09.29.06 - Issue # 238 Forward This Newsletter To A Colleague

What Are You Doing to Determine The Potential of Your Practice?

Belle DuCharme CDPMA
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What I find lacking in most of the offices I work with is a vision for success.  I am not talking about magic or reading Tarot cards, I am referring to a written business plan for reaching short term and long-term financial goals.  Many dentists have one tucked away somewhere but have handed that over to an accountant or financial planner to store.  That is fine, but these professionals do not sit at the chair with you everyday and monitor your diagnostic techniques or your treatment acceptance rate. 

What is your daily diagnosis dollar amount for recall?  Have you set a goal?  What is your monthly new patient count?  What is your average treatment diagnosis for new patients and are they scheduled? Are you tracking your acceptance rate?  Your acceptance rate today shows up in scheduled production one to three weeks out unless you are booked out further (which is another issue that needs addressing).  If your scheduled day appears thinner than usual don’t look to that day for the answer, go back one to three weeks to see what was being diagnosed and accepted. If you are keeping records you will see a pattern.  Your business manager or treatment coordinator cannot book treatment that has not been diagnosed.  If you find that you are treatment planning and hearing verbal acceptance from the patient but not seeing them scheduled, look for answers from your business staff.  One business manager told me she sends in pre-determinations for all treatment including single crowns and resin fillings.  She either schedules four to six weeks out or agrees to call the patient when the pre-determination returns.  The reason she does this is to eliminate any question about what the insurance is going to pay.  Even when you receive this pre-determination the insurance companies make sure you understand that it is “not a guarantee of payment”.

I recommend doing the following if you are a net-work or out of net-work provider:

  1. Know the patients’ insurance plan, benefits, eligibility and calendar year maximum and dollars left for the year prior to them entering the office by fax, online or call to the insurance company.  Make sure the patient understands that you are not working for the insurance company and they have provided the information.
  2. Prepare a written treatment plan and payment option sheet on each patient no matter how small the treatment plan.  Give the patient a copy of these forms.
  3. With the information that you have received from the insurance plan, schedule all treatment and have in writing the “estimated” insurance payment and the amount of the patient co-pay and applicable deductibles understood by the patient.  The best time to get a commitment to schedule is right after receiving the diagnosis.  If the patient leaves the office without an appointment, you are sending a message that the treatment can wait and you are giving the patient and the insurance company the power to determine how long it can wait.
  4. If there is going to be a sizeable amount of out of pocket expense you must help the patient secure funding from a financial source such as CareCredit.

A simplified way of tracking your treatment potential is to create a monitor containing the following information:

  1. The number of treatment presentations given per month.
  2. The number of patients that proceed with the treatment. Subtract from the number of presentations.
  3. This equals the number of patients that do not proceed with treatment.
  4. Multiply the answer by your average case fee amount.
  5. This total will represent the potential available per month multiplied by 12 equals an estimated yearly additional revenue.

Scheduling is a major key to the success of all dental practices.  Every team member is accountable in some way for the success of scheduling.  The age-old questions of “Why aren’t I booked?”  “Why are we slow this time of year?” “Why did Mrs. Brown cancel, she has been on the schedule for 6 weeks?” can be answered by looking at the practice history and tracking monitors.  Creating a customized approach to your practice needs is one of the reasons why The Advanced Business Training offered at McKenzie Management is a sound investment for your practice.  The training provides all monitors, insurance questionnaires, payment option designs and treatment presentation skills you need to take your practice to a higher level of productivity and profitability.  Come join us today and create your vision for practice success.

For more information on McKenzie's Advanced Training for Front Office, Office Managers or Dentists email training@mckenziemgmt.com, call 1-877-777-6151 or visit our web-site at http://www.mckenziemgmt.com/.

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