Why You Should Reward Your Team
When your team members go above and beyond, it’s important to reward them in some way for their efforts. This encourages them to continue to excel in their role, and tells them you appreciate the important contributions they make to the practice. The problem is, many dentists rely on bonus plans to reward their team members. Over the last few weeks I’ve told you why that’s a bad idea, but now it’s time to talk about the best ways to thank team members who put in the extra effort and exceed your expectations.
I suggest developing a rewards program and letting your team members know how they can earn both monetary and non-monetary rewards. Developing this reward-for-performance philosophy does much more than just benefit your employees, it benefits your practice as well. Here’s a look at how rewarding your employees can improve your practice, and how to develop a program that will motivate your team members to excel in everything they do.
Developing a rewards program is a much better way to thank employees for exceeding your expectations. A reward is more personal, especially when you take the time to tailor the reward to each team member. Employees who are involved in rewards programs develop more of an ownership attitude in the practice’s success. They actively seek ways to improve their performance and tend to be more innovative. They also tend to work better as a team, because they clearly share one common goal: meeting and exceeding their performance measurements to help the practice reach true success and profitability.
When your employees feel valued, their performance will improve and they’ll bring a positive attitude to work each day. Their efficiencies and productivity will increase, and that means they’ll provide better care to your patients.
Creating a Rewards Program
Before you present your rewards program and objectives to your team, determine how results will be measured, what level of performance is expected, what kind of rewards you’ll offer and who will be eligible to receive those rewards. Creating this roadmap to practice success will prepare you to present your plan-of-action, and help your team understand why you’ve created a rewards program and what you want to achieve, making them enthusiastic about not only the prospect of earning a reward, but doing their part to help the practice grow.
Reward Your Team Members, Reward Your Practice
Just remember not to expect significant changes overnight. A rewards program will motivate your employees, but the improvements will happen gradually. Once they have clear objectives, they can restructure their priorities and efforts to better align with the practice’s needs. It may take some time, but their performance will improve, and team members will not only be more productive, they’ll find better, more efficient ways to complete tasks.
Now that you know the benefits of a rewards program and why it’s better than giving out bonuses, you’re probably wondering what types of rewards you should offer. Check back next week for an overview of the monetary and non-monetary rewards that work best, and how to determine what might motivate your employees most. And trust me, once you implement a rewards program in your practice, with rewards your team members really want, you’ll notice an increase in production, a happier team and a more robust bottom line.Next week, How to reward your employees.
For additional information on this topic and more, visit my blog: The Lighter Side
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Training is Forever!
How many Continuing Education credits do you, doctor, earn every year? And how many hours does your team earn every year? I would venture to say that your team is not earning near as many hours as you earn. And why is that? As the dentist, do you feel that your team will “follow your lead” and just figure things out as they go along? You would not want to place an implant without knowing how first, therefore you should not expect your support team to answer questions about the implant and schedule the appointment without knowing how. They need training, just like you do, to be proficient in implementing this new procedure into their skill set. Let’s look at all the working parts should you elect to bring in a new service such as implants. This scenario would also apply to cad-cam restorations, orthodontics or any new service.
Training for New Procedures
Retraining for Consistency
Whether your practice has worked with McKenzie Management, another consulting firm, or you have implemented your own systems, it is imperative that the systems be reviewed annually to confirm that protocols are still in place. Ask questions such as, “How soon can a new hygiene patient get an appointment?” The answer should be within a week. If the answer is something different, the system has been compromised and retraining is necessary.
The same is true for the clinical team. Are each of your treatment rooms set up the same way with the same instruments and supplies, or have your assistants “claimed” an operatory for their own? Retraining and reviewing is necessary to get them back onboard.
It takes a team working together to achieve your practice goals, and the team must have a game plan, scripts and training (and retraining) on a regular basis to confirm that the systems are in place and being implemented. If your practice needs systems or you feel it is time to review your systems for effectiveness, contact us today. We can help.
Three Keys to Medical Claim Filing for the Dental Practice
In recent years, new scientific/clinical evidence has linked conditions of the mouth with disease systems of the body, resulting in insurance billing complexities. This mostly affects oral surgeons, but with more combination policies flooding the insurance market, general dental practices are more frequently finding themselves having to send claims to patients’ medical insurance first, prior to submitting to their dental insurance.
Dental offices that are not accustomed to billing medical insurance are caught in the confusion of more than one coding system. It is necessary to now have a CDT (ADA) yearly manual, but also information on CPT (AMA) codes and medical diagnostic codes found in the ICD-9 system and in October 2015, the ICD-10 medical diagnostic code system. This is a strict rule-driven system, especially if the dental office is in-network with Medicaid or Medicare patients or other government sponsored health care plans.
Follow these keys steps to simplify the process:
1. Obtain the patient’s medical insurance information when you obtain the dental insurance information. Your current updated software system may have this on the patient registration form. Take a copy of the cards, front and back. Emphasize in writing that while some procedures may be filed with the patient’s medical plan, the patient is responsible for the entire fee.
2. Contact the medical carrier prior to treatment to determine eligibility, benefits and the type of medical plan you are billing. HMO’s or PPO’s may decline benefits, pay the subscriber, or pay a lower percentage to non-participating providers. Find out the medical plan’s special requirements for filing dental procedures with medical as primary. The subscriber normally has the right to file with the medical as primary as long as it is not written in the plan that dental must be filed first if the procedure is performed by a dentist.
3. Trauma claims require special handling. It is a good idea to request that trauma patients provide you with a copy of the emergency room report or the police report if either applies. These should be attached to the claim along with the narrative. Also, liability carriers (e.g. homeowners insurance, automobile insurance, etc.) will typically be primary to medical carriers.
What is similar between dental and medical insurance claim filing is that procedure codes are required. Medical procedure codes are called CPT Codes. Similar to the dental procedure code set, the codes are divided into categories. These categories are evaluation and management; anesthesia; surgery; radiology; pathology and laboratory; and medicine. The evaluation and management codes are not like the dental exam codes. Dental practices need to cautiously choose codes from this section, as most of the mid-level to high-level codes require a time factor and the evaluation of multiple body systems. Part of the difficulty in cross-coding is that very few CPT codes exactly parallel dental procedures. There are some insurance carriers that will accept CDT codes on the medical claim form (ask them).
The dental record must be complete and legible, with all entries dated and signed. Every patient appointment must include the date, the reason or complaint, appropriate history and physical/oral exam, review of radiograph results and other ancillary services where appropriate, an assessment and a treatment plan or release plan. Past and present diagnoses should be available to the treating or consulting health care professional. The reason for and results of radiographs, tests and other services should be documented to the dental record including referrals. Patients’ progress reports such as response to treatment change in treatment or diagnoses, treatment plan or plans.
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