8.28.15 Issue #703 info@mckenziemgmt.com 1-877-777-6151 Forward This Newsletter

Why You Should Reward Your Team
By Sally McKenzie, CEO

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When your team members go above and beyond, it’s important to reward them in some way for their efforts. This encourages them to continue to excel in their role, and tells them you appreciate the important contributions they make to the practice. The problem is, many dentists rely on bonus plans to reward their team members. Over the last few weeks I’ve told you why that’s a bad idea, but now it’s time to talk about the best ways to thank team members who put in the extra effort and exceed your expectations.

I suggest developing a rewards program and letting your team members know how they can earn both monetary and non-monetary rewards. Developing this reward-for-performance philosophy does much more than just benefit your employees, it benefits your practice as well. Here’s a look at how rewarding your employees can improve your practice, and how to develop a program that will motivate your team members to excel in everything they do.

The Benefits
If your employees don’t think their extra efforts are appreciated, chances are they’ll stop trying to impress you with their hard work and dedication. They want to know you value them, and the more you show that, the more they’ll push themselves to succeed. When you reward through a bonus program, you take the focus off their performance. Instead, they just want to know what they need to do to earn that extra $2,500 at the end of the year. While many dentists think money is a motivating factor, it simply isn’t – and giving out bonuses you might not even be able to afford does your practice more harm than good.

Developing a rewards program is a much better way to thank employees for exceeding your expectations. A reward is more personal, especially when you take the time to tailor the reward to each team member. Employees who are involved in rewards programs develop more of an ownership attitude in the practice’s success. They actively seek ways to improve their performance and tend to be more innovative. They also tend to work better as a team, because they clearly share one common goal: meeting and exceeding their performance measurements to help the practice reach true success and profitability.

When your employees feel valued, their performance will improve and they’ll bring a positive attitude to work each day. Their efficiencies and productivity will increase, and that means they’ll provide better care to your patients.

Creating a Rewards Program
Before you can develop a rewards program, you have to determine the practice’s objectives. Think about your values, and what you hope to achieve in specific areas of the practice. For instance, maybe you want to reduce accounts receivable by a certain amount per month, or decrease the number of costly impression retakes each week. Identify areas of improvement and strategies to help you get where you want to be, setting the stage for employees to meet and exceed those objectives. This will help them see the value of doing more than the bare minimum. Just remember, if you want your team members to excel, you have to provide them with the tools and training they need to make it happen.

Before you present your rewards program and objectives to your team, determine how results will be measured, what level of performance is expected, what kind of rewards you’ll offer and who will be eligible to receive those rewards. Creating this roadmap to practice success will prepare you to present your plan-of-action, and help your team understand why you’ve created a rewards program and what you want to achieve, making them enthusiastic about not only the prospect of earning a reward, but doing their part to help the practice grow.

Reward Your Team Members, Reward Your Practice
When team members feel appreciated, they’ll do what it takes to meet and exceed performance measurements, no matter how long they have to keep at it. Their motivation will help increase productivity and grow your bottom line, while also sending a positive vibe throughout your practice and to your patients.

Just remember not to expect significant changes overnight. A rewards program will motivate your employees, but the improvements will happen gradually. Once they have clear objectives, they can restructure their priorities and efforts to better align with the practice’s needs. It may take some time, but their performance will improve, and team members will not only be more productive, they’ll find better, more efficient ways to complete tasks.

Now that you know the benefits of a rewards program and why it’s better than giving out bonuses, you’re probably wondering what types of rewards you should offer. Check back next week for an overview of the monetary and non-monetary rewards that work best, and how to determine what might motivate your employees most. And trust me, once you implement a rewards program in your practice, with rewards your team members really want, you’ll notice an increase in production, a happier team and a more robust bottom line.

Next week, How to reward your employees.

For additional information on this topic and more, visit my blog: The Lighter Side

Interested in speaking to me about your practice concerns? Email sallymck@mckenziemgmt.com
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Nancy Caudill
Senior Consultant
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Training is Forever!
By Nancy Caudill, Senior Consultant

How many Continuing Education credits do you, doctor, earn every year? And how many hours does your team earn every year? I would venture to say that your team is not earning near as many hours as you earn. And why is that? As the dentist, do you feel that your team will “follow your lead” and just figure things out as they go along? You would not want to place an implant without knowing how first, therefore you should not expect your support team to answer questions about the implant and schedule the appointment without knowing how. They need training, just like you do, to be proficient in implementing this new procedure into their skill set. Let’s look at all the working parts should you elect to bring in a new service such as implants. This scenario would also apply to cad-cam restorations, orthodontics or any new service.

Training for New Procedures
You elect to dedicate your CE credits this year to learning how to place implants. You feel that your patients will appreciate you providing this as a service. You spend hours of reading and training to prepare yourself. But what about your team? Let’s review two scenarios associated with new services being offered to your patients that will shed some light on this question.

Scenario #1
Who in your office is asked the most questions about your services - you, your assistants, your hygienists or your business team? I can promise that it is not you! When you review options with your patients, they nod their head and agree with what you say. When you ask if they have any questions, they respond with a “no”. But as soon as you leave the room, the patient immediately asks your assistant or hygienist to explain what you just said, or asks why they need the service and what other options they have. How can your staff comfortably and confidently answer these patient questions without being trained?

