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Sally McKenzie's

Weekly Management e-Motivator


Issue #54

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e-motivator Article.

March 7, 2003

Sally McKenzie,CMC
McKenzie Management

1-877-777-6151 Ext. 11

“Top Obstacles to Achieving the Ideal Practice.”
Obstacle #6 – The Word is Fee Not Free for Service
This week… one of the barriers likely to be interfering in your ability to reach your goals. Next week I’ll discuss proven solutions.

It’s a tough call, no doubt about it, particularly if you do not have a regular system in place to address it. I’m talking about fees, raising them, specifically. Many doctors have not increased their fees in years and have no system for doing so. In some cases, fees are so low dentists are practically giving their services away. Consequently, practice finances are suffering, and doctors have trapped themselves in a financial quagmire, many charging only in the 50th to 60th percentile for their areas.

The dentist down the street may be charging in the 90th percentile and may be thriving, but many doctors convince themselves that they simply couldn’t do that. Why not? Confidence is a major factor. Fees often reflect the doctor’s personality not the quality of care delivered. Extroverted doctors are more likely to charge fees that more realistically reflect the costs of the practice. They too are concerned, caring providers, but they recognize that to provide the best care available, they simply have to charge realistic fees. For other doctors, compassion comes at the expense of the practice. Doctors who are more “feeling” in their temperament unfortunately often sacrifice the business, having a “range” of fees for a specific procedure, all of them low.

Too often dentists convince themselves that they can’t charge what they should because patients won’t pay. But ours is a culture in which people equate quality with cost. In other words, you get what you pay for, and, like it or not, cheap is often equated with low quality. Fee adjustments are a necessary part of running a high quality dental practice. You provide excellent healthcare to your patients. You and your staff routinely engage in continuing education to ensure that you can provide the latest and most effective care. You purchase quality materials. You hire competent staff. The list goes on and on. As feeling and compassionate as you may be as a healthcare provider, providing the best care comes at a price. Next week, practical and objective steps to confidently set your fees.


"I knew we had great potential to be an exceptional office, but we did not have the know how. Giving us all job descriptions really gave us the direction we needed. I feel we now have direction and our possibilities are endless."
Rhonda, Office Manager

Invest in the people who can make a difference in your practice.

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

For current information


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.

Call Back Lists

Remember when you were first starting your practice? Remember how you used to call some of the patients at the end of the day just to see how they were doing? Maybe you still do. Maybe you delegate it to your assistant or treatment coordinator. Or maybe, it is one of those things you just can’t find the time to do any more.

I was at the Chicago midwinter dental meeting last weekend. It was Friday afternoon. I stopped at a concession area to purchase coffee for the McKenzie Management team at our exhibit booth. While adding sugar and cream to the coffee, I overheard a dentist calling patients from his cell phone. They weren’t calling him, he was calling them. They were the patients he treated during the morning hours that Friday. After he hung up the phone, we stopped and chatted for a while…..

Purpose: World class patient service.

What do to…Depending on the type of practice management software you use, first look at the ADA codes. Look for a check box somewhere on the ADA code screen that says “call back list”, or “call back reminder”. This tells the software to enter a call back every time this ADA code is posted to the ledger.

Go to all the ADA codes you feel require a quick call at the end of the day. Endo codes, extraction codes, and even root plane and scaling codes are quite common. Mark each one to create a call back entry.

Now you have to figure out where to get your list at the end of the day. Again, depending upon the software, it will be under “R”eports or “L”ists. Look for it. It shouldn’t take you more than five minutes to find.

Practice on yourself first. Post an extraction code to your own patient record and print the call back list. Make sure all the information you need is available on the list. You will need all the patient’s contact numbers, procedure that created the call back, any medical alerts, etc.

Present this new tool to your team at your next team meeting. Present it as an extension of your commitment to providing the ultimate service experience for your patients. Consider delegating the calls to qualified clinical personnel (assistants – hygienists – treatment coordinators).

I will REALLY be impressed if this call back list ends up on your PDA! A personal digital assistant (PDA) is most commonly referred to as a Palm Pilot. I know some dentists who use the commute home to make these calls – just be careful while you are driving!

However you implement your call back system, stay focused on the end result – world class service!

Dear Sally,
Following your visit to my office in the late 80's, my practice is producing way over 100% from that time with 55% overhead. With some fine tuning, I know we have room for growth. Thanks for all you have done for my practice and my personal life. Your management assistance has allowed me to live a high quality life all these years and spend quality time with my family. I just wanted you to know that you are not just a practice management consultant. What you do for our professional lives ripple affects the quality of our personal lives as well. Looking forward to working with you again.
Best wishes,
Scot Mardis, DDS
Terre Haute, Indiana

How satisfied are you with your practice?
Take a closer look.

How To Make New Patients…Patients for a lifetime

This is a must read for every office that wants to reduce or eliminate "one-shot" patients, complete ideal treatment and retain patients in recall.

Sample scripts are included for the entire staff for easy implementation.

Special Price for this week's newsletter readers…… $27!!
Order before March 14th.


"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!"

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· Dentists
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· Scheduling Coordinators
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· Hygiene Coordinators

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

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The Center for Dental Career Development
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La Jolla, CA 92037

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This issue is sponsored in part by:


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The Center for Dental Career Development

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