Let’s Get Political

Episode 063

Don’t let this week’s title run you off…we will discuss a proposed bill in the U.S. House of Representatives related to the dental insurance industry. We also take a quick, and easy, look at your practice to make sure you are headed in the right direction for 2017. Thanks for listening to episode 63 of the Business of Dentistry.

More About The Business of Dentistry

In general I’ve avoided talking about politics on this show but today’s episode is different! And the reason it’s different is because of an automated message I received from the American Dental Association via the Tennessee Dental Association about legislation currently before Congress.

And I wanted to talk about to you about this same legislation, HR 372. This bill was introduced in January 2017 and is meant to restore federal anti-trust laws to the business of health insurance in an effort to protect competition and consumers. This act is cited as the Competitive Health insurance Reform Act of 2017. HR 372 includes and specifically mentions the dental industry

Basically this act repeals exemptions for health insurers, including dental insurers, which are currently in place. The automated message from the ADA (via the Tennessee Dental Association) asked me to send a letter to my representative in support of this bill, and I did.

My understanding is that this bill wants to make sure that health insurers, including dental, are subject to the same anti-trust laws and unfair practices that other businesses have to comply with.

I haven’t asked people to do anything political in the past because I believe we all have our different views, but sometimes we have to get involved and take action. Sometimes we have to step up and give our input. So on this episode I’m asking you to educate yourself on HR 372 and go talk to your elected officials about it. Get involved based on your own evaluation of this bill because it’s important we all be aware of it and we act accordingly.

There are people – our lawmakers – who make decisions on how we practice dentistry and how we run our small businesses. And they have no idea what we do, no idea how we’re impacted by health insurance, by Medicare and Medicaid changes, and they have no idea how to run a small business. It’s up to us as a profession to help educate them on how we are impacted.

When people in our state legislative branches and at the federal levels are making decisions that affect the way we practice and make a living, I’m going to give you my 2 cents and them. I encourage you to do the same – get familiar with the bill, reach out to your representatives and let them know what you think.

For the second half of the show I shift focus to the business side of dentistry. I want to know if have you any idea about how you stand in your production and collections in the first two months of this year as compared to January and February of 2016? Do you know if you brought in the same amount, brought in less or produced more versus last year? If so, by how much?

To be transparent, in January of 2016 I was a little more productive and had a bit more collections then I did this January. However, we’ve been much busier this February so overall in these two months of 2017 my collections are up 8% and the practice is up 10% in production. The general trend for the first two months is a growth phase, an important point to know.

Listen in to hear which other months are busiest for me, which are least, how often I check this data and why paying attention to trends in your business is important. You’ll also hear an update about the position of my office manager! Tune in for all of that on today’s Business of Dentistry.

 

Tweetable: “Educate yourself on HR 372 and talk to your elected officials.”

Episode Resources

Congress’s web site
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A 2 Star Review and A 300% Interest Loan

Episode 062

In this week’s episode I share a story about how I handled (or mishandled) a recent 2 star review. We also talk about a patient that was upset because I didn’t do “in house” financing, refused CareCredit, and took out a 300% loan. To say the least, we’ve had some very interesting patients since our last visit. Tune in to find out more on this episode of Business of Dentistry!

More About This Show

Between these two interesting cases, let’s start with the 2-star Google review first, and then second let’s talk about the patient who took out a 300% interest loan for her surgery.

Recently I was finishing my first surgical case of the day and as I was walking back into my office, I heard my cell phone ping with a notification. I had received a Google review. If you’ve listened for awhile now you know I track these reviews consistently and am diligent about them.

I checked the review and saw it was a 2-star review, something that doesn’t happen often. So i looked at it and the person’s name rings a bell: I realize it’s my next patient! It was about 9:40am and the patient was scheduled for 9:30am. She left a two-star review saying the wait was awful and we had miscommunicated what was going on and that we would not work with her on payments.

So I asked one of my front desk staff if the patient was still in the office. My staff member told me the patient was still there, and was waiting while my team prepared a CareCredit application for them. This application was being done so the patient could be approved for their portion of the surgery bill.

