Bulletin, July 2006

Exclusively to Clients and Friends
of Advanced Practice Management

The Dental Dow Jones

The mature practices sampled showed production growth of 4.3% and collections up 2% compared to the same period last year. New patients were down 10% but recall patients were up 3.5%. Doctor and hygiene downtimes increased by about 2 hours per month. 80% of the offices showed gains in production and 20% showed declines.

How Does Your Income Stack Up?

General Practitioners Mean 3rd Quartile
30–34 149,860 187,650
35–39 185,250 225,000
40-44 191,290 250,000
45–49 190,320 240,000
50–54 184,040 240,000
55–59 184,540 230,000
60–64 153,870 200,000
65 and older 114,290 150,000
All Ages: $177,340/Year


Compared To Physicians’ Pay
General Practitioners $120,000
Internists 150,000
Ob/Gyns 208,000
Pediatricians 140,000
Cardiologists (invasive) 400,000
All Physicians: $180,000/Year

These statistics are from the most recent ADA report which is based on data from 2003. I estimate you would need to add 8% to these figures to compare to your 2005 income. The physicians’ data is also from 2003.

National Provider Identifying Numbers (NPI). Don’t waste $110:

A client brought it to our attention that an outfit called “Healthcare Compliance Solutions” from Utah has sent area Dentists a mailing saying that you have to have a NPI # (true…but not until May 2007) and that they can get it for you for $110 (true, but you can get it for yourself for free).
Just visit the National Plan and Provider Enumeration System (NPPES) and complete the questionnaire to submit your application. It takes about 20–30 minutes. After confirmation that your data is received you should receive your NPI via email in 1–5 business days. Or, if you’re not online you can call 1-800-465-3203.

It’s Not Just About Collecting Money…
It’s A Matter Of Moving Patients Toward Treatment!

Accounts receivable ratios have fallen significantly. Average bill payment time (the accounts receivable ratio) has declined from 2.0-2.5 months to 1-1.5 months. This is due to greater use of electronic claims, Visa, Care Credit and more offices asking for the insurance patients to take care of their portion at the time of service.
A well trained front desk person does not just collect money… they make sure that patients get their treatment and you get paid. The right approach, the right semantics, the right payment options and the right credit follow up systems have to be in place. That’s why we’re pleased to announce the

“Collections Made Comfortable” Seminar by Shelly Ryan is scheduled for September 22 at the Bloomington Embassy Suites Airport, 9 a.m.– 1 p.m.

This seminar has sold out every year and the Attendees have consistently rated it very highly. It’s exclusively for people who work at the front desk (sorry, doctors) as the exchange of issues and information of the attendees make the seminar extra special.

As a client you are eligible for a pre-announcement savings of $50 per attendee.

You get first dibs. We will be mailing the rest of the dental community soon so call us by August 21st to reserve space for your staff now. We assure you they’ll be glad they went (and you will too!). Also on October 27 we are offering our, “Advanced Collections Seminar.” This seminar is exclusively for administrative staff who have attended the “Collections Made Comfortable” seminar and/or work in a specialty office and/or are out of network with Delta or PPOs. Clients get a $50 savings per attendee if registered by September 22nd.

Don’t Let Your Office Manager Retreat!:

At a certain point when the Doctor’s practice is large enough (or Doctors are practicing a group) there comes a time when they want a true office manager. They want someone to handle all the non-clinical aspects of the practice…especially staff hassles (scheduling vacation hours, interviewing, disciplining and generally calming the waters).
Yet, we see many office managers who have “retreated”(physically and figuratively to an area removed from the action). Perhaps they started at the front desk and were promoted to the office manager position. They get involved in the practice numbers (bookkeeping, payroll, insurance processing, credit follow up) and after a while are so busy managing numbers that they’re not managing people. Their front desk skills may have even gone dormant and they might be all but invisible to the treatment staff. Then, the staff hassles and other business matters end up back in the Doctor’s lap.

How does this happen? Often the Doctors are their own worst enemy in this regard. They set someone up to be an office manager but at the first unpopular decision (let’s say the manager did not grant your senior hygienist her preferred vacation time) the staff person does an end around and goes to the Doctor directly. It’s at that point you determine whether or not your office manager is going to be a true office manager or a bookkeeper. Do you stand behind your office manager…knowing there will be some flack but knowing that they will be empowered to do what you want them to do, or do you back down and try to be a “Nice Guy” and end up being a nice guy or gal with lots of management hassles you don’t want?

Often office managers do not take the cultivation of their supervisory skills as seriously as they do the numbers. They need to get to courses and read about leadership. They need to get out from behind the desk and walk around the office. This way they can listen to the staff’s problems and requests so they can grant resources as well as give direction. The office manager has to nail down Doctor decisions that need to be made and make sure those decisions are communicated throughout the office so that everyone feels they are in the loop.

Office managers focus on just getting through each day (like we all do). However a good office manager is future focused. Their job is not just to handle the day to day, it’s to help the practice reach its goals. Does your office manager know what your goals are? Do they have a strategy for reaching those goals? Are they reaching beyond the day to day duties each day to implement the gradual worthwhile changes that will help your practice excel? Are they actively looking for ways to cut your expenses? Are they totally familiar with computer software so you’re leveraging every application you can? Are they getting a reputation for making sure that decisions made at staff meetings are followed through and people responsible for the various systems are held accountable (and rewarded or not according to their performance)?

Would you like to take your office manager to the next level? We can help. Just call.

Yours truly,