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Sally McKenzie's

Weekly Management e-Motivator


Issue #50

Click here to print this
e-motivator Article.

February 7, 2003

Sally McKenzie,CMC
McKenzie Management

1-877-777-6151 Ext. 11

Breaking Down the Barrier #3
Make Sure the Buck Stops at Your Bank Account

Establish a financial policy to collect most, if not all, of the fee at the time the services are rendered. Tell your patients about the policy. Periodically remind patients in writing of your office policies, including financial policies. Use the opportunity to educate them on your services, so they are reminded not only of what you expect of them but also what they can expect from you.

Remember, you don’t get what you don’t ask for. Often patients don’t pay because they are not asked. When dismissing the patient, explain the services provided and request payment.

If the patient does not have their checkbook, give the statement to the patient along with a self-addressed, stamped envelope. Smile at the patient and say, “Thank you Mrs. Peterson, and if you would drop your payment in the mail to us when you get home, we would greatly appreciate it.”

For high-dollar cases, be prepared to offer the patient payment options that are beneficial to both the dentist and the patient. Establish a relationship with a patient financing company that enables the patient to secure low or no-interest loans for dental treatment.

Consider offering a slight adjustment in the fees for more costly procedures paid in full. Refer to this as a bookkeeping adjustment not a discount.

Say no to post-dated checks. These amount to slips of paper in the drawer and nothing in the bank account.

Make one employee accountable for collecting money, generating accounts receivable reports, and following up on delinquent accounts. Expect your financial coordinator to achieve daily collections of 45% or higher.

Monitor your money monthly. Review the aged accounts receivable report every 30 days. It should list each account with an outstanding balance and date of last payment
Total all monies over 90 days delinquent. The percentage should not be over 15% of your total accounts receivable.

Patients expect dental practices to have specific policies. Implement an appropriate financial policy for your practice and stick with it.

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.

Monitoring Employees use of your computer system

Situations- You have a new employee who has responsibilities involving the computer system. Or, you have a new practice management system. Or, you have neither but want to expand your team’s use of your computer system.

Purpose- Track the progress of your team’s learning curve so you know when to implement the next step in your automation plan.

What to do

  1. Set up your user level access properly. Some practice management systems are very basic while others have elaborate and extensive access rights. For instance, some systems allow the user to run “any” report. Others allow you to choose the reports a user is allowed to run.
  2. At first, assign access rights to only those areas of your practice management system that are directly involved with the employee job description (if you have job descriptions – grin).
  3. Train the employee (better yet, invest in professional training).
  4. Run your system’s audit trail once every two days. Sort the audit trail by user (employee).
  5. Make a mental or physical note of the deletions and/or corrections made. Also, keep an eye out for redundant entries and deletions. For instance, patient Mary Smith scheduled, cancelled, rescheduled, cancelled, rescheduled – all within two minutes of one another. This employee is having a hard time with the electronic scheduler!

What you should expect to see:
Expect your team to make lots of mistakes at first. We all do until we get used to the routine. Every time you add a new employee, a new computer system, or add a new automated routine, you should set aside some refinement time. Some offices bring in lunch once a month for “computer refinement” meetings. This is especially useful if you are adding clinical computing to your office and team for the first time.

In my experience, a new user (of a system or feature of a system) will cut their mistakes in half every work day (depending of course on the breadth of the new routine). The first day they may make 28 mistakes and corrections. The second day 14, then 7, then 3, then 5 a week, and so on and so on. Once your team has the new routine down pat, you should be ready to implement the next step of your automation plan.


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This issue is sponsored in part by:

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.

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

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