I decided I would talk to the patient if she got approved and the surgery went ahead. She was approved, they took the payment and she came back to get started. I walked in and asked how she was doing. I could tell she was angry, but she said she was fine.

I said good, and told her she had made my morning already. She wanted to know how and I went on to explain that she was giving me the chance to convince her to change her 2-star review on Google.

The look on her face and the awkward silence that followed was deafening! I am sure I shouldn’t have done that, but I couldn’t help myself. She had left a two-star review saying my staff wasn’t taking care of her and wasn’t working with her on payments – and they were doing both. They were trying to get her taken care of so she could have her surgery.

We followed up with her and the surgery went well, and we also sent a request for a google review (or upgrade in her case). We got no response to that request.

After a few days went by I decided to respond to her review. I mentioned her “awful wait time” was only 19 minutes from the time she was scheduled for her surgery til the time she left the review. And in that time my staff was working with her to arrange third party financing which was accomplished without issue. I then asked my office manager Paul for feedback and he said it was appropriate so I posted it.

I brought this story up to again illustrate how powerful social media is and why it’s important to follow and track your online presence, and what people are saying about you. And the point is sometimes we can’t please people, even when we try our best.

The second story is about another surgery patient, and illustrates why we don’t do in-house financing. Listen in to today’s episode to hear about the patient’s 300% title loan, and why it’s a reason we only use third party financing like CareCredit. You’ll also hear why we’re going to look into what, if anything, we can do to improve our approach when talking about our patients’ healthcare with them.

And then leave a comment below or email me with your thoughts on negative reviews and in-house financing. Do you address negative reviews, or ignore them? Do you do in-house financing or do you avoid it? I look forward to hearing from you and thank you for listening to this edition of Business of Dentistry!

Tweetable: “Sometimes, even when we try our best, we can’t please everyone.”

Episode Resources

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Dental Jiu Jitsu (Voices of Dentistry)

Episode 061

This week features the replay of a presentation that I recently gave at the Voices of Dentistry. It has some audio glitches in the first two or so minutes but gets better after that…thanks for listening to episode 61 of the Business of Dentistry!

More About This Show

Today’s episode is the audio of a presentation I recently gave at the Voices of Dentistry conference in Nashville. It was an honor and privilege to take the stage in front of my dental colleagues and give this talk. During my presentation I explained how to apply jiu jitsu strategies I’ve learned and how to implement them into your private dental practice.

You’ll also hear me talk about a gentleman in the audience, John. I gave his dental school wrong – he and his colleagues are attending University of Kentucky, not Louisville like I said during this presentation. He was a guest on the show back in episode 59, which you can hear here.

The basic premise of today’s show is to take some of the ideas from the fight world and implement them into our businesses and our practices. I specifically explore three  jiu jitsu strategies and explain how you can translate them into your practice.

1. Maintain situational awareness.
It’s important to know what is going on around you and what is happening in your environment. Keep your ears and eyes open because this will keep you out of trouble, and will keep you from getting into an altercation or a difficult situation.

In this episode I share a story that highlights this. One of the rougher neighborhoods in Nashville was being revitalized and it landed a great new restaurant. The place got good reviews so I made reservations and took my wife there.

After we had finished our meal, we were coming out to our car a few blocks away. There were several guys coming towards us who didn’t look they were going to the restaurant we had just left! So we crossed over to the other side of the street and avoided them, avoiding any potential conflicts.

The same awareness should be applied in your dental practice. You have to think about things like what you would do if corporate dentistry moves into the small town where you practice. What new dental laws are about to go into effect? What new tax codes do you need to be aware of that are impacting your practice’s revenue?

Also you need to apply this in your practice: are your revenues increasing or decreasing? Is your staff getting along or are there any conflicts? What do your patients think of and what is being said about you online and in social media?

These are all examples of situational awareness as it relates to your dental practice.

2. Have a game plan.
What do you want to do with your practice? Do you want to stay as solo operation or do you want to open multiple locations? Your game plan changes based on your goals, but either way you need to have your plan and stick to it.