Scenario #2
Who answers the phone in your office and fields questions about the implants you are presenting? Your business team - so don’t you want them trained to answer these questions? Let’s say your patient says “yes” to your treatment proposal. Now your clinical team needs to know what parts to order and who to order from. Is there a custom abutment? How do they create a treatment plan for the business team, etc.? How do they set up the tray and the operatory, do they need different instruments? Your business team needs information. How is the appointment scheduled? How much time is needed and how much time is assistant vs. doctor time? How many appointments will it take and is there a follow-up appointment? When should the appointment for the crown be scheduled? What insurance codes should be used? Does a pre-estimate need to be sent to the patient’s insurance company? They need answers!

Retraining for Consistency
Basic scheduling concepts often go by the wayside due to new employees coming on board with no training relative to their job description. Other times, it is simply a matter of team members following the path of least resistance instead of staying the course for improved change.

Whether your practice has worked with McKenzie Management, another consulting firm, or you have implemented your own systems, it is imperative that the systems be reviewed annually to confirm that protocols are still in place. Ask questions such as, “How soon can a new hygiene patient get an appointment?” The answer should be within a week. If the answer is something different, the system has been compromised and retraining is necessary.

The same is true for the clinical team. Are each of your treatment rooms set up the same way with the same instruments and supplies, or have your assistants “claimed” an operatory for their own? Retraining and reviewing is necessary to get them back onboard.   

It takes a team working together to achieve your practice goals, and the team must have a game plan, scripts and training (and retraining) on a regular basis to confirm that the systems are in place and being implemented. If your practice needs systems or you feel it is time to review your systems for effectiveness, contact us today. We can help.
If you would like more information on how McKenzie's Consulting Coaching Programs can help you implement proven strategies, email info@mckenziemgmt.com

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Belle DuCharme, CDPMA
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Three Keys to Medical Claim Filing for the Dental Practice
By Belle DuCharme, CDPMA

In recent years, new scientific/clinical evidence has linked conditions of the mouth with disease systems of the body, resulting in insurance billing complexities. This mostly affects oral surgeons, but with more combination policies flooding the insurance market, general dental practices are more frequently finding themselves having to send claims to patients’ medical insurance first, prior to submitting to their dental insurance.

Dental offices that are not accustomed to billing medical insurance are caught in the confusion of more than one coding system. It is necessary to now have a CDT (ADA) yearly manual, but also information on CPT (AMA) codes and medical diagnostic codes found in the ICD-9 system and in October 2015, the ICD-10 medical diagnostic code system. This is a strict rule-driven system, especially if the dental office is in-network with Medicaid or Medicare patients or other government sponsored health care plans.

Follow these keys steps to simplify the process:

1. Obtain the patient’s medical insurance information when you obtain the dental insurance information. Your current updated software system may have this on the patient registration form. Take a copy of the cards, front and back. Emphasize in writing that while some procedures may be filed with the patient’s medical plan, the patient is responsible for the entire fee.

2. Contact the medical carrier prior to treatment to determine eligibility, benefits and the type of medical plan you are billing. HMO’s or PPO’s may decline benefits, pay the subscriber, or pay a lower percentage to non-participating providers. Find out the medical plan’s special requirements for filing dental procedures with medical as primary. The subscriber normally has the right to file with the medical as primary as long as it is not written in the plan that dental must be filed first if the procedure is performed by a dentist.

3. Trauma claims require special handling. It is a good idea to request that trauma patients provide you with a copy of the emergency room report or the police report if either applies. These should be attached to the claim along with the narrative. Also, liability carriers (e.g. homeowners insurance, automobile insurance, etc.) will typically be primary to medical carriers.

What is similar between dental and medical insurance claim filing is that procedure codes are required. Medical procedure codes are called CPT Codes. Similar to the dental procedure code set, the codes are divided into categories. These categories are evaluation and management; anesthesia; surgery; radiology; pathology and laboratory; and medicine. The evaluation and management codes are not like the dental exam codes. Dental practices need to cautiously choose codes from this section, as most of the mid-level to high-level codes require a time factor and the evaluation of multiple body systems. Part of the difficulty in cross-coding is that very few CPT codes exactly parallel dental procedures. There are some insurance carriers that will accept CDT codes on the medical claim form (ask them).
Within the CPT code set is a subset of codes called Modifiers. Say a procedure was altered by a specific circumstance and that is demonstrated with modifiers. Examples include; the need to report that a procedure is less involved than the code normally used, or the need to explain that more than one type of procedure was performed on the same date by the same provider. Modifiers would also be used to explain that an exam and x-ray were performed on the same date of service and should be paid as separate entities. There are many more modifiers and it is important to know when and how to use them.

The dental record must be complete and legible, with all entries dated and signed. Every patient appointment must include the date, the reason or complaint, appropriate history and physical/oral exam, review of radiograph results and other ancillary services where appropriate, an assessment and a treatment plan or release plan. Past and present diagnoses should be available to the treating or consulting health care professional. The reason for and results of radiographs, tests and other services should be documented to the dental record including referrals. Patients’ progress reports such as response to treatment change in treatment or diagnoses, treatment plan or plans.

Want to stay up to date? Contact McKenzie Management for a custom Business Training Course today.

If you would like more information on McKenzie Management’sTraining Programs  to improve the performance of your team, email training@mckenziemgmt.com

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