Visit our web-site at
  Sally McKenzie's
 Weekly Management e-Motivator
  1.9.04 Issue #96

Avoiding the Hygiene Schedule/Production ‘Crash and Burn’

Sally Mckenzie, CMC
McKenzie Management

   Have you ever found yourself holding your breath as you watched the waiter at your favorite restaurant emerge from the kitchen with a string of plates precariously balanced - one carefully placed entrée after another lined up in succession from the tips of his fingers to the edge of his shoulder? You’re famished and you know that one slight shift and CRASH! Disaster strikes and you’ll be sitting for another 30 + minutes swirling your Chardonnay as you wait for “Take Two!” on your dinner. Fortunately, such a

calamity rarely happens. But many dental practice scheduling staff can relate to the delicate balance of that waiter’s job. It often feels as though managing the schedule is all about keeping the plates steady and avoiding catastrophe. No easy task when you consider on one hand patients are stacked from here to eternity, and many of those who want an appointment now can’t secure a “reservation” until the next blue moon. On the other hand, there are more than a few days every month when the entire schedule shatters. No-shows here, cancellations there and all those perfectly positioned patient appointments crash like a stack of fine china making a seriously big mess of your month’s production goals.

So how do you keep the “plates” balanced? Consider the experienced waiter. He consistently follows a system, a proven method or strategy that virtually guarantees that the Lenox will seldom hit the laminate. The same holds true for maintaining the balanced and profitable schedule. The system is the safety net.

First look at what your hygiene department is serving up. Hygiene should account for 33% of your total practice production. If the hygienists receive guaranteed salaries regardless of their production, the expectation must be that they produce three times their salaries. To determine how much the hygienist is producing, divide the hygiene salary for the past year by her production. If production is falling short, take a careful look at the schedule. The hygienist must be scheduled to produce at 3x her daily wage. Achieving that requires you allot the right number of hygiene days - enough to keep patients happy and not having to wait an inordinate amount of time for an appointment, yet not so many that the schedule is riddled with holes and hygiene salaries tip above 33% benchmark.

While you’re figuring the percentage that hygiene contributes to your total production, take a look at fee schedules as well. If the hygienist is paid $25 per hour and the cost for the prophy, not including the dentist’s exam, is $50, the hygienist is making 50 cents on the dollar. In addition, one-third of hygiene production should be in interceptive periodontal therapy. Require the hygienist to measure the total number of dollars produced through interceptive perio and divide it by their total production. Review hygiene production each month during the team’s monthly meeting.

Next week, the perfect 5-step recipe for the well-balanced hygiene schedule.

If you have any questions or comments, please email Sally McKenzie at

Interested in having Sally speak to your dental society or study club?
Click here

DON'T PANIC ... WE CAN HELP! >click here<

Building On The Theory

How An Ailing Business Foundation Can Cause
“Digital Chaos”

Mark Dilatush
VP Professional Relations
McKenzie Management

Technology Tool Box

Last week, [see article], we discussed what steps to take when the phone rings. This week, I will continue breaking down the technology responsibilities by job description. Two weeks ago, we started with the front desk coordinator position. Many of you have multiple business personnel at the front desk. I will break out the responsibilities into separate coordinator positions. Understand that these coordinator

data responsibilities are “general” in nature. Each dental office is different. You should consider the following data responsibilities as “bare minimum”.

Financial Coordinator – Part 1

Your financial coordinator should be responsible for the following….

  1. The collection of accurate patient/account data before patient is seen. This would normally be the welcoming person at the front desk. This responsibility may be ultimately shared with the scheduling coordinator (see column two weeks from now) but the person with the most to gain by having complete accurate information is definitely the financial coordinator.
  2. The presentation of financial options before treatment begins
    Proper execution of insurance processing plays a big role here (see #4). Proper communication of the “scope” of financial options is also very important. The ability to professionally present 3rd party financing like CareCredit has a direct impact on improved treatment plan acceptance. Your financial coordinator is responsible for entering pertinent notes into your practice management software regarding any promises made by the office or the patient during the treatment plan presentation.
  3. The collection of payment across the counter at time of service.
    If you do not participate or accept assignment of insurance, your collection rate should be at or near 98% across the counter (at time of service). If you do participate or accept assignment, a full 45% of your revenues should be collected across the counter at the time of servie. Add three payment codes to your system. They are “OC Cash, “OC Credit Card”, and “OC Personal Check”. At the end of the month, tally the totals of these three codes and divide the sum by the total revenues for the month. The result will be your over the counter collections percentage.
  4. The proper execution of insurance processing
    Your financial coordinator is responsible for keeping your insurance tables complete and accurate when insurance payments are posted. The EOB (explanation of benefits) is attached to the check. This is the perfect time to make your insurance tables (some systems call this the “bluebook”) perfectly accurate. Assuming you submit electronically (there’s no reason why you shouldn’t), daily submission of claims is a minimum requirement. Any remaining patient balance or credit (after insurance payment is received) is immediately handled. There is no reason to wait.

