Forget the Fiscal Cliff - Create Your Financial Pinnacle
At this writing, the powers that be in D.C. are still negotiating how close to or how far over the “fiscal cliff” the country needs to go before a deal is reached. Let Washington do what Washington does, and when they figure that out, let me know. In the meantime, I recommend that you turn your focus to reaching your personal financial pinnacle, rather than falling off some cliff.
Certainly, reaching the summit requires work as well as a clear plan and a laser focus on production. Consider this example: Let’s say that in 2013 you want to achieve $700,000 in clinical production. This calculates to $14,583 per week (taking four weeks out for vacation). If you plan to work forty hours per week, you’ll need to produce about $364 per hour. If you want to work fewer hours, obviously per hour production will need to be higher. Next, you’ll need to have two cornerstones in place:
1. Daily production goals
Now keep in mind, there is more to reaching your financial pinnacle than creating goals and scheduling. Improving production goes hand-in-glove with improving case acceptance. But before there is case acceptance there must be effective treatment presentation. And that begins with effective diagnostic practices.
Never lose sight of the fact that the patient needs what the patient needs. Diagnose necessary treatment and address patient desires according to your professional practice philosophy, not what you perceive the patient can afford. From there, develop a treatment plan that includes everything needing to be done - appointments necessary, cost of treatment, estimated length of treatment time, and any treatment options. Once the treatment plan is developed, the next step is to present it, but keep in mind that the treatment presentation isn’t a conversation. Rather, it is a process that requires time and consideration, especially when presenting larger more involved cases. Let me explain.
The first step is to introduce the procedure to the patient. Using a tablet PC, models, or other patient education tool such as Guru, provide the patient an overview of the procedure(s) recommended, such as crowns, bridge, or implants, and how they are used to replace decayed or missing teeth. From there, the process moves into the face-to-face discussion phase. The doctor explains the patient’s specific treatment options, risks, benefits his/her recommendations, and answers any questions about the procedure. Ideally this takes place in a treatment presentation room or other relaxed setting. Scripting is essential to ensure that the discussion does not become too technical or too graphic, and it enables the clinical team to anticipate and prepare for likely questions from patients.
Once the doctor has answered all of the patient’s questions regarding treatment, the patient is turned over to the financial coordinator who discusses the practice’s financing options. The discussion should take place in an area where the patient can ask questions that s/he may not want a room full of other patients to hear. It is imperative for the patient to understand that payments can be made over time with the help of treatment financing programs, such as those offered by CareCredit.
With an understanding of the procedures recommended, an understanding of the financial commitment and appropriate options, the patient should leave with specific documents in hand, including a treatment plan, a treatment financing plan, professionally printed materials about the procedure(s) recommended, as well as a list of websites the patient can visit to learn more. The patient should be encouraged to call or email the doctor with any additional questions that come up as s/he reviews the information. If the patient does not schedule, his/her record should be flagged for a follow-up call within the next few weeks.
Recognize that patients may be interested, but they may not be ready to move forward at this time for any number of reasons. It will be essential that the doctor and clinical staff reinforce the benefits of the recommendation at subsequent patient visits. Reinforcing the need for treatment and providing additional opportunities for the patient to ask questions or raise concerns can be the deciding factor for many patients who are seriously considering pursuing treatment but need time to make the final decision. Remember, patient reticence is not rejection; it is an indication that the patient has additional questions, concerns, or simply needs additional time to consider the benefits of your treatment recommendation.Next week, scaling new heights on the way to your financial pinnacle.
For more information on this topic, visit my blog: The Lighter Side
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