Why Your Dental Collections Are Suffering and What You Can Do About It

Would you like to improve your dental collections? No matter how much you value your patient relationships, no dentist should be working for free. Yet that is essentially what happens every time a patient walks out of the practice without paying. Dental collections issues can be a real detriment to your practice’s revenue stream.

Issue #1: Failing to Match the Personality to the Job

Dealing with collections isn’t a job for just anyone. The team member(s) chosen need to have the right people skills to not only secure payment, but to maintain the relationship with the patient. Thought should be given to who on the staff would be best suited for this role in order to establish a solid foundation for your collections procedures.

Issue #2: Not Having the Right Processes in Place

Not only do you need to have the right people in place handling collections, you also need to have the right procedures. Are you still sending patients home with invoices, or allowing them to walk out the door without paying for services? Imagine incentivizing patients to pay at the time of service. Better yet – what if there was a way to get patients to pay upfront for a year’s worth of care? With Quality Dental Plan, collections rates greatly improve as patients pay one fee that covers their preventive treatment for the entire year.

Issue #3: Failing to Automate

How do you collect patient payments in your office? Is your front desk staff still mailing out hard copies of invoices to patients? Is the collections staff stuck sending past due payment reminders, or trying to track patients down over the telephone? Quality Dental Plan helps dental offices automate patient payments. QDP is powered by PlanPro, the innovative savings plan software that allows dentists to set patients up for automatic debits via ACH and every patient is renewed automatically each year. Again, dental collections rates improve and the office becomes more efficient as the front desk and collections teams have time to focus on other responsibilities.

Implementing an in-house dental savings plan can make a dramatic difference in collections rates, and Quality Dental Plan (QDP) is doing this in more offices than any other company in the industry. Patients are incentivized to join a savings plan like QDP in order to access discounted rates on preventive care. Patient fees are paid in full at the time of treatment so there are no unpaid balances for staff to track down. Collections rates improve as patients join the savings plan, and practice revenue can increase by as much as 30%.

QDP member dentists can keep 100% of the fees collected, and are able to set their own fees that make the most sense for their practice. The savings from eliminating accounts receivables and insurance headaches will more than cover the cost of the program.

Dental teams should be able to focus on patient care without having to worry about tracking down overdue payments. A savings plan is a genuine solution for improving dental collections. Now’s the time to give patients a way to afford the care they deserve. It’s time to establish a steady and predictable revenue stream for the dental practice. And it’s finally time to make delayed patient payments the exception, not the reality.

Are you ready to overcome pesky collections hassles? Fill out the form on the right to learn more about QDP, or visit the website to find out how a dental savings plan can make a difference in your dental practice.

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Dental Practice Leadership: 8 Tips for Optimizing Your Team

A dental practice cannot fully realize its potential if everyone in the practice isn’t on board and functioning 100%. As practice owners, dentists are also the CEO and leaders of their practices. Dental practice leadership involves making sure that each member of the team is contributing what they can to keep the practice running smoothly.

Dental assistants are often on the front lines of the dental practice. They have ample opportunities to interact with patients, in addition to performing services. Dental assistants play an important role in keeping the practice on a timely schedule each day. Check out these 8 tips on how to maximize the efficiency of dental assistants.

Consider your own dental practice leadership for a moment. Could there be any room for improvement within your existing processes?

Each team member that communicates with patients, either in the practice or in between appointments, plays a part in the overall patient experience, and happy patients are long-term patients. It’s good to remember that teamwork is essential to patient satisfaction and ultimately, to long-term practice success.

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Overcoming the #1 Dental Patient Objection to Treatment

In an ADA report released at the end of 2014, it was reported that financial issues are the number one reason for delayed dental care. Now, as a dentist, this may not come as any surprise to you, although it is certainly frustrating to hear.

Many Americans believe that if they don’t have dental insurance coverage, then they cannot access care. Even those with dental benefits believe that comprehensive dental treatment is simply unaffordable.

