have written off balances because PPO EOBs are too confusing to read. Become familiar with what is ‘approved/accepted’ and ‘allowed/maximum contract allowance (MAC).’ Three fees should appear on your EOB: yours, approved, and allowed. The approved amount should match your PPO fee schedule and the allowed amount is what the plan will pay. Only write off the difference between your fees and the approved amount.
Teresa Duncan, MS
Benefit from Dental Insurance Reimbursement Through Credentialing: The role of insurance plans in the dental industry continues to grow and change. This is expected to progress even further in 2014. While insurance reimbursement can be one of the most financially frustrating aspects of practicing dentistry, insurance credentialing is one of many strategies that can help. If your practice is credentialed properly, you will be able to generate greater revenue with minimal hassle. Many insurance companies are leasing certain networks through other insurance companies. This allows for a different reimbursement rate. Now is the time to contact your insurance credentialing representative.
(Matthew Veatch, Todd Henderson, Kelly Brantley, Paulette Covairt, Erica Antonino)
This week my company experienced a situation that is both regular and frustrating. A dentist called us with embezzlement concerns, and our initial evaluation strongly suggested his concerns were justified.
Unfortunately, he decided not to undertake an investigation. Reasons given included the time commitment involved and an apparent local labor shortage.
While I understand his concerns, I think this dentist’s paralysis and evident fear of the truth creates ongoing exposure to financial and other damage that continuing embezzlement could cause, plus a huge lingering office trust issue.
Don’t ignore the symptoms of embezzlement — it is NEVER a good idea.
David Harris, MBA, CMA, CFE