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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