We’re not done yet! More to come……

Next week, the financial coordinator position will be continued. Once financial coordinator is complete, we will discuss the scheduling coordinator position.

If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to call or send an email.

If you have any questions or comments, please email Mark Dilatush at

Interested in having Mark speak to your dental society or study club?
Click here

Getting The Cold Shoulder


Giving Dentists And Their Staff Different Perspectives On Day To Day Issues

Happy holidays and welcome back for another new year of surprises tribulations and opportunities to grow.

One of the guiding principles that I use to motivate my clients and to help keep them on track in making life enhancing decisions is by employing the following expression:

The purpose of life is to enjoy the day

Everyone has the option, every day when they wake up, to move their life in a positive or life enhancing direction or negative and life threatening direction. If you will listen to your feelings at every moment of the day, you can tell, you can feel if you are enjoying yourself or if you are not.

This guiding principle is very pure in its intent and meaning, however, I am well aware that there are those who will distort their own self-image in order to avoid the truth regarding how they truly feel each day. They must justify and maintain behavioral habits developed over a lifetime, and it is for these people that a statement such as ‘Enjoy the Day’ makes perfect sense and yet they know deep down inside that they are not an example.

People who are not happy cannot enjoy the day. It is worthwhile to recognize one of the reasons why they are not happy. We are all the composite listing of all the decisions we have made over a lifetime which have brought us to our present overriding feeling. The truth is indisputable that if we started to lie to ourselves many years ago, then we are continuing to lie to ourselves today and therefore any honesty regarding our state of mind, whether we are happy or sad, in all likelihood continues to perpetuate that lie.

As we begin a new year, I would like to use this column to help you see that perpetuating any denial of your true intent or maintaining secrets which are not life enhancing, effectively eliminates any chance for your happiness during the day. It is the absence of this opportunity for happiness that is the saddest part of waking up every day and going to work.

I believe it is reasonable that the owner of the business looks forward to every new day and the opportunity to meet new people, interact with the staff, and make money for his or her family. I also believe that it is reasonable that every staff member looks forward to every new day and the opportunity to meet people, to interact with the other staff members, and to make money for their family. From this perspective, at the beginning of the day, everyone is on the same page.

From this page, you can ask then, why doesn’t everyone stay on the same page throughout the day? Old habits........... That’s it........ Nothing but old habits. There are those business owners who are ineffective at saying what they want and they will not enjoy the day because their frustration sits inside their heart and mind and festers like an infection. There are those staff members who do not sincerely want to make the business work by fulfilling their job descriptions. Yes, they come to work, but they come to work with a hidden agenda. This agenda causes them to be ineffective at saying what they want, and they too will not enjoy the day, because this frustration sits inside their heart and mind and festers like an infection.

In order to enjoy the day, we all must successfully fulfill our commitment to ourselves and to our colleagues. We fulfill this commitment by following through on our job description as well as initiating enough dialogue between each other so that everyone expresses themselves clearly and effectively. Enjoying the day is the product of honest communication that is not draped by the shadows of fear and retribution.

The stories are endless of dentists who are afraid to speak up, of office managers who will not delegate for fear of losing power, and staff either complaining about why things aren’t better or the staff attempting to fill the void of power left by a lack of adequate management.

So for this New Year, I wish for all of us to find meaning in our lives by making every effort to enjoy the day. Say what's on your mind without the fears of childhood. Express your ideas for a better business system without a sense of embarrassment. And finally, smile. If you would only smile and realize that your smile is a very effective defense against other people who want to ruin your day, you will discover an inner strength that you did not know that you had.

Yes, in this new year, I am encouraging everyone to smile and to express themselves with the understanding that the true intent of everyone else's agenda will make itself apparent in time, but this demonstration of true intent does not have to contaminate your ability to enjoy your day. More about this next time...

I would like to request your stories of Dentists and Staff members who have upset your enjoyable day by what appeared to be deliberate and uncalled for negativity. Send them to No incriminating information will be published.

Regards, Coach

Want your issues answered? Ask the

Missed Past Issues of Our e-Motivator Newsletter?


Increase Production by 25%?
Set job descriptions for staff with performance measurements?
Reduce the accounts receivable by 15%?
Get a full one hour for lunch?
Bring on an associate dentist in the first quarter?
Increase perio treatment in the
hygiene department by 28%?
Equip another operatory first quarter?
Increase fees 3% the first of March and October?
Teach dental assistants how to make temporary crowns?
Have 2 hour monthly meetings with system measurements?


