Yes, I’m still alive and well. Thanks for asking. After several weeks I’m back in the saddle with a discussion on unsolicited credit offers, Tricare dental, an idea on alternative financing for new practices, and my answer to a hiring question. Hear it all on episode 65 of the Business of Dentistry. Thanks!
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The first thing I want to talk with you about is the mail, specifically offers for credit cards and lines of credit. Recently I was going through the mail at my office, after my staff had pulled out all the insurance-related pieces, when I noticed a plain white envelope. I thought it might be the new replacement debit card I have been waiting for. My old card had expired and I was waiting for the new one to be mailed to me. I thought they may have made a mistake and sent it to my office instead so I opened it up.
When I did I found it wasn’t the new debit card, but it was an offer for a line of credit. It was an offer that was completely ready to be used – it had my name on it, an account number, an expiration date and a security code on the back! And it had a little sticker for activation by phone. The line of credit was for a substantial amount of money.
Now I didn’t ask for it, and didn’t apply for it but there it was in the mail anyway. My first thought was to ask how they could send me this, and if this was even legal? Then I got suspicious and wondered if someone else was trying to get a line of credit in my name.
I shredded the offer but am sharing it with you so you can be aware. If you haven’t seen an offer like this come to you it could be in the future. Be sure to look at your mail and watch for credit cards and offers for lines of credit like this one, and shred the material when you get it if you don’t want the offer and don’t want anyone else to get your information!
The next topic I cover on this episode is the Tricare fee schedule changes. We are still on the look out for ours but I have heard it’s going to get worse as they move to United Concordia from MetLife. I’ve been able to be profitable as a PPO office and I believe you can be to a certain point.
However there’s a tipping point where your reimbursements are so low you can’t maintain a profitable business, so you have to draw that line in the sand. One of the ways I’ve drawn that line is to look at the state Medicaid program. If you’re a commercial insurer and you pay a lower fee schedule then the state Medicaid then I won’t participate in your network. Otherwise you are paying to work!
Speaking of fees and being profitable, I’ve been seeing a lot on social media about student loan debt for new dentists (and by new I mean those who are 3-5 years out of school). Some of these people are unable to get loans to start their own practices because they have so much student loan debt. And others who do get loans are getting terrible deals, or what I call “predatory lending” with sky-high interest rates.
Which made me wonder why can’t we – the established dentists – become the lenders for these guys and gals? I don’t know how we’d do this exactly, I’m just throwing it out there because it’s been on my mind. I’ve been thinking about how to fund new practice owners and help them out as lenders. I don’t know if this is even possible but it came up in social media so it got me thinking about why or how we could do this for our fellow colleagues.
I’d like to believe there is some way to create a mutually supportive situation that helps new folks get better loans and helps those of us who are established to grow our financial portfolios. If you’ve got some ideas I’d love to hear from you, even if it’s to tell me this would never work!
Lastly I wrap up the show with an email I got from a listener who needed a new front office desk member. You’ll hear me talk about the pros and cons of hiring a lesser-qualified person who seems to be a better team fit. I also talk about the best places and strategies I’ve found for hiring staff members, and whether or not I include my team in the hiring process. Listen and let me know what you think of episode 65 of the Business of Dentistry!