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Collecting Co-Pays and Deductibles

Are your front desk personnel trained to collect patient co-payments and deductibles at time of service? Do they know the amount of receivables due from each patient and their insurance company? If not, your practice could be losing a significant amount of income. Studies show that collecting payment from patients at the time of service maximizes your collection percentage and decreases collection costs. Taking steps now to collect every dollar earned will prevent your profits from slipping through the cracks. This article offers strategies to successfully collect payments at time of service and is geared towards helping your front desk staff achieve winning performance.

Attitude is Everything

A patient’s first impression of your practice is their front desk experience. Your staff should be greeting patients by name, while presenting a professional attitude and appearance. They should be polite, and possess strong customer service and communication skills. Front desk staff must feel comfortable asking for co-pays and deductibles and indicate that payment is expected at the time of service. Their attitude needs to be friendly, yet firm. The dentists in the practice need to be supportive of the collection policy and refer all discussions regarding financial matters to the appropriate personnel, rather than discussing with the patient. Your office should have a clear, written financial policy, which should specifically state when you expect payment. This will empower your front desk personnel and send a clear message to patients.

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PART 2 – How to Prevent Embezzlement

Have you read Part 1 yet?

HOW CAN I PREVENT EMBEZZLEMENT? 

Smart Hire. Embezzlement cannot be 100% prevented, but you can implement strict measures to minimize the risk that it will happen in your office. The strongest safeguard is to hire honest, reputable employees. Always check references and perform background checks before hiring an employee. Personal character references are generally worthless. Request and check references of former employers. Listen carefully for what is not said if the reference is less than glowing. A good source for online background checks is www.netdetective.com or www.castlebranch.com.

Software Safeguards. Hire a practice management consultant to maximize security controls on your practice-management and accounting software. A good software system will allow you to set up customized security and provide the reports you need to monitor your staff. Learn which specific reports you need to scrutinize daily, weekly, and monthly. “Getting the Most Out of Quickbooks in Your Practice” lists these reports and how to memorize them.

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Is your office embezzle-proof? – Part 1

PART 1 – Recognizing Embezzlement Red Flags

The Dental CFO

You practice dentistry because you enjoy helping patients. At the same time, you went into business to make a profit. What happens when you discover that a trusted employee is stealing your profits?

Think it cannot happen to you? Think again…no one is immune! In this article you will learn to recognize the profiles and modus operandi of embezzlers, safeguards you can implement to protect your practice from being an easy target, as well as what to do if you discover that you are a victim of embezzlement.

WHAT DOES EMBEZZLEMENT COST?

While the monetary cost speaks for itself, even more devastating are the emotional and physical costs. Destroyed trust, time spent in discovery and recovery, legal fees, bad press, shattered relationships, a damaged reputation, lost patients and revenue wreak havoc in the victim’s life. The stress of dealing with all aspects of embezzlement has been shown to create health and emotional issues, simply because the broken trust led to a broken heart. The experience is gut-wrenching and emotionally heart-breaking.

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Growing a dental practice in a rural small community – Dr. Bryant Birch

Are you living under the illusion that advanced dentistry is just a big-city thing? That your success is limited because you’re in a rural area? You’ll think again after hearing Dr. Bryant Birch’s story in today’s episode. The nation’s mentality is changing, and technology is being welcomed and expected. Listen to T-Bone’s conversation with Dr. Birch for the inside scoop on how to expand your dental practice in a small town.

Dr. Bryant Birch: Small town dentist attains big success

Dr. Bryant Birch grew up as the son of a dentist, in Green River, Wyoming, population just under 1300. He took over his father’s basic dental practice and has taken it to the next level. In this episode, Dr. Bryant talks about the process of developing and expanding the practice, and a life-changing event that changed his attitude and the way he thinks and looks toward the future, including investing in dental technology. Listen in to this compelling and inspiring conversation about overcoming the odds and growing a highly successful dental practice.

Why do dental implants in-house?