Are You Looking For More New Patients?

MORE Unlimited Patients
Trade Secrets of America's Dental Marketing Guru
By: Howard "Howie" Horrocks Team

"Absolutely the best dental marketing book I've ever seen"
Howard Farran, DDS, MAGD, MBA

Take a dental marketing lesson from the guru himself, in Howie Horrocks' newest book. The book contains over 400 pages of already tested, proven patient-attracting ads, brochures, TV spots, press releases, direct mail letters, radio ads and much more that you can copy and use.

These samples show you how to do it right, like marketing to seniors, marketing on the internet, and why you must include the right amount of facts and emotions into your marketing.

Price $189


McKenzie Management, Inc. has been named the WINNER in the DentalTown Magazine and 2003 Townie Choice Awards™ for Practice Management Consultants.

“It is an overwhelming honor to be singled out by literally thousands of dental practices across the country as the number one dental practice management firm,” said Sally McKenzie, President, McKenzie Management. “We know that dentists take great care in selecting only the very best products and services, and to be among this elite group is truly a testament to the commitment the McKenzie Management team has demonstrated over the past 23 years to provide consistently superior consulting products and services,” added Ms. McKenzie.

The McKenzie Management Team looks forward to continuing to provide the very best consulting services so that dental practices in turn can perform at their very best.


McKenzie Management, Inc.
737 Pearl Street
Suite 201
La Jolla, CA 92037

Sally's Mail Bag

Dear Sally,
I have a suspicion that one of my team members is pilfering petty cash of maybe $3 to $5 per week. Does you have any suggestions as to how to set a trap to catch the culprit?
Townie Question

Dear Townie,
Have petty cash in the amount of $100 in different denominations. Inform her that if a patient has a bill of $57 and hands her $60 she is NOT to give them $3.00 but make change for one of the $20 bills the patients gives her ( $10, $5, $1,1,1,1,1) so the patient can now give her $57.00. If ANYONE takes money from petty cash for example, paper towels, they have to bring back the receipt and change. At the end of every week she has to balance the receipts with the remaining cash and give you a petty cash report. You will write a check for the total of the receipts to cash so she will be replenished with the $100. She knows she is responsible, the petty cash is locked up and only you and her have access to the money. If there the receipts and/or cash do not total $100 at any time, she is at fault.
Good Luck,

IN 2004?
Dr. Allan Monack,
Hygiene Clinical Consultant for
McKenzie Management,
develop a profitable
Hygiene Department

To find out more about the
Hygiene Clinical
Enrichment Program
[go here]
or contact us at:
or call:

Office Managers
Financial Coordinators
Scheduling Coordinators
Treatment Coordinators
Hygiene Coordinators
For a FREE
Educational Video
e-mail us at:
The Center for Dental Career Development
Advanced Business Education for Dental Professionals
737 Pearl Street, Suite 201
La Jolla, CA 92037

This issue is sponsored
in part by:
The Center for Dental Career Development
San Diego Workshop Series
Fall/Winter Schedule
 Date Seminar Instructor(s)  
 Jan. 30
 9:00 - 4:00
How to Become an EXCEPTIONAL Front Office Dental Employee Sally McKenzie, CMC.  
Feb. 6
 9:00 - 4:00
How to Become an EXCEPTIONAL Front Office Dental Employee Sally McKenzie, CMC.  
Mar. 5
 9:00 - 4:00
How to Become an EXCEPTIONAL Front Office Dental Employee Sally McKenzie, CMC.  
Apr. 16
 9:00 - 4:00
How to Become an EXCEPTIONAL Front Office Dental Employee Sally McKenzie, CMC.  

The Center for Dental Career Development has been approved under the Academy of General Dentistry Program Approval for Continuing Education (PACE) program. Starting 10/19/03 through 10/18/07 members of the Academy of General Dentistry can receive AGD credits for all seminars and workshops sponsored by the Center for Dental Career Development.

Please visit to view a list of upcoming seminars and workshops.

To Register 877-900-5775 or

For more information, email
or call 1-877-777-6151

McKenzie Management Newsletter Information:
To unsubscribe: To discontinue receiving the Sally McKenzie eNewsletter,
click on the link at the very bottom of this page for instant removal,
or simply click Reply to this email with the word "Remove" as the only word in the subject line.
To report technical problems with this newsletter or to request technical help,
please send a descriptive email to:
To request services, products or general inquires about McKenzie Management activities
please send a descriptive email to:
If you would like to have any of your dental practice concerns answered personally by Sally McKenzie,
please send a descriptive email to her at:
Copyrights 1980-Present McKenzie Management - All Rights Reserved.