Bulletin, February 2004

Exclusively to Clients and Friends
of Advanced Practice Management

The Rossi Dental Dow Jones for November:

The mature practices sampled showed an average increase in production of 6.6% and collections of 4.7%. Downtime in the typical Doctor’s schedule increased from about 5.6% to 8% of hours worked. And hygiene downtime went from about 8.7% to 9.3%. New patients were down 5%.

Of the 35 practices in our Dental Dow, 27 practices were up for the year, 6 were down and 2 were even compared to their 2002 averages.

Every year we hear talk of slow times and concerns about the economy. We had this even when the economy was great in the 90’s! Still, this year for many area Dentists was spottier than most so if you had occasional lightness in your schedule you can take some comfort that you were not alone.

As I’ve said a million times before, even though the economy is something beyond your control its impact is small compared to the things that you have within your control.

Come to “Say It Right/Cutting out the PPOs” –
Friday, March 12, 9:00–2:00:

Every day you and your staff have encounters with patients and even the best intentioned employees may not be “Saying It Right”. And every day most of you struggle with 3rd parties (insurance) and suffer from insurance write-offs.

We are proud to announce that the Minnesota AGD has asked us to do the Say it Rightseminar on March 12. We are also going to do a segment on PPO and “other” third party participation.

Friends and clients of Advanced Practice Management get the same deal as AGD members but you must register now (by February 20). The cost is $110 per Doctor and $60 per staff member.

If you are not already a member of the AGD, please consider joining. From my work over the last 25 years with dentists there is no question that those who are active in Continuing Ed do better and feel better about their work. If any of my three boys ever get into dentistry, the #1 piece of advice I would give them is to join the AGD.

3M and DELTA:

Since the news broke about 3M using Delta to administer its dental benefits, 3M has made an effort to address dentists’ concerns.

In-Network Providers:

Regular Delta providers (most of you) will find that the insurance will be the same as normal Delta. You will experience write-offs to the same degree you have been experiencing with other patients on Delta insurance. However, as before 3M has seen to it that their benefits allow for good coverage on composites (Composite reimbursements are not reduced to the amalgam fee.)

Out-of-Network Providers:

Initially, the Doctors most concerned were the ones who are non-participating with Delta. It turns out though that the out-of-network benefits will be just the same as they were last year with Cigna.

So these are presumably good out-of-network benefits and should not put non-par practices with 3M patients at any greater risk. Just to be sure, however, you may want to arrange to check the EOB’s of some of your 3M patients to make sure the reimbursements are the same level or better than the previous year.


Employees can choose either a provider participating with DDPM or a non-participating dentist and they receive the same benefit level (100% preventive, 90% on diagnostic and restorative, 50% on major and ortho). 3M employees can choose a $500, $1,000 or $2,000 annual maximum during the company’s open enrollment period. For an individual, the difference in payroll deductions per year of a $2,000 maximum versus a $500 maximum is about $70. So you may want to encourage your 3M patients who have significant dental needs to pay the little extra to get the increased maximum.

Synchronize Your Time Off and Save $1,000s This Year

Isn’t it frustrating when you take time off and you keep some staff on payroll (because they need the check) but they are just basically doing “make work”? Then, when you come back from vacation you are not at full power because you have a front desk person, hygienist or assistant missing.
Most Doctors don’t insist that employees take time off exactly when they do but to the degree that you can synchronize your vacations and Continuing Ed the better off you’ll be. So, start by laying out your time off for the coming year. Post it for the employees to see and ask them to help synch up. Maybe you can change one of your weeks off to coincide with one of an employee’s time off if their time is not easily changed (a family reunion for example). By planning well in advance you have the best chance of making this work. It costs you nothing to do this but it could make $1,000’s of dollars of difference by year-end not to mention it may save you the aggravation and hassles of being short-handed or paying for temporary help. One more benefit: if you plan ahead for your time off you’re much more likely to get it! Some of you hard working country dentists don’t get enough time off so cross it off now!

Shelly’s “Collections Made Comfortable” Seminar

Coming to your town soon. This is a great hands-on seminar for your administrators whether they are new on the job or old pros.
The sharing and camaraderie in this administrative staff only seminar is the best part of the program. It will help your staff who deal daily with the most difficult subjects in Dentistry…Money and Insurance.

Call our office for a brochure and details.

May 2004 be your best year ever!