Transitioning to a Stronger More Profitable Practice
Chances are you, like most dentists, are writing off, e.g. not collecting, $10,000, $20,000 or more each month due to PPO write offs. These thousands of dollars are coming right off your bottom line and are likely to be your largest business “expense” after wages or maybe even greater than wages.
You probably think you have no choice.
Maybe you still have some open time now and then (almost every Doctor does) and you sure like keeping busy. Plus, every dentist, no matter how busy he or she is, hates losing even one patient.
I help many dentists assess their situation and decide if, when, and what PPOs they will drop, and help them through the transition process. If there is one thing I want you to know, it is, “You have more power than you think you do.” As Ann Landers often said, “No one can take advantage of you without your permission.”
In my previous articles, “Push Back on PPOs” and “You to the PPOs – Deal or No Deal!” I discussed tracking write offs, determining the number of patients on each PPO plan and how to set up an Insurance Allowance Spreadsheet. We also discussed negotiating with PPOs and balancing PPO participation.
Now is the time to ACT. Assert your power and take back the power the PPOs have taken from you.
Remember the courage it took when you first started in practice? You had to make a decision of where to work, or maybe you purchased a practice. Perhaps you’ve relocated or built a new facility or did a scratch start. Think of the optimism and courage that took.
We all know that hard work, integrity, and skills are important to your success (vs. being lazy, sleazy and unskilled!). Most dentists are very hard workers and like it that way. However, there is one other very important component of success: Courage. You and your team need to be confident enough in your practice and that patients like you more than your in-network status. Confident that you don’t need to rely only on the “suits” at the PPOs to fill your schedule.
Insurance participation is an important component of practice success. Practices that participate with no insurances, do indeed get fewer new patients. However, as I’ve stated before, practices deep into PPO participation do not get proportionally greater numbers of new patients. PPO participation is just one of many factors that determine how many new patients you attract, how many patients you keep and how busy you are. Your team’s skills, practice visibility, marketing presence, case presentation, systems and technology are all equally important. All these other things are well within your control.
Staff can be anxious about a PPO transition too. They are worried about losing hours or even job security. Most of all, they are worried about unpleasant confrontations with patients.
So, facing the challenge of PPO transition can be a good thing in that it forces you to take a hard look at how you are doing with your practice. It can create a practice “Renaissance” if you use the challenge constructively.