3.23.07 - Issue # 263 Forward This Newsletter To A Colleague

Jean Gallienne RDH BS
Hygiene Consultant
McKenzie Management
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What Do All of Those Numbers Mean?

Many offices have morning meetings. The hygienists’ report what is scheduled for the day in relation to their goal as well as their total production from the previous day. This is great as long as everybody in the practice understands what these numbers indicate and the goals for production are being scheduled accurately and are being met.

The daily totals that are given should be determined on the actual amount that is received from the patient as well as insurance companies that pay at reduced fee plans. By monitoring the hygiene department in this manner, it should be more aware of the actual amount the practice receives as payment as well as each hygienist’s actual production per day.

Many hygienists may discover that the practice is not producing nearly as much as originally anticipated. This is because of the insurance companies not paying the entire fee to the practice that he or she thought the doctor was collecting. Many hygienists may also find that they are not actually producing as much as they originally thought. The hygienist should be aware of his or her actual production as well as the production goal is per hour. 

Where exactly did the goals come from when it comes to what the practice needs to produce? Did the doctor and possibly a consultant just pull these numbers from the air? Well, that could be the correct answer, but hopefully there has been an evaluation of the practice in order to determine where the goals should be set in order to pay the employee salaries including benefits such as retirement, medical, dental supplies, taxes, office supplies, lab cost, facility expenses, and miscellaneous expenses. All of these expenses represent overhead costs that the doctor must pay before she/he even gets a paycheck. Therefore, establishing budgetary targets based on industry standards are a great way to start. This will also help in setting hourly, daily, monthly, and yearly goals for the doctor and the hygienist.

However, it takes the entire team in order to obtain these goals. The Scheduling Coordinator needs to schedule accurately, the Financial Coordinator needs to collect the money, the Patient Coordinator needs to keep the schedule full, the Assistant needs to keep the doctor on schedule, and the Doctor and Hygienist need to provide the patient with quality care.

When staff members want raises, remember the numbers that are gone over every day at the morning business meeting and the numbers that are reported at the weekly business meeting. Are raises really possible? Have goals been met? This goes back to coming to work, doing your job to the best of your ability. Working hard is not the only thing that determines your salary and raises. There needs to be money in the checkbook in order to write the checks.

The hygienist’s salary should be no more than 33% of his or her production (excluding doctor’s fee.) What exactly does this mean? Let us say that the hygienist is producing $100 an hour on average. In order to stay at industry standard without going over, the most this hygienist should be paid is $33.00 an hour. Even with this figure, the hygienist gets thirty-three cents of every dollar he or she produces.

With that in mind let’s look at a couple of steps that will help build a hygiene department that is a full contributor to the success of the practice.

  • Evaluate fees and determine if they are too low.
  • Insist on periodontal assessment on all patients at every visit.
  • Require the hygienist to assess the 4000 codes every month.
  • How many 4910’s are really being done compared to patients that have recently finished root planing?
  • Review production
  • Look at trends
  • Customize the time per patient based on individual patient needs.
  • Expect the hygienist to review previously proposed treatment.
  • Expect the hygienist to educate the patient not only on oral hygiene but also on practice services.

Hold all employees accountable for their systems. Either they will enable the practice to sail on to bigger and better achievements or they will attempt to sink every effort to improve systems and procedures. Setting goals and achieving these goals are imperative when it comes to the future of the practice, job security, and increases in income.

Interested in knowing more about how to improve your hygiene department? Email hygiene@mckenziemgmt.com.

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