THIS! For only TWO more Crowns a Month!
Trying to convince yourself
that you can afford that posh palace in the exclusive business district,
eh? Sure, a few more crowns and the most elite, gorgeous, state-of-the-art
facility for 200 miles will be all YOURS! I can hear it now ...
“Oh my gosh – interest rates are sooooo low right
now. How could I pass up this opportunity to move into this really
cool space with gold inlay porcelain tile throughout, state-of-the-art
light switches everywhere – you just blink and they come on!
water faucets in the bathrooms, a Champaign fountain
in the front entrance, and a waiting room fully stocked
with ergonomically fitted full-body massaging chairs and a salad
bar! I’m going to have to turn patients awaaaayyy. Can you
believe this deal - a measly $3 million bucks! Why, I think I’ll
call it the Ooh-lah-lah Dental Spa!” ...
you really think payment is going to be “no big deal”?
Let’s see … the line goes something like “all
that glitters is not ... more money for your practice.” Many
doctors convince themselves that because the space looks good and
it’s in a good location, they will be able to improve productivity.
However, they fail to consider the 5% parameter. Facility payments,
including rent/mortgage and utilities must fall within 5%
of monthly collections.
say you produce $25,000 per month. You collect $21,000 per month
and you want to move into a new facility with a total rent of $2,500
per month, which would be a $1,450 increase over what you are paying
now. You justify the increase by telling yourself that a couple
more crowns per month will take care of it – not
a problem. If only it could be that simple. With a $2,500 per month
rent bill, you will have to collect a handsome $50,000 each month
to stay within the 5% guideline. Therefore, you will have to increase
collections by a whopping 29g’s to cover that itty-bitty,
little $1,450 per month rent hike. Ouch! … Could someone please
grab the smelling salts?
week, what to do if facility payments are pulling you under.
you have any questions or comments, please email Sally McKenzie
in having Sally speak to your dental society or study club?
YOU FIND YOURSELF WAIST DEEP IN
HERE TO ANSWER THESE
10 EASY QUESTIONS
to improve management techniques through your technology platform
VP Professional Relations
Last week, [see
article], we discussed some more of the basic steps to setting
up your scheduler. We also reviewed one of the “Golden Rules”
of electronic scheduling. This week, we continue to work within
your scheduler. In particular, I want to discuss “closing
all of the cracks” in your schedule.
Scheduling – Closing the Cracks
Your practice management software has an “unscheduled treatment
or “tickler file” associated with the electronic scheduler.
Some practice management systems have multiple “lists”
of patients who, for whatever reason, haven’t quite made it
back onto the active schedule. Your system may have a list called
“just in time” or “short call” tickler file.
These are patients who said it was OK for you to call them
on short notice to see if they could fill a cancellation
gap. Whatever your software calls their lists – I want you
to print a complete list (you’ll find it under “Reports”)
of every patient on both lists.
Take a look at the patients on the lists. Go into their individual
records to determine if these patients really do need another appointment.
Many times, you will find patients there who have already completed
their treatment. You may also find (it depends on how long you’ve
used this feature) old, old, entries on the list. Clean up the list!
A good rule of thumb is to remove entries older than 6 months
AND all entries where the work has been completed. Use your own
judgement here. If a patient is purposely waiting more than 6 months
to complete their treatment, make an exception and leave them in
Understand the correct way (when) to put patients on the list. Almost
every patient that comes out to the front desk requires another
appointment. This is especially true if you pre-appoint the majority
of your hygiene patients. Every patient who does NOT make that appointment
during the checkout phase – goes into the unscheduled
treatment file. If you do this, you know you have all of
the patients who made their next appointment in the schedule, and,
all the patients that did not schedule their next appointment (for
whatever reason/excuse) in the unscheduled treatment file. You have
just started to close all of the cracks in your schedule.
The difference between your “unscheduled treatment list”
and the “just in time” list is big!
Whatever software you own, you should actually have two lists to
pull from when you have a cancellation to fill. Don’t get
confused by this. This is great if you use them properly! The “just
in time” list is patients who said they would be available
in a moments notice. They live or work nearby the office and/or
have a flexible schedule. As a general rule, use patients from this
list to fill cancellation gaps when the cancellation gap is LESS
THAN 24 HOURS away.
Use the patients on the “unscheduled treatment list”
to fill cancellations that are MORE THAN 24 HOURS
The person in the office who is responsible for following up with
outstanding treatment plans will use the unscheduled treatment list
when making their calls. Notes specific to the telephone
conversation should be entered after the phone call is
made. Entering the results of the telephone conversation will share
the information with the whole. This is VALUABLE information to
the clinical team at the next patient visit.
This is definitely something you can do Today!
I welcome any and all readers to email
me with specific questions, problems, requests and challenges.
Who knows? Maybe your inquiry will lead to a new Tips For Today
article! Don’t worry, your inquiry will remain anonymous unless
you want credit for the question.
in having Mark speak to your dental society or study club?
you DON’T do anything to improve your
history is bound
to repeat itself.
Find out how you can make the
most of your practice...GO
you don’t believe in your product or your service you will
not be able to sell it.” Donald Trump, from his television
show, “The Apprentice”.
Belle M. DuCharme, RDA,
Director/ The Center for
Dental Career Development
at dentistry as a business of selling a product and a service, Mr.
