Dental Practice Management: North Carolina Senate Bill Wants Dentists To Do It Themselves

Senate ruling on dental practice managementLast week in our post, Dentists Beware: The Government May Want To Tell You How To Manage Your Practice, we reported on the story of the North Carolina Senate and Senate Bill 655, which would require the North Carolina Board of Dental Examiners to examine all business contracts entered into by dental practices in their state.

Dr. Clifton Cameron, a dentist in North Carolina reported to the Fay Observer that, “Senate Bill 655 would give the Dental Board complete control of how dentists in North Carolina run their practices so they can keep fees charged to patients artificially high and insurance acceptance artificially low.”

We wrote that we couldn’t find the reasoning behind such a move by the NC Senate and Board of Dental Examiners, but the Board did post the following to their website:

“The Board has become increasingly concerned about the expanding scope and nature of management company services and agreements, and their impact on the control of dental practices by the licensed dentists.

The bundled services offered by management companies typically involve some combination of (1) administrative management services; and (2) financial management services.

Based on its knowledge of the operations of dental practices, and after reviewing management arrangements with dental practices for almost ten (10) years, the Board has identified features of management arrangements which it has determined to be highly likely to create a situation where the ownership, management, supervision or control of a dental practice is impermissibly conveyed to an unlicensed person or organization because either separately or when bundled, those features interfere with the licensed dentists’ professional decision-making and their exercise of clinical skill, judgment and supervision in the dental practice.”

After we ran our original story, several doctors commented. A New Jersey dentist wrote:

“In New Jersey, the state board already forbids outside management. My partner and I spend about 20-30 per week running my business instead of on continuing education or, patient care.

The real argument isn’t whether or not I could be one of the practices recruited by management companies, but the unfair advantage it would bring to my practice over anothers’. Lower overhead, decreased fees, increased insurance acceptance, large marketing budgets would destroy competition and lower practice values and access to care.

Management companies specify laboratory selection, supply selection, employee selection, and continuing education budgets. While they bring lower overhead, they take money from the practice as well. If you fail to be attractive, your practice cannot contract with them.

Giving this advantage to a small percentage of dentists is unfair to the majority of dentists that do not wish to join or would not be accepted. I have 10 dentists within a 0.5 mile radius. We can’t all be Aspen Dental Centers. The other 9 practices would suffer, and that wouldn’t be fair.

This is about the only aspect of dental life in New Jersey that makes practicing here worthwhile. Defeat it. Resist, North Carolina!”

Another dentist responded with:

“Have they gone mad over there? Sounds like there’s something they are not telling us about…It sounds like the insurance companies are in bed with the politicians again….”

Indeed, it could be a game changer that would impact North Carolina dentists and how they manage their dental practices. The North Carolina Office of Research, Demonstrations and Rural Health Development reports that there is already a severe shortage of primary health care providers in North Carolina, particularly in the State’s rural areas.

But perhaps this isn’t about patient care at all — or making dental practices transparent.  Perhaps this is about lawmakers just playing politics.

Targeted Dental Marketing: Dentists Are Split Over the Value

Targeted Dental Marketing: Dentists Are Split Over the ValueSelecting a target market for a particular dental treatment rather than attempting to market to all types of dental patients can be a more efficient use of dental marketing dollars.

By focusing dental marketing resources on a specific patient base, dentists can carve out a market niche over their competition.

To find out how dentists are doing with target-specific dental marketing, The Wealthy Dentist conducted a survey asking dentists if they target specific types of new patients with their dental marketing.

Dentists were split right down the middle with 50% saying they do target specific types of patients and 50% saying they do not.

Of the dentists who do target their dental marketing, here’s what they target —

27% General family
22% Cosmetic dentistry
11% Dental implants
09% Invisalign
08% Gum disease
08% Sedation dentistry
07% Dentures
02% Dental insurance
02% Urgent care
02% Children
01% Prosthodontics

Here’s what dentists had to say on the subject of targeting specific dental patients –

“We welcome all kinds of patients!” (Rural Texas dentist)

“We also target higher income.” (General dentist)

“I have done it in the past for Ortho and Implants. I had separate websites for each. It only made sense. Like hunting, take the best equipment for what you want.” (Missouri dentist)

“We also offer incentives for referral business from our current patients.” (Kentucky dentist)

For more on targeted dental marketing see our in-depth research report on eleven specific dental markets.

Dental Marketing Can Bring Lots of New Patients (video)

Dental Marketing Can Bring Lots of New Patients (video)Dental marketing programs can bring lots of new dental patients to a doctor’s office.

