2.24.17 Issue #781 info@mckenziemgmt.com 1-877-777-6151 Forward This Newsletter

Plan for Success and Reap the Rewards
By Sally McKenzie, CEO

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Many dentists spend a lot of time daydreaming about practice success. They imagine a practice much different from their own, where more patients accept treatment, broken appointments are rare and systems run smoothly.

Unfortunately, this daydream doesn’t last and these dentists come crashing down to reality. Instead of enjoying the success they crave, they find themselves scrambling through their days, running from patient to patient yet still rarely meeting production goals. They leave the office exhausted each day, and it’s no wonder. They’re constantly reacting to whatever comes their way, and all their efforts only seem to lead to high overhead, employee turnover, lackluster profits and stress.

The problem is, these dentists are spending too much time wishing and not enough time planning. Dreaming about success won’t get you there; you have to take action and start making changes if you want to reach your goals. That can seem overwhelming, I know, but don’t worry. I’m here to help guide you.

I suggest you start by changing your attitude. It all comes down to how you see yourself and your team. Ask yourself these questions:

- Do you see your practice as one of the best in your community?
- Do you see yourself and your staff as a high-producing team committed to delivering exceptional patient care?
- How do you talk to your team members? Are you negative and condescending, or encouraging and helpful?

Trust me, the way you see yourself matters and directly effects practice success. If you come to work with a negative attitude, it will bring down team morale – and that will hurt production numbers. Your employees would much rather work for a positive doctor with a passion for dentistry than a crabby dentist who only focuses on the negative. And the happier your employees are, the more they’ll produce.

So what does all this have to do with planning? Simple. Happy, successful people plan. They’re not constantly reacting to what’s happening to them, leading to undue stress and frustration. No, they’re creating their own reality. They’re taking deliberate actions every day to get closer to their goals.

Keep in mind proper planning isn’t just going to happen on its own. It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day and forget about your vision and the reason you became a dentist in the first place. That’s why you really have to make planning a priority. Successful dentists meet regularly with their teams to plan their success. They hold weekly and monthly meetings to discuss what they’re doing right and where they can improve. But of course, for these meetings to work they must be effective and, you guessed it, follow a plan.

Let’s talk about the daily meeting, or the morning huddle as some like to call it. These meetings should last 15-20 minutes and conclude before the day’s first patient arrives. Designate one of your team members to lead the meeting, which should include a discussion of the current day’s schedule, highlights from the day before and a preview of what’s to come tomorrow.

Tell your clinical staff to review patient records before the meeting begins. Say Mr. Taylor is coming in for his professional cleaning today, but also has a cracked tooth that needs treatment. The hygienist now knows to educate Mr. Taylor about why he should get that tooth fixed and the possible consequences of ignoring the problem.

It’s also important for the Financial Coordinator to review each patient’s account balance. If Mrs. Watt has a large balance, for example, and is coming in for her hygiene appointment, you probably don’t want to talk to her about more elective treatment options. The coordinator also should discuss the amount of scheduled production the practice actually has for the day as compared to the goal.

Use these daily meetings to determine where emergencies should be placed and for clinical assistants to identify places in the schedule where the doctor might get backed up. When assistants know about possible backups, they can take steps to prevent them. That might mean adjusting hygiene checks to help ensure patient flow remains smooth or adding an additional assistant to help prep for a procedure.

There’s a lot you can get done in 20 minutes. Taking the time to hold effective meetings will help ensure you spot any potential problems and come up with a plan to avoid them, keeping the practice running smoothly and on track to meet goals. Everyone will be on the same page and doing their part to achieve practice success.

Next week: Get team members more involved in practice success.

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
Interested in having McKenzie Management Seminars speak to your dental society or study club? Click here.
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Belle DuCharme, CDPMA
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Should You Cancel In-Network Insurance PPO Contracts?
By Belle DuCharme, CDPMA

CEO Training Case #CEO450

“Dr. Memo” (names have been changed) signed up for McKenzie Management’s Dentist CEO Training Course because she was purchasing the practice where she had been an associate for ten years. She wasn’t happy with the way the practice was currently being managed and wanted to make some positive changes. Her vision of a fee for service practice with limited PPO out-of-network was what she wanted to create from the current practice, which was in-network with six different PPO contracts and chaotic with the pressure to keep eight treatment rooms filled. Often Dr. Memo felt that trying to balance numerous staff to treat a large volume of patients was a break-even situation.

She was aware of total production and collection statistics, but didn’t know the breakdown of what accounted for in-network insurance, fee for service numbers, and out-of-network insurance numbers. She had heard from experts that it wasn’t wise to cancel any contract until she analyzed the impact each PPO contract had on production/collection numbers. 

Most major dental software such as Eaglesoft and Dentrix can provide reports of this information with a search for the number of patients on a plan and the total production generated from each group. Your dental software support team can help you with this if it is difficult to find. Remember too that you must check the terms of each contract for instructions to follow when cancelling. Some plans require a 30-day notice, others require a year and some state that you must send a letter to all the patient members of your intentions.

Before you embark on a campaign to free yourself from dental PPO contracts, read the following list to make sure you have done your homework.  

Before cancelling your PPO contracts:
What percentage of my production and collections come from the patients in this PPO?
What is the amount of revenue written off per month with this PPO?
Check the referral report to see how many patients come to you from insurance lists and from this PPO.
How much do I have to discount my normal fees for this PPO?
If I lost half of the PPO patients, would I still have a very good chance of being busy? If I lost all of them, would I still be OK?
Will I have to increase my marketing budget to attract new patients to replace those leaving due to the termination of the contract?
Does this PPO have decent out-of-network benefits?
Are the patients on this PPO young and can they only afford the in-network benefits, or are they long-standing patients of record with good incomes who can absorb more out of pocket costs?
Have I tried talking to the PPO to see if they will consider increasing their reimbursement to me?

Can your practice let go of the PPO?
Are the patient numbers there to fill an additional hygiene day per week if they had the time to reactivate patients?
Do new patients wait more than a couple of weeks to get into hygiene because the schedule is maxed in capacity?
Are your dentist producers appointed out more than a couple of weeks?
Are you examining more than 160 patients per month?
Do you meet with your team to discuss patient education and treatment acceptance? If there is more time will they use it to improve treatment acceptance?
Can you increase your visibility through improved signage or is access to your practice limited by parking restrictions or location?
Is the number of dentists in your area increasing or decreasing relative to the population?
Are other dentists in the same area dropping plans (thus causing an influx of patients from that plan into your office)?
Are you producing everything you can produce, yet you still are not experiencing a good or growing bottom line?
Have you had a reputable practice-management consultant look at your practice to determine if you could maintain or increase production without the PPO?
Are you experiencing (or about to experience) a loss of any producers in the practice due to life events such as retirement, childbirth or moving?
Can you improve the types of services offered to patients and refer out less treatment? For example, can you do more endo, implants, or ortho?
Have you talked to colleagues in the area who have dropped this plan? What has been their experience?

Practice due diligence before pulling the plug on the PPO. To learn how to manage your practice for success, call McKenzie Management today and schedule a business training course.

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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