This is a big reason why I developed Quality Dental Plan. My own patients didn’t value dentistry and many were unable to proceed with treatment because of cost concerns. No one’s financial situation should prohibit them from getting the care they need. That’s where a dental savings plan like QDP comes in.

With a plan like QDP, patients pay upfront for a year’s worth of preventive care, with the option for further discounts. The cost, determined by the dentist, is often less than what they would pay if they bought traditional insurance. And the headaches related to insurance are eliminated – no more stressing about deductibles, copays and maximums.

Dental savings plans also reduce headaches for the dental team. No more struggling to get through the piles of paperwork, or waiting for reimbursements to come in. With QDP, the dentists gets paid immediately and even better, gets to keep 100% of what they produce.

It’s not acceptable for our patients to forego dental care because of affordability concerns. Offering a plan like QDP will help dentists overcome the number one dental patient objection and allow them to reach countless more patients throughout their communities.

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Insurance: The Biggest Mistake Dentists Make In Practice Marketing

Everyone likes a quick fix, especially in today’s digital culture. There are entire industries devoted to instant weight-loss solutions and “get rich quick” schemes. It seems like we are all over-scheduled in all areas of our lives, personally and professionally; the unfortunate result of that reality is that whenever there is a shortcut that we think will save us time and energy, we dentists are all ears.

When it comes to practice growth, there’s no doubt that we dentists would LOVE a magic bullet, especially when it comes to dental marketing. Attracting new patients is no easy feat, and dental practice marketing often ends up feeling like a never-ending chore.

Let’s face it – it’s hard to differentiate your dental practice from the competition when it seems like every other dentist in the area is offering free whitening or discounted first patient visits. Not to mention, are these offers really adding value to our patients’ lives or just lowering the value of the vital services we all provide?

Insurance Is Not the Solution

But contrary to what the insurance companies would have you believe, going in-network does not have to be the only path to success for dental practice owners today. In fact, falling reimbursement rates coupled with increased paperwork and hassles has quite frankly made accepting insurance more trouble than it’s really worth. And remember, the discount you honor for every insurance patient is essentially a marketing fee that you’re paying to the insurance company – IN PERPETUITY – for sending you that patient.

When you add up the costs of monthly premiums and co-pays, patients themselves rarely see many benefits from having dental insurance at all. So if it isn’t working for either dentists or patients, why do we all keep playing the insurance game? Is promoting ourselves in our communities really THAT scary?

How You Can Win

This is where an in-house dental savings plan comes in. With a dental insurance alternative like QDP, dentists are able to offer patients genuine benefits for an annual fee that is often less than the cost of traditional insurance. Even better, dentists are able to remove the middleman (the insurance company) and preserve the dentist-patient relationship as well as their profits.

Here are just a few benefits:

  • Dental savings plans like QDP help grow the fee-for-service patient base because patients come to understand that they cannot access the same value in any other practice
  • Word of mouth increases as patients who are part of a membership plan are more loyal — and 70% more likely to refer others to the practice as a result
  • Case acceptance rates rise 20% on average among QDP member dentists as patients are more likely to proceed with treatment knowing that their membership means they’re getting a fair price
  • QDP dentists successfully use our public relations & advertising methods to promote the fact that they are increasing access to dental care within the community – without having to offer deep promotional discounts

Sound compelling? Discover even more ways an in-house dental savings plan can revolutionize your dental practice. Remember, patients are looking for quality healthcare at an affordable price. Your practice can give them what they are looking for by offering a program like Quality Dental Plan.

  • With QDP, you can be assured no other dentist in the area is offering the same plan.
  • A QDP plan trumps insurance when it comes to the value of actual benefits provided.
  • QDP dentists set their own fees; you don’t have to adhere to an arbitrary fee schedule set by a third party.
  • QDP dentists are free to provide those patients who prepay for services a reasonable price for the dental care that they and their families need and want.

It’s time to set your dental practice apart from the competition. Say goodbye to costly patient discounts and ineffective marketing efforts – and start providing patients with something they actually need.