One of the advanced dentistry procedures that Dr. Bryant Birch added to his practice is dental implants. In this episode, he talks about his journey of learning the skills, educating his patients, and eventually growing his practice 30% per year through offering implants. Listen in to find out why people love getting general and advanced dentistry from one doctor, and to get the tips and resources you need to grow your own dental practice.

Sleep Apnea treatment and other great ways to expand your dental practice

An estimated 22 million Americans suffer from sleep apnea. In this episode, find out how you can help your patients get a restful night’s sleep by offering a dental appliance for sleep apnea, and what you can do to incorporate this into your practice with a sleep apnea champion on your team. This is just one of the great ways you can grow your business. As you listen to Dr. Bryant Birch talk about the expansion of his dental practice, you will discover many great ideas and resources that will encourage and inspire you to move your own practice into the future.

T-Bone talks about training the team at your dental practice

How do you train your team to have the same direction? This is Dr. Bryant Birch’s question for T-Bone in this episode. T-Bone offers a number of valuable insights into the process of getting your team to share the vision, be empowered, and accomplish goals. These ideas and many more are part of this conversation. Listen in and find out what you can do to take your dental practice to the next level!

Outline of This Episode

[0:17] Intro of this episode with Dr. Bryant Birch.
[0:43] Bryant’s story of taking over his dad’s dental practice in Green River, Wyoming.
[6:27] How Dr. Birch chose to make changes to the practice.
[8:39] How Bryant Birch went from simple general dentistry to high-tech.
[14:09] Bryant’s journey to doing dental implants in-house.
[20:29] Dr. Birch’s plans for building a new facility.
[22:26] The changing mentality toward technology in dentistry.
[24:19] Dr. Birch’s thoughts about taking insurance.
[27:16] T-Bone and Dr. Bryant on trying new things.
[29:28] Sleep apnea in the medical practice
[32:22] Dr. Bryant’s story of a life-changing experience that altered his attitude and the way he looks at the future.
[40:06] How do you train a team to have the same direction?
[45:35] Using community events to educate.
[46:32] The pre-requisites to taking it to the next level.

Listen to the entire interview

Resources

Subscribe to the Podcast

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t-bone-podcast

T-Bone Speaks is a podcast dedicated to helping you achieve clinical, financial, and personal balance. You’ll love the entertaining demeanor and down to earth approach to dentistry.

 

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Practice Technologist

Times are changing fast and technology is the primary driver of change.

You will Lose Your job to Technology, Unless…

For years I skated around the worry that technology would take jobs away from dentists and dental staff. I can no longer make that claim. Your job in dentistry will go away or at least be severely limited by technology in the future. There is one sure fire way to ensure that you will still have a job in the high tech revolution. Become the

“Practice Technologist”.

If you believe your job is to poke teeth with an explorer and take impressions you are fast becoming out of date. If you believe your job is to understand and use digital diagnostics and digital impressions then you are ahead of the pack.

If you believe your job is to pull charts and answer phones your job is in jeopardy. If on the other hand you believe your job is to maintain paperless charts and set up an online system to answer questions and take payments then you are secure.

The person who believes that their job is to understand and use technology effectively, can easily add new systems to the mix and embraces change will become indispensable; They will be an MVP the most valuable person in the office.

Here are three simple examples:

Practice Staff Person Practice Technologist
Pulls charts every day, spends time hunting for the lost chart then puts them all back again at the end of the day. Knows the management software well enough to create and maintain completely paperless records.
Hands a clipboard to patients to fill out forms then re-enters all the information in the computer. Sets up and uses online forms that synch with the electronic records. No paper and no dual entry.
Spends considerable time every day phoning and mostly leaving messages with patients to confirm (remind) them of an upcoming appointment. Sets up and maintains an online e-service that sends daily reminders with no additional input from office staff.

It is vitally important that the dentist understand the technology available to the office. As the practice leader the dentist needs to know what is possible in order to create a vision and lead the team.


Three days of Adventure C.E. that will change your practice, your Team, and your life!
Technology on the Rocks – May 18-20, 2017

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