Somebody Yell ‘FIRE(D)’?
Too many sleepless nights,
too many gray hairs, too much antacid, too many unfulfilled chances
to correct the problems. It’s time to let a difficult
employee go. First make sure the employee file is chocked
full of documentation demonstrating a system of progressive discipline.
This makes it clear that the practice has made an effort to help
the employee improve. It’s also advisable to check with your
attorney regarding specific labor laws that may
be in place in your state.
typical progressive discipline plan should include:
Documentation of every conversation the supervisor/doctor has
had with the employee regarding their performance.
explanations provided to the employee both verbally and in writing
that spelled out explicitly the performance issues that were not
meeting expectations and what the employee needed to do to change
signed document spelling out what the doctor and employee agreed
needed to be done to improve the employee’s poor performance.
a problem employee placed on a progressive discipline plan
will improve over a two-to-three month discipline period. But what’s
real and what’s ideal are often worlds apart. When the time
comes to send the employee on their way, follow a consistent, well-prepared
should be let go when patients are not in or
expected in the office.
with the employee in private, but have a witness present
such as your attorney, office manager or spouse.
Tell the employee that the purpose of the meeting is to release
them from their position.
feel compelled to get into the details of the performance
problems. Through the progressive discipline procedures, the employee
has been provided numerous opportunities over the past 60-90 days
to understand and address the performance issues.
the employee a check on the spot for earned salary
and benefits or tell them to expect payment within a certain number
person then should be escorted to collect their personal belongings
and hand over the office key.
When the employee is gone, call the team together and
inform the team that the employee is no longer with the practice.
The doctor should not get into any details regarding the dismissal.
It’s important that the team hear from the doctor as soon
as possible to avoid speculation and gossip.
firing an employee is something most dentists will
avoid almost at all costs, once the job is done they consistently
find that it was the best action they could have taken for both
themselves and the practice.
you have any questions or comments, please email Sally McKenzie
in having Sally speak to your dental society or study club?
Your Glass Half Full or Half Empty?
Dr. Nancy Haller
a story about two shoe salesmen that sailed to a faraway island
to sell shoes. After the first day, each of them sent back telegrams.
One said, “This place is a disaster. No one wears shoes.”
The other telegram read, “This place is a gold mine. No one
Research has shown us that from the ability to sell to higher immune
responses to illness, optimistic people are more successful
– in business endeavors, athletic performance,
relationships. Remaining positive in the face of adversity could
mean big bucks for your practice and it is likely to improve
your overall sense of well being too! The really good news is that
you can learn to be more optimistic!
is the frame by which you see the world and define
what happens to you. Perhaps you remember reading The Little
Engine that Could. The little train competing with the powerful
new locomotive. Although this children’s book has become the
“popular” view of optimism, the story provides an inaccurate
image of the concept of positive thinking. Optimism is far more
complex than simply saying “I think I can, I think I can”.
The way you explain both bad and good events, your explanatory style,
goes beyond the words you mouth when you fail or succeed.
childhood and adolescence you developed thinking habits
based on your life experiences as well as the role models around
you. Your explanatory style was formed directly from your
view of your place in the world – whether you thought
you were important and deserving, or insignificant and doomed to
failure. Over time you constructed a belief system
about how the world operates, and your place within that world.
It is the foundation upon which you make judgments and decisions.
Even if that belief system helped you to survive a difficult start
in life, it may not be working any longer. Stop and examine your
are three crucial dimensions to your explanatory style – permanence,
pervasiveness, and personalization. Let’s look at each of
these in the context of successful experiences as well as adversities.
good things happen:
people tend to think, “Success is here to stay”. They
believe that their good fortune is permanent. Pessimists
believe that success was just a fluke happening.
maximize their success by allowing it to enhance everything
else they do (pervasiveness). Instead of leveraging their
successful experiences, pessimistic thinkers let good events die
on the vine.
importantly, optimistic thinkers take credit for their successes
– they own it (personalization). Pessimistic people dismiss
their success to good luck.
are able to attribute causation in ways that preserve their self-esteem
and energy. Adversity is temporary to them; “My
practice always slows down in the summer. It will pick up in the
fall when people return from vacation”, not “I’ll
never get my revenue up to where it needs to be.
people also are able to limit the extensiveness of negative
experiences. They put a ‘psychological tourniquet”
on their thinking so that setbacks are specific and not pervasive;
“Mr. Jones is a noncompliant patient – the rest of the
day is bound to get better”, not “Here we go
again…another lousy day”.
optimists allow themselves to see outside factors as contributory
to bad events; “That procedure was difficult because
I have a new chairside assistant”, not “I’m
a terrible dentist”.
your thoughts affect your actions and your emotions.
