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Sally McKenzie's

Weekly Management e-Motivator


Issue #49

Click here to print this
e-motivator Article.

January 31, 2003

Sally McKenzie,CMC
McKenzie Management

1-877-777-6151 Ext. 11

“Top Obstacles to Achieving the Ideal Practice.” This week… one of the barriers likely to be interfering in your ability to reach your goals. Next week I’ll discuss proven solutions.

Barrier #3 Passing the Buck on Collections

It really shouldn’t require so much psychological analysis and consternation, after all, you provide a service you should be paid and promptly. Unfortunately, collections, or lack thereof, can present a huge barrier for doctors and their teams trying to achieve not only productivity goals but also a solid sense of accomplishment.

In some offices, there is no financial policy for staff to follow, so the patients are calling all the shots on practice finances. In others, compassionate Carol can scarcely bring herself to request payment at the time of dismissal let alone attempt to collect on delinquent accounts. And in still other situations, the office is entrenched in a long-established money draining patient credit system in which patients can rack up huge balances and settle into meager, no interest monthly payment plans.

What’s more troubling, many dentists have empowered their staff to the point that the doctor is completely out of the loop when it comes to understanding where their accounts receivables stand. This figure is the total amount of money owed to the practice from patients, insurance companies, or other third parties, and it should never be more than one month’s production. Where do your accounts receivables stand? If you don’t know, find out.

It’s not uncommon for doctors to be so oblivious to the day-to-day financial situations that they never even take notice until the money gets tight. Then the realization that bills may not be paid – understandably – sends doctors into an utter state of panic. Yes, it is a proven fact that if your patients aren’t paying their bills you are probably going to have trouble paying yours. So what do you do to keep yourself from ever falling into this disastrous cycle and keep your patients from thinking all you want is the contents of their wallets?

Next week, Sally’s multi-step strategy to collect what you are owed and keep the patients content.

Technology Tool Box

Mark Dilatush
VP of Professional Relations

for McKenzie Management


1-877-777-6151 Ext. 28

A series of short weekly chores designed to keep the return on investment in technology at its highest level.

If you missed any of the previous issues CLICK HERE.

Pertinent Patient Notes:

Situations: (this section is long this week, read on and you’ll see why)

Patient tells Dr. Believeitall that the lady at the front desk was rude to her over the phone the other day. Come to find out, this patient owes the practice money and the financial coordinator was following the practice’s financial guidelines perfectly. Dr. Believeitall has no record of their recent discussion. Dr. Believeitall has no choice but to apologize for the staff behavior.

Or... ...

Patient calls to schedule their next appointment. Mary Myopic (the scheduling coordinator) quickly and efficiently (I didn’t say effectively) puts the patient into the doctor’s schedule for two hours next Tuesday morning starting at 8am. Mary didn’t know the doctor referred this patient to the endodontist for retreatment and won’t be ready until two weeks! Mary didn’t even look!

Or... ...

Patient calls the office to schedule her recare visit and our hero, Super Susie Admin answers the phone. Susie greets the patient with a warm hello. Six seconds later, Super Susie looks in the computer and notices this patient has an outstanding balance. She perfectly and professionally communicates the need for the patient to take care of her past balance prior to scheduling. The patient understands, promises to pay her balance in full next month and hangs up. Two days later, the same patient calls the office on Susie’s day off. The patient immediately schedules her recare appointment with someone else on the team.

Or... ...

During an appointment confirmation, Mr. Toobusy says “I have got to be out of there by 3:45 at the latest!” Well, the day of his appointment is busier than expected. Two existing patients show up in acute pain at 2:00pm. The dentist already has an endo and a three unit bridge scheduled. Mr. Toobusy isn’t called to reschedule. Mr. Toobusy gets out of the office at 4:15!

What to do:

Your practice management system has some kind of central patient note area. They may call it History notes, Contact notes, Patient notes, whatever. The point of this is to get your team to use and review your patient note area of the software. The benefits FAR outweigh the time invested in entering the note. Better customer service, better team unity, and adherence to office policy are just a few.

Take a look at this area of your practice management system. Teach everyone how and why you are using it. The dentist, the team, and your patients will be glad you did. The single key to effectively using this important tool is to get everyone in the habit of reviewing the patient notes EVERY time you make contact with a patient (in person or on the phone). If your software is designed properly, it’s just one “click” away from the patient record in the system.


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Doctors Reveal the Top Practice Issues of 2002
Stifling Practice Growth and Profitability !!!

  1. Staffing Issues- Turnover resulting in recruitment of "good" employees as well as internal conflicts and lack of training.
  2. Scheduling-#1 issue was BUSYNESS! Practices are feeling the effects of the shortage of dentists since 1995. Schedules booked out far in advance. Concerns over time and motion ineffeciencies.
  3. Cash Flow/ Overhead-Payroll expense continues to escalate beyond the 22% limit. Accounts Receivable over 90 days rises above the 15% range.
  4. Hygiene-Perio therapy treatment still below 33%. Openings in schedule.

Will you be ready to run for the GOAL in 2003?

Find out Here

REDUCE your overhead expenses, REDUCE your accounts receivable,
And … INCREASE revenues

Everything you need to know about cash flow is in this
information-packed book written by
Sally McKenzie

Cash Flow Management

Special Rate for this week's newsletter subscribers!!!
Order before 2/7 and receive as an added bonus…
Sally McKenzie's Most Popular Lecture on DVD
Breakdown: The Hidden Signals of Practice Erosion


"Recently I moved my chairside assistant to the front desk to be our financial coordinator after firing the previous one. I didn't know how to train her and she was quickly becoming overwhelmed. Knowing that this could no longer go on I decided to send her to The Center for Dental Career Development. Sally McKenzie and her team showed my financial coordinator how to not only do every aspect of her job but also coordinate her management duties with the Dentrix Dental System™. I now have security in knowing that my financial systems are functioning to the best of their ability and the process even uncovered $110,000 in lost revenues! Bottomline…I made money on my decision!"

Advanced Business Training

· Financial Coordinators
· Patient Coordinators
· Scheduling Coordinators
· Treatment Coordinators

The Center for Dental Career Development is compatible with the following computer management systems: Dentrix™, Softdent, EagleSoft, PracticeWorks, Easy Dental, Discus Dental.

Test Your Skills NOW!

The Center for Dental Career Development
Advanced Business Education for Dental Professionals

737 Pearl St. Ste. 201
La Jolla, CA 92037

This issue is sponsored in part by:


McKenzie Management


The Center for Dental Career Development

Lares Research

For more information, email info@mckenziemgmt.com
or call 1-877-777-6151

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