5 More Ways To Boost Profits While Dropping Managed Care (PPO) Plans
By: Bill Rossi*
In last month’s article, 7 Steps To Boost Your Practice Profits While Reducing Managed Care (PPOs), we discussed seven strategies doctors could use to increase practice profits by seeing more patients, while reducing managed care participation. But don’t overlook your existing patients! In many cases you can also significantly increase your production from existing patients to help offset the loss of patients from managed care plans you drop, using these five methods:
- Invest in continuing education to expand procedure mix – Take some of the money that you have been losing to PPO write-offs on the terminated plans, and invest it in continuing education to help broaden your procedure mix. An increasing number of general dentists are placing implants and having good results. Likewise, many are providing anterior and bicuspid endodontic procedures with proper training. Invisalign, Clear Correct, and Six Month Smiles can also add to your procedure mix, given the proper case selection.
- Improve clinical calibration – Schedule a staff meeting for brainstorming to discuss what clinical conditions warrant recommending every type of treatment you deliver. Once each clinical staff member has given their thoughts, the doctor should finalize the list. Then develop concise written statements on what clinical conditions warrant every type of treatment that you provide, so that the entire team knows and understands what you feel is the best treatment for your patients.This will help focus your recommendations and eliminate ambiguous phrases like “We’ll watch this…” or “Someday you should.” The two most underused words in dentistry are “I RECOMMEND.” Use them! If you have clearly calibrated what’s best for your patients, be sure to tell them.
- Utilize the introral camera for each hygiene patient – A picture’s literally worth a thousand words in pointing out clinical problems and discussing potential treatment options that the doctor will likely recommend. The picture confirming these findings helps build trust with the patient, which will help increase your treatment acceptance rate. Have your hygienists start off by using the intraoral camera on the first patient each morning and afternoon and they are much more likely to use it all day.
- Track production per exam and follow up – All practices should track their exams and production per exam. If you implement these strategies, your production per exam will go up. But that’s not enough! One staff member should be appointed to follow up with patients that have not yet accepted needed treatment. It’s best to do this when the trail is fresh, no more than three weeks after it was recommended. “Dr. Smith asked me to call. We are concerned because we haven’t scheduled an appointment for your recommended care.” If needed, offer flexible payment options (discussed below) to make it easy to say “yes.”
- Offer flexible payment options – You have many patients who can afford to pay $150-$200 a month for needed treatment that can’t pay $1,000-$2,000 or more in cash right now to have it done. That’s why it’s important to offer monthly payment options, as long as it’s limited to automatic credit card charges. It’s easy – simply get the patient to sign the Patient Easy Pay Consent Form** allowing you to charge the patient’s card for the agreed-upon amount each month until payment is completed. You’ll see case acceptance rates soar, while bad debt is minimized, leading to increased practice profits.
* Bill Rossi is President of Advanced Practice Management. For more information on his practice management services, including PPO decisions, negotiations and transitions, contact him at 952.921.3360 or at Bill@advancedpracticemanagement.com.