Capitation Woes And #SmallThanks

Episode 082

This week on episode 82 of Business of Dentistry we talk capitation plans when working as an associate and #SmallThanks from our friends at Google My Business…enjoy!

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Today’s first topic comes from a conversation I had with a young dentist who is new to his own private practice. Recently we talked about his journey from dental school to working for a corporate dental entity to now into having his own practice.

His path was very similar to mine and it was interesting to hear his reasoning for the decisions he made. What really intrigued me was the employment agreement he had with the dental group, what surprised him and what he struggled with and what he wasn’t aware of before going into the agreement.  I wanted to pass along the lessons he learned because I think they are valuable for anyone considering going into this type of arrangement.

One day while working for this company, the office manager asked him if he could see an emergency patient after hours. The person had broken #16 at the gumline and was in a lot of pain so naturally he agreed to take care of the patient. He did the right thing and it all went fine, the patient was happy and grateful to have been treated.

Here’s where it gets interesting: bearing in mind that this man was getting paid on collections, he had a certain number he had to reach every month. He was given a guaranteed salary plus incentive bonuses along the way based on his collections.

After this patient left he thought he’d have a little extra from the work he had done. But when he asked about it he found out the patient was on a DMO plan, a capitation plan.

I’ve never worked with a capitation plan so I asked him to remind me how they work exactly. He explained that the corporate entity gets paid a certain amount of money for each person in that plan. Basically the patient comes in, the dentists do the work and the fee is paid to the corporate entity. But he as the dentist doesn’t get any share of it, meaning he basically worked after hours for free.

But he was never told about this type of situation ahead of time, it was this case that showed him how capitation plans worked. When he told me about this I asked if I could share his story, and he agreed. While I’m not going to give his name, I wanted you to know this is something you should look into when you consider going to work for these corporate dental entities or any associate type arrangements.

If you’re going to take care of patients and treat them, but not get a portion of the fees that’s a bad deal.
Be sure to ask questions and talk to your potential employer about situations like this so you know what you are getting into on the front end. It could negatively impact your income as an associate but it won’t hurt the corporation or the owner of the practice. You want to know something like this in advance, not find out when you get paid!

Shifting gears I also want to talk about another topic: reviews. Every month I get an email from Google My Business. It sends me a dashboard overview that tells me how many have visited my site, asked for directions, made phone calls, etc. It’s a good overview of how the site is doing and how the reviews are helping my practice.

I got an email the other day and I thought it was my monthly overview, but it wasn’t. It was something called #smallthanks. I looked it over but didn’t give it much more thought and moved on – until I saw Dr. Alan Meade post about it.

I revisited it after he posted about it, I think there is some potential from it. To hear what they offer, why it may benefit you and how it works join me for episode 82 of Business of Dentistry.

Tweetable: “Know what you are getting into on the front end.”

Episode Resources

Small Thanks with Google
Voices of Dentistry Summit 2018
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A Problem Focusing

Episode 081

In episode 081 of Business of Dentistry I revisit the topic of maintaining focus. We discuss getting things done while simultaneously keeping our eye on a single idea within our practice.

More About Business of Dentistry

Recently I had a meeting with a young man who just finished his undergraduate degree in Media Studies. I brought him in to discuss some marketing ideas and side projects he could work on for my practice.

Our meeting lasted for almost 2 hours, and as we talked we went down the proverbial rabbit hole. After he had left I reflected on what we had talked about and made some notes so he and I could move forward. I realized that we talked about a lot of ideas, but we didn’t focus on one thing. I noticed I have a problem with that: focusing on one thing.

I have difficulty in focusing on what I need to do in the moment. I’ve been working on it in my practice and I’ve gotten better at it. but I bring it up on episode 81 because I’m wondering if anyone else has that issue or if it’s just me.

I find that we get more accomplished if we focus on one thing and go after it til it’s done. For example, my focus one day might be on completing my office notes in my electronic medical record before I leave the office. some days I’m great at fulfilling this and some days I am not so great at this task. I believe it boils down to a lack of discipline along with a lack of focus on the task.

I struggle with focus and discipline quite frequently to be honest. And I realized I did this during my conversation with this young man. During our meeting I didn’t even allow him to respond to one idea before moving on to the next. That’s problematic!

If you have that same issue consider this episode as a reminder to focus on the one thing until it’s completed. To be effective, you have to go through and decide what is the most important thing in your day or in your meeting – and then get that one thing taken care of and addressed before moving on to something else.

Sometimes that one thing you are focused on isn’t the fun thing, but you have to buckle down and do certain things to keep you on track. Otherwise you leave a lot of things undone, there are days when I look around at the end of the day and feel like I got nothing accomplished.

And the reason I feel that way on those days is because I didn’t focus on the one thing that I needed to do. I’ve really struggled with this lately because we’ve had a lot of things going on here. I mentioned this in my last episode: I found out certain things weren’t being done that I was told were being done (and these were things I was paying to have done).

When that happened I decided to revisit other people I’ve been in business with so I could verify we are getting what we are paying for from them. Things like that can really negatively impact our businesses so I wanted to trust and verify all of our existing business partnerships.

That’s something not everyone understands – that we have to wear many hats and do many things as private practice owners. I’s easy for us in our situations to lose focus because we shift our focus a lot. So my pep talk on today’s show is don’t lose focus! Pick what you need to do and knock it out.

And I’m talking about this to call myself out. This is not meant to be me preaching to you, it’s about reminding myself to be conscious of what I’m doing and focus on one thing at a time. I hope this is something you are good at or are working on improving, too. I appreciate you being here to listen! After you’re done I’d love to hear your thoughts on today’s episode of Business of Dentistry.

Tweetable: “Pick what you need to do and knock it out.”

Episode Resources

Episode 80 – IT issue episode
Episode 01 – 3 Hats of a Private Practice Dentist
The One Thing, by Gary W. Keller and Jay Papasan
7 Habits of Highly Effective People, by Stephen Covey
Voices of Dentistry Summit 2018

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Business of Dentistry on Facebook

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Leave a review and subscribe on iTunes