It’s important to stick to it when new trends come along. When you have a game plan you can evaluate the latest trend, gadget or technology against your plan: will it help you? Or will it take you off track?

For example, if you hate oral surgery, you may decide to hire an associate who excels at it. Or you may decide to refer out or hire someone to come in and do it under your roof. What is your game plan for implants and other types of surgery if you hate doing it yourself?

The main point here is to fight your fight. Don’t let others influence you, stick to your game plan.

3. Manage and monitor your ego.
Third, manage and monitor your ego as needed. It’s important to get out of your comfort zone and be open-minded to trying new things. It could be intimidating and scary, but you still have to do it. You may even worry about being embarrassed, that’s okay, just do it anyway.

This is also about knowing when to ask for help, when to hand things off and when to quit. Sometimes we have to ask for help and hand things off like taxes, business law, accounting. These are examples of all things that are better done by experts so be sure to find the right people to help you and then let them help you!

To recap, the three jiu jitsu principles you can apply to your dental practice are situational awareness, have a game plan and stick to it, and manage and monitor your ego. You’ll hear more examples of each of these when you listen in to episode 61 of Business of Dentistry!

Tweetable: “Stick to your fight plan.”

Episode Resources

Voices of Dentistry
Episode 59 of Business of Dentistry
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New Staff Search Using Dental Post

Episode 060

This week I discuss my search for a new officer manager using DentalPost.net – check out episode 60 of the Business of Dentistry to find out how it’s going…

More About This Show

If you have listened to previous episodes of the show you know my office manager Paul is leaving the practice to move to China. You can hear the full details here if you missed it.

As a result, I’m having to do something I haven’t done in awhile and that is hire a new staff member. Paul and I have been talking about how to do this, how to find applicants and have them apply for his position. Ideally, we’ll be bringing someone on board before he leaves so there can be some training time with Paul and the transition can go smoothly.

Paul reminded me recently that he only has a few weeks left so we should start this process asap. With that in mind, we considered all the possible places to post the ad. I’ve done a lot of things in the past like taking out ads in the local community newspapers, anonymous ads on Craigslist, etc. I’ve even hired people through word of mouth, but most of them haven’t worked out! The staff members I have right now have come through different venues, mainly not word of mouth though.

So as we were thinking of different ways to put out a classified ad for Paul’s position, I came across a resource called DentalPost. DentalPost is a dental employment resource where you can post your job opening, you can search resumes and match yourself with candidates. You can also drill down to see only candidates in your local area.

Last week I posted this job and listed some basic information about the practice and gave the title of the job opening as Front Office Administrator. In under 30 minutes I started getting emails! They were all local, within reasonable driving distance. However, most of these resumes were from dental assistants wanting to get into the oral surgery field. They had some stellar backgrounds but obviously were not going to be a fit for Paul’s position.

I don’t think this was a problem on DentalPost’s end, I think it was a candidate issue. The people applying either didn’t read the ad thoroughly or were simply being proactive in hopes of getting a leg in the door of the practice. So I don’t fault DentalPost for the unqualified candidates we got, I think it is a good system that delivers opportunities to their candidates quickly.

Among those candidates, I did find one potential candidate to interview. Paul is taking some time off so we haven’t had a chance to set that interview up, but we found the candidate through DentalPost so I can say the site does work!

It has also shown me what a huge time suck print ads are because people who aren’t qualified call with questions, they fax in and drop off their resumes. I would not recommend using local print ads and won’t be doing that again! DentalPost avoids all of that hassle, you only receive emails coming to one specific email inbox.

Also, if you use the DentalPost site to list an opening be sure your staff knows because they will know after you post it! Within 24 hours my staff knew a posting had gone up because their friends in the dental industry were calling and texting them about it!

Now I’d love to hear from you – have you used DentalPost? If so, what has been your experience? Leave a comment below or email me. Let me know if there is another service you like too. Thanks for reaching out and thanks for listening to episode 60 of the Business of Dentistry.

Tweetable: “It’s been a learning experience for me!”

Episode Resources

DentalPost
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Business of Dentistry on Facebook

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