Interested in finding out how Quality Dental Plan can help transform your dental marketing? Click here to find out how to make your dental marketing message stand out. And fill out the form on the right or visit our website if you are interested in learning more about QDP.

 

Dan Marut, DMD

Founder, Quality Dental Plan

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A Look at Dentistry in 2015

When I started practicing dentistry over a decade ago, I couldn’t have imagined how much the industry could change in such a relatively short amount of time. For those of our readers who have been in the business longer, I am sure you can relate, and for newer dentists it is exciting to think of where the industry is headed.

I came across an article from the American Association of Dental Office Managers (AADOM) discussing the changing face of the dental industry today. It’s an interesting perspective and certainly worth a read.

Dental school teaches us how to be a dentist, but falls short of adequately preparing us for the business side of dentistry. Dental practice management entails much more than just providing good patient care; it requires a full spectrum of components that all need to be working efficiently for the overall success of the practice.

It’s important to stay on top of new innovations in the industry, and to keep an open mind when considering how to best meet the needs of patients. Providing solutions like Quality Dental Plan, which helps patients afford the treatment they need in a way that incentivizes them to keep coming back is a good example of how the industry is adapting. When I first developed QDP over 10 years ago, I was the only one in the dental savings plan business. Fast forward to 2015 and now there is a dental savings plan industry — at least in part because we proved the value to both dentists and patients.

Dentistry has certainly come a long way in the past ten years. By continually educating ourselves on the new tools and advancements available to us, we as dentists will be able to carry on providing the valuable services to our communities that our patients so greatly deserve.

For information on how QDP can help your practice unlock patient spending, give us a call or fill out the form at the right and let us know how we can help.

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Treatment Acceptance: Taking Cost Out of the Equation

Let’s say you have a patient come in who is in need of extensive restorative care. You discuss with them the reasons for the treatment and lay out a clear plan of action. Then comes the inevitable question from the patient: How much is this going to cost?

Overcoming the cost factor to increase treatment acceptance is a skill that we dentists have to master, for both the health of our patients and the longevity of our practices, but that doesn’t make it easy.

If you are like many dentists who struggle with turning a patient’s no into a yes, check out this blog from the experts at DentalMarketing101.com. In it, the author speaks to the importance of customer service and communication, and how when a patient feels like they are truly being taken care of, cost becomes less of an importance.

Patients are willing to pay for what they want, and what they want is quality dental care. By tweaking your current internal processes, treatment acceptance rates will increase and those uncomfortable financial conversations with patients will no longer hinder your care.

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Dental Practice Employee Compensation: Let’s Talk About It!

Open lines of communication with your dental practice staff are important for a number of reasons (practice growth, goal achievement, long-term stability to name a few). However, communicating with staff doesn’t always come easy, especially when they come to you to discuss compensation.

A recent article in Dental Products Report addresses the top employee compensation mistakes dentists often make. Are you possibly committing some of the following bad habits referenced in the article?

  •  Offering wage increases based on reasons other than merit
  • Failing to define what “success” means in terms of each employee’s performance
  • Giving everyone on the team the same wage and/or bonus
  • Increasing wages without evidence of practice growth
  • Lacking opportunities for open communication

The DPR article is definitely worth a read, especially for those who dread employee compensation conversations. Instead of avoiding these conversations, take a proactive approach and get the team on board for a fresh and successful start to the New Year.

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A Fresh Approach to Dental Benefits: Give Patients a Reason to Come Back

How an in-house dental savings plan provides dentists with a way to attract more patients and to keep them coming back for care

Consider this real-life scenario detailed on the popular Dental Warrior blog. A patient comes into the practice of author Dr. Mike Barr in need of significant work. She had been to the practice years before, but not kept regular appointments. She was nervous so she brought her husband along. After learning she would need extensive restoration work, the conversation turned to costs.