Trump is right…you must believe in what you are trying to
convince the patient to buy. However, sometimes the patient
is sold on the product. He knows he needs the 3 unit bridge
or the implant supported crown but, he is not sure he wants you
to provide the service. He may not verbalize this directly. It will
come out as, “I want to think about it.” Or “I
want to get a second opinion.” Recently I overheard a woman
telling her friend that her new dentist, Dr. B, had the newest and
most advanced equipment so that he could provide
the best of diagnostic and treatment services. She accepted treatment
from Dr. B and not from Dr. A. and when I asked her, “why?”
She said that Dr. A had not seemed confident when
presenting the treatment plan. He did not look her in the eye. He
showed her x-rays in the light of his overhead lamp and she could
not visualize what he was explaining to her. He seemed
apologetic when presenting his fees. When he left the room, she
asked the assistant a question about the treatment. The assistant
was not able to answer the question because she was a trainee. This
can result in huge dollars of unscheduled treatment. In contrast,
Dr. B and his assistant worked smoothly as a team. They showed her
several intra-oral photos and digital images to demonstrate the
procedure. Most of all she liked the fact that the assistant could
answer all of the questions she thought of after the doctor had
left the room.
have shown that the dentist is often not the person
who should be presenting treatment to the patient. He may be clinically
excellent but he has difficulty translating clinical information
to lay terms so the patient can understand. And…let’s
face it…when the dentist is presenting treatment plans, he’s
not producing. Once the doctor has completed the diagnosis portion
of the case presentation, the next step toward patient treatment
acceptance is the financial aspect. Many doctors
do not feel comfortable discussing fees. Due to the practice operating
on scheduled production, the doctor should not
be explaining fees and appointments, but should be doing dentistry.
This is where a trained
Treatment Coordinator comes in to answer any questions in regards
to the doctor’s diagnosis, phases of treatment, the appointment
sequences and alternate treatment. The Treatment Coordinator will
also explain other treatment plan options and the fees. After the
information is presented, the patient then has an opportunity to
ask questions regarding treatment, fees and time commitment. The
Treatment Coordinator is prepared with all the related material
to discuss the case. She will have the chart, or computer chart,
radiographs and or digital images, study models, intra-oral photos,
demonstration models, educational brochures and other visual aids
at her disposal. A written financial agreement is presented at the
end of the presentation for signature and a deposit.
A breakdown occurs when the patient is given a rushed treatment
plan in the operatory by the doctor and or the assistant
and ultimately ends up at the “front desk” with several
questions needing to be answered. The Scheduling Coordinator is
on the phone with another patient and is too busy to answer the
questions correctly. Now you understand why he may want to “think
about it” before making a commitment.
The training necessary to become a polished Treatment Coordinator
is not taught at the typical dental assisting school. Having worked
as a Treatment Coordinator for many years, my knowledge has come
by trial and error. The skills of this employee to present treatment
that achieves a consistent acceptance rate is vital
to the success of any practice.
When choosing a Treatment Coordinator for your practice, look for
excellent clinical skills as well as the following:
Excellent verbal communication and listening skills
Not afraid of rejection, does not mind telling people unpleasant
Able to prioritize tasks and set goals
Works well unsupervised and is accountable for actions
afraid or uneasy with empowerment
Enjoys seeing results of efforts
Confident and cooperative
The Center for Dental Career Development can train your dental assistant
or front office person to be a highly successful treatment coordinator
with a new level of competency and ultimately take your practice
to a higher level of productivity. Knowing how to communicate with
the patient at the critical time of treatment acceptance
is of utmost importance to the success of your practice.
M. DuCharme, RDA, CDPMA
Director/ The Center for Dental Career Development, La Jolla
YOU LIKE TO BECOME A SUCCESSFUL TREATMENT COORDINATOR?
PAST ISSUES OF OUR E-MOTIVATOR NEWSLETTER?
your overhead expenses
your accounts receivable
... made easy!
you need to know about cash flow is in this
information-packed book written by
Sally McKenzie, CMC
25 - 27
My doctor wants me to start calling patients who did not pay when
they came in for treatment and who have ignored the statement we
sent. Can you give me any suggestions?
The script below has worked well for our clients.
Call, identify yourself and ask for the responsible party,
objective: To learn why payment hasn't been made and to secure
Identify yourself, “Mr. Jones, Hi, this is Sally from
Dr. Thompson’s office. How are you today? (show your compassion)
Great. I am calling in regards to your account balance of (amount)
and our records show that we have not received a payment since
(date) and wanted to make sure you are receiving our statements.”
If not, verify their address. “Is that 323 North Street
43216?” “Yes” “Well who knows what the
post office did with it. Let me go ahead and send you out another
statement today. I just need to know when we can expect payment?”
If the patient is evasive with an exact date, then give them the
last working day of that week.
“That will be (date), I will note on your record that
we can expect payment of (amount) on that (date)."
a statement that day with the message of “This is to confirm
your promise of payment of (amount) by (date). Thank you for giving
this your immediate consideration.
If payment is not received by the date promised by the patient
you are to call again that day.
Remember: Persistence wears down resistence!
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Business Education for Dental Professionals
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La Jolla, CA 92037
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