9.21.18 Issue #863 info@mckenziemgmt.com 1-877-777-6151 Forward This Newsletter

The Power of Feedback
By Sally McKenzie, CEO

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When dentists provide continual feedback to their team members, it leads to positive change. Feedback, both positive and constructive, motivates employees to excel and helps them see exactly how they can contribute to practice success. It’s a powerful tool, but one that many dentists don’t use nearly as often as they should.

Many dentists think meeting with employees once or twice a year for performance reviews is enough, but it’s not. You really should make an effort to offer feedback every day. That’s right, every day. For example, if you overhear Cindy your Treatment Coordinator scheduling a patient who was on the fence about going through with a procedure, take the time to thank her for the effort and encourage her to keep up the good work. On the other hand, if you overhear her giving up on scheduling a patient before she’s made an effort to educate, take her aside and let her know how she could do better next time. 

The bottom line is this: Providing team members with continual feedback will help you grow your practice. Don’t believe me? Here are six ways that feedback benefits your practice to help change your mind. 

1. It will boost team morale. Team members crave guidance from you, the practice CEO, and feedback is one way to offer that guidance. When employees know what they do well and where they can improve, they can make the necessary adjustments to become more effective. This leads to increased job satisfaction and professional growth.

2. You’ll deal with less turnover. Happy employees are loyal employees. If team members are satisfied in their role and have the opportunity to constantly grow, they won’t have any reason to start looking for a new job, which means you won’t have to fill open positions nearly as often.

3. Team members will become more efficient. If team members keep making the same mistakes over and over, it’s going to slow them down. They won’t be nearly as effective as they should be, which of course hurts practice production. When team members receive continual feedback, they become better at their jobs – which helps to improve practice production and your bottom line.

4. They can focus more on the patient. Team members shouldn’t have to waste time second guessing what they’re doing. They need clear direction, and feedback helps with that. Once they’re comfortable in their role, they can spend more of their day doing what matters most: providing patients with exceptional customer service and care. Feedback helps make employees more confident, and that shows in the way they interact with patients. This improved patient experience will lead to higher patient retention rates and growth.

5. It helps improve communication. Remember, feedback isn’t a one-way street. I suggest you encourage team members to offer you feedback as well. Take anything they say seriously, and use their suggestions to make improvements in the practice. Creating an environment where employees feel comfortable coming to you with ideas and concerns also shows you value their opinion, helping them to feel more connected to the practice. They take ownership of their roles and understand their part in helping to move the practice forward.

6. Staff conflict will be less likely. Lack of direction is one of the most common causes of staff conflict. Team members aren’t sure who’s responsible for what, and can end up stepping on each other’s toes as they try to figure it out. Tasks don’t get done the way they should so employees start placing blame and venting their frustrations.

Along with providing detailed job descriptions and proper training, continual feedback will help reduce the potential for staff conflict to brew in your office. Let team members know when you see them doing something wrong and offer advice to help them improve. Make your expectations clear and conflict will be much less common in your practice.

Feedback shouldn’t be reserved for performance reviews. This is a powerful tool and is something I suggest you use every day in your practice. Team members want to help you succeed, but they can’t do that if you don’t give them enough guidance. Continual feedback will help make them more confident in their roles as well as more effective.

Still not sure of the best way to offer feedback to your team? Not to worry. Contact me for guidance. I’m happy to help.

Next week: How to get the most out of feedback in your practice

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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Belle DuCharme, CDPMA
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Is Your Staff “Innocently” Committing Insurance Fraud?
By Belle DuCharme, CDPMA

Dear Belle, 
“I recently started a new position as an Insurance Coordinator for a two-doctor general practice. In appealing some claims that hadn’t paid, I noticed that the original claims sent didn’t have narratives explaining the reason for treatment. The follow-up claims had attached narratives, but the patient’s charts didn’t have clinical notes that matched the narratives. This looks like my predecessor gave false information to get the claims paid. I will not do this – what should I say to the doctor?”
- BT, Insurance Coordinator

Dear BT,

Thank you for your honesty. First, ask yourself if this person knew they were doing anything wrong? Also ask yourself whether the doctor(s) knew, because most of the time they don’t. Sometimes the office staff/insurance biller doesn’t think they are doing anything wrong because the insurance company is tireless in requesting information on claims. They have pressure from anxious patients and the doctor or manager who wants to blame someone for not getting payment on claims. It is the path of least resistance and this person may feel justified in being “creative” to get the claims paid.

If they do know what they are doing, and it is evident by falsifying narrative information and/or using another patient’s x-rays or periodontal chart (or worse yet another person’s insurance or identity), this needs to be reported to authority(s) above your position. Don’t gossip, spread rumors or confront anyone at the office when you see what you suspect is fraud. Let your superior, the doctor or office manager, take care of the issue.

Never outright accuse. Say: “The information (or supporting documents) doesn’t match the procedure performed on the claim. Maybe someone chose the wrong patient? I need to make sure the information and the procedure matches on the claim or it will be denied. Who can help me clarify this?”

As the Insurance Coordinator, your position should also be to educate the rest of the team as to what you need to file claims correctly, legally and ethically. To help the practice avoid the temptation to commit fraud:

1. Provide information to the office on what is required to file a “clean claim”
What is a clean claim? A clean dental/medical claim is one that has no mistakes and can be processed without additional information from the provider or a third party:

The healthcare provider is licensed to practice on the date of service and is not under investigation for fraud.

Every procedure code has a supporting diagnosis code, which eliminates any questions about medical necessity. In addition, the form includes no expired or deleted codes. The clinical notes put in by the provider of service matches the services provided on the chart or ledger.

The patient’s coverage was in effect on the date of service, and the patient’s insurance covers the service provided.

The claim form includes all the required information (patient name, address, date of birth, identification number, and group number) in the correct fields.

The form correctly identifies the payer and includes the right payer identification number and payer mailing address.

The claim is submitted on time.

2. Provide information (to the dental assistant and dental hygienists) of the supporting documentation necessary to adjudicate the claim
Required by the insurance company: X-rays, 6-point periodontal charting, scans, pano, intra-oral photos and narratives from actual clinical notes. This information is provided by most insurance companies on their website or on the literature given to the patient or to the practice (if in-network).

3. Provide information of the definition of insurance fraud
Find published articles from experts on the subject. There is much confusion about what actions constitute fraud and you must be careful not to accuse anyone until you have all the facts in the situation.

4. Offer to help them do the right thing
Many practices get caught with an insurance audit many years after they have been getting away with the deceit. It is an expensive penalty when they are caught, resulting in heavy fines, loss of insurance provider status and sometimes loss of license to practice.  

Want to make sure your staff is professionally trained in processing insurance correctly? Call McKenzie Management today for a professional course in business management.

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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