While it’s normal to feel angry, sad and fearful, successful
leaders don’t dwell on these emotions. Resiliency is about
finding temporary and specific causes for misfortune. This is the
“stuff of hope”. If you have been experiencing poor
health, lowered productivity, poor self-esteem and/or a tendency
to become overstressed with life’s inevitable downturns, evaluate
your thoughts. By changing your beliefs, you could improve
your practice and your life.
the saying goes, “As you think, so shall you become”.
in mind that optimism cannot be determined accurately by merely
your own perception. If you are interested in assessing your explanatory
style through a scientifically validated test, contact Dr. Haller
in having Dr. Haller speak to your dental society or study club?
her at firstname.lastname@example.org
DOES YOUR OVERHEAD
Importance of a Written Payment Agreement
some time in the life cycle of virtually every organization, its
ability to succeed in spite of itself runs out.”
H. Brien, The Education Record, 1970.
Belle M. DuCharme
RDA, CDPMA, Director
The Center for
Dental Career Development
break time, during my presentation on How to Become an Exceptional
Front Office Employee, a doctor, who had come for the workshop
and had brought his front office staff, approached me and said.
“My patients love me, the parents always thank me for giving
their children such good care, but they don’t want to pay
me. I don’t understand. I bend over backwards to please them
yet my accounts receivables are way too high. They want to make
payments, but don’t keep the agreement. When the insurance
pays they don’t send in their balances. I thought if I were
the best dentist in
I would get paid. What am I doing wrong”? To answer his
question, I replied. “You aren’t doing anything wrong
in the delivery of your dental procedures. It sounds like you have
a great chair side manner. What hasn’t been made clear is
what is expected of the patient or responsible party for payment
of your services. If there isn’t a firm financial arrangement
in place for each patient before treatment begins, then the patient
or responsible person will have a preconceived idea of how they
are going to pay. Many patients bring the “bill me”
attitude from their previous dental office. If the procedure has
already been completed, this is the worst time to set up a financial
arrangement because you have already delivered the goods. Experience
has shown me that if you don’t ask for the money,
you won’t get the money. As a dentist with a busy
practice, you should not be involved in collecting for your services.
Your financial coordinator should be collecting co-payment percentages
and deductibles from each insurance patient at each visit. If you
are accepting assignment of benefits as a PPO network provider then
you are already doing “discounted dentistry.” If the
patient wants to make payments, that can be arranged through CareCredit
services, an outside financial organization that specializes in
lending money for health care services. The patient will be able
to make affordable monthly payments and you will be paid in full
minus a small fee. Everyone wins. You should not be carrying any
accounts on your books because you are a small business and not
a lending institution.
CENTER FOR DENTAL CAREER DEVELOPMENT, we have a two day FINANCIAL
COORDINATOR Training Course for your front office financial person.
Together we develop a written financial policy customized to the
needs of your practice. We establish written dialogues for treatment
presentation along with ways to overcome objections. We cover the
most common reasons for rejecting treatment and how to overcome
these pitfalls and schedule the patient. Your financial coordinator
will come away knowing how to measure the success of your practice
and how to increase treatment acceptance and payment of services
when rendered. Don’t continue to flounder with high accounts
receivables and unpaid bills. Take your staff to a new level of
competency and get the respect you deserve from your patients. Remember
the quickest way to lose a patient is to have him owe you money.
Call us today to schedule your Financial Coordinator/Business Administrator
for one-on-one customized training.
Advanced Front Office Business Training call, THE
CENTER FOR DENTAL CAREER DEVELOPMENT
M. DuCharme, RDA, CDPMA
YOU LIKE TO HAVE
Exceptional Front Office Employees?
Insurance Coding Handbook
manual is an office essential!
Much more than just codes and definitions, this manual helps
you speed up insurance reimbursement, reduce requests for "more
information" and decrease payment delays! Additionally,
under the provisions set by the HIPAA Act, all dental offices
and insurance carriers that transmit health information electronically
must use the current version of dental procedure codes found
in this Handbook. Also, you will receive information on treatment
estimates and how to talk to patients about insurance.
staff has been bugging me about getting some type of message on
the telephone when patients are put on hold. I told them that patients
shouldn’t be on hold very long but they are disagreeing with
me…the boss…who signs the paycheck…imagine that!
Please give me your advice.
is a fact that patient’s are put on hold and sometimes longer
than we would want. Patient’s are checking out, checking in,
phones are ringing and clinical staff want to know if their patient
has arrived. I do advise that if the patient is on hold more than
two minutes, connect to the patient and explain you are still with
a patient and do they mind continuing to hold and wait for the answer!!
the patient is essential in reinforcing the importance of professional
dental care as well as informing patients about other services the
practice provides. No matter what size your practice, it’s
likely that, at least occasionally, patients must be placed on hold.
Use this time to educate your patients with specially developed
informative messages that enlighten the patient about services you
provide. Having information on hold allows you to choose specific
messages for your needs such as promoting veneers or porcelain inlays,
or the importance of sealants for young children. You have the flexibility
to change your message as often as you like and it just plugs into
your phone system. Patients have come to expect this as most businesses
now provide this feature.
US TRAIN YOUR
Center for Dental Career Development
Business Education for Dental Professionals
737 Pearl Street,
La Jolla, CA 92037
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