However, some dentists can’t help but feel dirty about marketing themselves and their dental practices.

As one dentist pointed out, “A restaurant can’t say, ‘We won’t do marketing because we just want to cook good food for people.'”

Sighed a prostodontist, “Marketing is a necessary evil.”

The Wealthy Dentist conducted a survey asking dentists if dental marketing is part of their job.

Click on Play to hear how dentists answered this question —

What are your thoughts on dental marketing for your dental practice?

Cosmetic Dentistry Still Tops the List of Services Dentists Offer

Cosmetic Dentistry Still Tops the List of Services Dentists OfferWhen asked what services their dental practice offers, the dentists who responded with cosmetic dentistry were the clear majority in this survey.

More aging baby boomers are turning to cosmetic dentistry to improve the appearance of their teeth, which may explain the increase in demand for cosmetic dentistry services.

Dental implants are the most popular dental treatment among this demographic for the replacement of damaged or missing teeth.

A California dentist shared, “More than half of our practice is dental implants now!”

Here at The Wealthy Dentist, we were curious what services dentists are currently offering. The top services offered by dentists who responded to this survey are cosmetic, tooth whitening, dental implants, dentures, and children’s dentistry.

Here’s a breakdown of the services dentists are offering —

List of Services Dentists Offer

Dentists were disappointed that other services were not included in this survey, like Botox, oral cancer screenings, or offering custom mouthguards for patient athletes.

One prosthodontist noted, “Oral cancer screening and testing was not on the survey list. Also, it would be interesting to know how many offices provide Botox.”

A general dentist responded that he now offers same day service for CEREC restorations as part of his dental practice services.

Another dentist answered tongue-in-cheek, “I don’t offer gum disease, I treat it.”

What dental services does your dental practice offer? Has the demand for cosmetic dentistry increased?

Where is your dental marketing focused?

There’s Big Business in Acquiring New Dental Patients

There's Big Business in Acquiring New Dental PatientsHalf of the dentists in the latest The Wealthy Dentist survey report that they would be willing to pay $150.00 or more to acquire one new dental patient.

Dentists responded that they would be willing to pay anywhere from $20.00 to over $300.00 for one new patient.

Of course, there were a wide variety of dollar amounts that dentists indicated they would be willing to spend in the acquisition of a new patient.

Here’s how dentists responded to the question, “How much would be willing to pay to acquire one new dental patient?”

• 17% — Up to $20 a patient
• 13% — Up to $50 a patient
• 19% — Up to $100 a patient
• 21% — Up to $150 a patient
• 09% — Up to $200 a patient
• 04% — Up to $250 a patient
• 06% — Up to $300 a patient
• 11% — Over $300 a patient

Acquiring New Dental Patients Survey Graph

Suburban and urban dentists were more willing to pay for more new dental patients than their rural counterparts with suburban dentists willing to pay the most.

Here are some of the comments by dentists in this survey:

“What we mean is that this is our actual cost through our dental marketing efforts.” (Pennsylvania dentist)

“My projected value per patient is $2300.00. So paying a few hundred dollars to get them in my door is a no-brainer.” (Texas dentist)

“I would pay more for veneers or implant patients.” (New Jersey dentist)

“Paying directly to acquire new patients on a per-patient basis is illegal, but general dental advertising and promotion is legal as long as costs are not charged per patient.” (California dentist)

“They’d have to go through with an orthodontic treatment.” (Massachusetts orthodontist)

“Corporate greed from mega dental clinics (owned by non-dentists) have practically no budget to acquire new patients. How in the hell do new graduates with private offices have a chance!!?” (Washington dentist)

Referral marketing has been traditionally considered by many experts to be one of the most effective ways to gain new dental patients because it creates a “warm lead” — a prospective patient who hears about the dentist from a friend whom they know, like and trust.

Potential patients who are “warm leads” will often call the office to set an appointment even if they’ve never visited the dental website simply because their friend or family member made the recommendation.

The cost to acquire that kind of patient is next to zero.

The Wealthy Dentist recommends for best results, that dentists provide an incentive or special offer to include in aTell-A-Friend email. The ‘Tell-A-Friend’ feature is a great low cost way to let your patients market your practice for you.

The Internet Dental Alliance provides pre-written suggestions dentists can use to create special offers, so why not head on over to www.InternetDentalAlliance.com and check out Dental Email Newsletters for Current Patients and More Referrals today.

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