Bulletin, August 2008

The Latest in Area Economic and Technical Trends
Exclusively to Clients and Friends of Advanced Practice Management

Light schedules? The Dental Dow Jones:

Comparing the first half of this year to the first half of 2007 statistics we found that practice production and collections were up about 3.6%. There was a 1.6% increase in patient flow (exams). As you may recall, new patients were down about 9% the first quarter. They have caught up and are now even with the first half of last year.

Crown and bridge is down 3% and although that doesn’t seem like much it’s very rare to see an actual decline in this indicator year to year especially given fee increases. Open time in the Doctor’s and Hygienist’s schedule has increased by about 3 hours per month each. The collection percentage is down a point from 90% to 89%. More PPO and M.A. writeoffs.Every year there is some fretting however I’ve heard more Doctors complain of light and broken schedules this year than I’ve heard in 30 years of consulting.

Don’t do what I have done!

As a management consultant I feel like I can read people pretty well. So, six months ago when we hired a new secretary to help back up my current team I checked references but did not do any other background checks. Well, I found my new secretary had managed to drain my account by $9,000 for her rent, Direct TV and some checks for herself and her husband. Nice.

I’ll be working with the banks and police to make that right. Boy, what a hassle! We’ve had to piece together what happened and total up the damages. Plus, we are checking out our business systems, credit cards and other stuff to make sure there wasn’t any other monkey business.

Stay tuned for more about this and how you (and I) can greatly reduce the chance of employee fraud.

On the other hand…

Despite the aforementioned stinker, I have surrounded myself with some pretty good talent.

Matt Lahn is an extremely knowledgeable and inspirational hygiene/perio consultant as well as a practice management consultant. There is no better coach or speaker than Shelly Ryan. Both of them are the best at what they do in the Upper Midwest if not the country.

And then there is the new kid, Debra McGrath, who has over 20 years of dental experience and is a knowledgeable and effective computer trainer as well as front desk coach. Plus, there is Queen Julia, our Office Manager who is a rock…to mix metaphors. Sharon Walbran teaches computer courses and crunches the data you all send us. We call her “The Wiz.”

We also recently brought on board Sheila Kadrlik who makes collection calls for our clients with front desk people who are too busy or not inclined to get after those slow paying accounts. She’s a master at having people pay and be thankful at the same time.

And let’s not forget Shelli Hesselroth. Shelli is a CPA and a QuickBooks maestro. She can step into a complete mess and straighten it out so you, the Doctor, can actually see your bottom line and get a handle on your overhead. If you don’t know exactly how much you’re making every month, you ought to and she can make it easy.

Pound for pound I’ll put my street-smart. results-oriented team up against any consulting firm in the United States.

As an Advanced Practice Management client you have access to all these talents.

Want to make thousand$$$ more each week?
Just make sure that your front desk person can catch what you’re pitching:

First of all, you have to make sure that the patient stops at the front desk and the administrative staff has the information they need to do their jobs; the recommended treatment, tooth numbers, surfaces and materials. The front desk person should then be saying something to the effect of,

“It’s my job to go over any questions you have and the numbers. Everyone has questions about treatment fees, and insurance now days and I will work with you to answer any questions you have and help you get the recommended treatment…”

In the days where insurance covered most everything and there were high maximums, you could pretty much wave the patient out the door and wait for the money to roll in. That’s not the case now. Most of your patients can’t just write a check for $1,500+. It’s not what things cost but what the payments are per month that matter. Witness all the other industries that use credit to help their sales (not stop sales). Cars, jewelry, snowmobiles, carpet, Lasik surgery, etc. The ads for Lasik surgery place more emphasis on what the payment plans are than the actual procedure and benefits!

There is no better resource for you and your staff than our annual “Collections Made Comfortable” seminar (presented by Shelly Ryan) to be held this September 12. Year after year this course gets very high marks. Shelly is now doing this nationwide with Dr. Joe Steven of Kisco as well.

Shelly stresses the importance of the involvement of the entire team in the process. Just as the front desk needs to know about crowns and perio treatment, even though they don’t deliver those treatments, the treatment staff needs to know about payment options. The front desk people have to be comfortable with the treatment that you are recommending and then you and the treatment staff have to be comfortable with how patients are handled regarding the difficult questions of money and insurance.

This seminar always fills up and we always give our clients first dibs and a bit of a price break. As a client you will save $40 per person if you sign up no later than August 15. So, call today and reserve spaces for your team.

No matter how busy or not busy you are, you’ll do better when this aspect of your practice is finely polished. Thousands of dollars better.

Watch for our fall surveys:

To prevent an inbred survey, we send these to dentists all over the Midwest including clients. We encourage and welcome your and your friends’ participation.

Yours Truly,