Dr. Barr recently implemented Quality Dental Plan (QDP) in his practice. When he sat down with the patient and her husband, Dr. Barr explained that his new in-house dental savings plan could help them afford the care she needed. It turns out not only had the couple already signed up for QDP with the financial coordinator, but even more interesting, the husband sells dental insurance!

Even an insurance salesman sees the benefits of a dental savings plan like QDP over traditional dental benefits! There’s no insurance company to contend with, and the savings and benefits are greater.

What is Quality Dental Plan?

  • It’s the industry leader in providing in-house dental savings plans to hundreds of dentists across the country.
  • QDP helps dentists attract more new patients and grow their fee-for-service patient base.
  • For a cost often less than insurance, patients pay upfront for a year’s worth of preventive care with additional access to discounts on comprehensive and cosmetic procedures.
  • QDP remove issues of cost and affordability from the financial discussion.

In the blog, Dr. Barr is convinced that this previously unpredictable patient will now complete her course of care since she committed to the QDP program. In fact, case acceptance rates can rise over 25% with an in-house dental savings plan, as patients are more likely to proceed with treatment.

Do you want to attract more fee-for-service patients? Are you looking for a way to overcome patients’ affordability concerns and increase treatment acceptance? Fill out the form on the right to discover how an in-house dental savings plan can be the answer you – and your patients – have been looking for.

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How One Decision Can Help Achieve True Dental Practice Success

A first-hand look at the impacts an in-house dental savings plan made in one practice

Dr. M runs a general practice in rural Oklahoma. While the practice is profitable, Dr. M was looking for something more. He was searching for a way to attract more fee-for-service patients while improving case acceptance rates among his current patient base.

Dr. M discovered Quality Dental Plan. He thought perhaps this in-house dental savings plan could be the solution he was looking for, so he signed up with QDP in October 2012.

He set his membership fee at $300, giving patients the chance to pay upfront for a year’s worth of preventive care. His patients were now able to afford the dental care they needed, and not have to worry about issues with deductibles, maximums or copays.

By October 2013, Dr. M had enrolled 300 members in QDP at his practice. While the savings plan was truly a value-add for his patients, he saw his practice thriving at the same time.

Through QDP:

  • Dr. M created a predictable annual revenue stream of $90,000 in the first year.
  • Recall intervals tightened and case acceptance rates increased because patients had prepaid for treatment.
  • There were no longer concerns about collections or dealing with insurance company hassles since patients no longer needed to rely on insurance. Dr. M was even able to give his staff bonuses based on collections!
  • Finally there was a compelling way of reaching more new patients and growing the fee-for-service patient base.

By October 2014, two years into his QDP membership, Dr. M reports enrolling another 300 patients in his plan. With 600 patients now taking part, Dr. M has over 50% of his patient base prepaid for treatment – every year!

What is next on Dr. M’s QDP to-do list? Take advantage of QDP’s professionally designed marketing templates to help spread the word throughout the community and surrounding towns to reach even more patients in order to provide them with the care they need at a price they can afford.

Key Takeaways:

  • Dentists don’t have to be located in a sprawling urban area or spend a ton of money to achieve practice success.
  • Insurance is not always the answer.
  • Increasing production, treatment acceptance, collections and new patient flow can be accomplished with the right solution.

Want to learn how to make dental practice success a reality in your dental practice? Fill out the form on the right to discover how to create your own similar success story for your dental practice.

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Dental Fees: What Dentists Need to Know in 2015

Happy New Year to our QDP Blog readers! Here’s to a healthy and prosperous 2015!

In case you missed it over the holidays, Dental Products Report published a helpful article talking about 5 things dentists need to know regarding their dental fees. It’s a terrific reminder as we begin a new year, making plans and setting goals.

It’s crucial to take a hard look at your fee schedule once a year to make sure it’s up to date and appropriate for your area. Without incremental fee increases, you may not be able to stay competitive or continue to update your practice with the latest technology. Operating a successful practice depends on setting appropriate dental fees in a way that boosts your bottom line, rather than destroying it.

Have you re-evaluated your dental fees? What changes have you made regarding your fee schedule for 2015?

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