Dentists Beware: The Government May Want To Tell You How To Manage Your Practice

dentists' hands in chainsThe North Carolina Senate recently upheld 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.

No other state in the union has implemented such restrictions on dental practice management, or sought such inclusive authority over how dentists manage their business.

Talk about the far-reaching arm of the government!

As reported by Dr. Clifton Cameron in the Fay Observer –

“As a practicing dentist in Fayetteville, I know how this legislation will impact dentistry in North Carolina.

When my partner and I established our practice in 2008, we quickly realized dental school taught us much about clinical care, but little about running a business. And the dental industry, much like the rest of the health care industry, is changing and becoming more complex.

So like many small-business owners, we looked to outside companies to help finance the practice, manage billing, handle payroll, file insurance and execute other administrative tasks. The arrangement helped our dental practice operate so efficiently that we can charge lower rates and accept dental insurance from patients.

Instead of helping foster lower fees for patients and wider insurance acceptance, Senate Bill 655 would require dentists to personally handle all the administrative tasks of their practices.

The bill would forbid dentists from taking advantage of the types of business services that millions of small businesses use. Many dentists like me would be forced to spend less time on patient care and more time on managing the complexities of a modern dental practice.

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.”

The North Carolina State Board of Dental Examiners position on on Management Agreements with dental practices is as follows:

“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.”

Have you read about this story? What are your thoughts about the government and a State Board of Dental Examiners dictating how you administrate your dental practice?

We look forward to hearing your thoughts on this subject.

For more on this story see: Op-ed: Legislation would restrict dentistry in the state and the North Carolina State Board of Dental Examiners position at www.ncdentalboard.org (opens in a pdf file).

General Dentists Offer a Variety of Orthodontic Options to Patients

orthodonic options Recently the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) reported that over one million adults are wearing braces. New technologies have widened the options for braces and made them attractive to dental patients of all ages.

No longer do patients fear having a “mouth full of metal.”

We conducted a survey that asked dentists what type of orthodontic options they now offer at their practice.

This was their response –

  • Conventional braces — 22%
  • Ceramic braces — 19%
  • Lingual braces — 6%
  • Invisalign® — 22%
  • Inspice ICE® — 4%
  • ClearCorrect® — 10%
  • Simpli 5® — 6%
  • Smart Moves® — 4%
  • RW II® — 3%
  • Red White & Blue® — 4%

“I have done orthodontics as a GP for 24 years.” (General dentist)

“Patients value the option of avoiding bands and brackets.” (Urban dentist)

“I prefer fixed orthodontia, as it is easier to keep the patient compliant.” (North Carolina dentist)

“Pre-treating arch discrepancies including posterior cross bites with removable orthopedic appliances allow you to finalize many cases with Invisalign®.” (California dentist)

Dentists: Are You No Longer a Wealthy Dentist?

Dentists: Are You No Longer a Wealthy Dentist?Dentists’ incomes are dropping according to a report published in the May issue of the Journal of the American Dental Association.

The ADA and data from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality’s Medical Expenditure Panel conducted a survey to analyze trends in real gross billings per dentist visit, rates of collection of gross dental patient billings, number of visits to a dentist, percentage of the population who visited a dentist, population to dentist ratio and average real practice expenses.

The survey results reflect a random sample of approximately 4000 to 7000 dentists in private practice.

The survey found that the downward income trend was driven primarily by a decrease in dental patients seeking dental care.

The decline in dental care use, although most notable during the economic downturn, appears to have started before the downturn began.

A smaller portion of the U.S. population is seeing a dental care annually, going from 40.6% in 2005 to 38.6% in 2009.

Marko Vujicic, PhD, an American Dental Association economist, told Medscape Medical News that another study confirmed that an increasing number of Americans say they can no longer afford the dental care they need. Many states cut Medicaid dental benefits at the same time that employers cut back on dental insurance benefits, which left more of the general population without dental insurance coverage.

Further ADA surveys have shown that the reason dental patients don’t go to the dentist more often is that it now costs too much (34%). More than half of consumers (51%) who have not been to the dentist in the past five years report that high costs are an important factor. About 26% of consumers had a previous bad experience with a dentist and one-quarter do not feel that it is necessary to go to the dentist until a problem occurs.

According to the ADA the average gross billings per owner dentist in 2009 was $727,630 for a general practitioner and $1,004,820 for a specialist.

Quality dental marketing seems to help buck the downward income trend by helping dentists acquire more new dental patients. Investing in the latest dental technology also helps add to the dental practice bottom line, according to dental accountant Bassim Michael.

What has your experience been this year? Has your dental practice income dropped?

For more on this story see: Dentists’ Incomes Dropping, Says ADA Survey

Protect Your Dental Practice by Bonding Your Employees

Editorial
by Bryan Truitt and Jim Du Molin

Even if you have an internal controls system that makes embezzlement difficult, the danger of collusion still exists. (I’ve already told you that embezzlement is common, it can be detected, and it can be prevented.) One of the ways in which some dental practices protect themselves from employee dishonesty is by bonding their employees.

Bonding is the process by which an employer can be indemnified for the loss of money or other property sustained through dishonest acts of a “bonded” employee. Bonding can cover many types of acts including larceny, theft, embezzlement, forgery, misappropriation, wrongful abstraction, willful misapplication, or other fraudulent or dishonest acts committed by an employee, alone or in collusion with others.

There are several types of fidelity bonds. Discuss each with your agent to determine whether damages from negligence are covered. Basically, your practice has several options at its disposal:

  • Individual: covers one employee. Usually purchased by small practices or family-operated businesses with only one employee.
  • Name schedule or position schedule: covers either the employees or positions specified.
  • Blanket fidelity: covers all employees.
  • Commercial, blanket, and blanket position: provides multiple protection (comprehensive dishonesty, disappearance and destruction coverage, or a blanket crime policy).

There is wide choice in features and coverage as well as cost differences in bonding coverage. It difficult to understand why only two practices in ten have this economical insurance.

Next week, we’ll talk about what to do when you have discovered a problem.

Why Dental Marketing Requires Long-term Thinking

Dental Marketing Requires Long-term Thinking Sometimes it’s frustrating to hear that dental marketing results will take time. When dentists spend thousands of dollars on something, it’s only natural to want a return as soon as possible.

But marketing is really more of a marathon than a sprint.

The best results come over time.

It’s not unheard of for an advertising campaign to produce an immediate return, but that’s usually the exception to the rule. We hope for short-term response, but we plan for long-term results. Keep this in mind when you choose among your dental marketing options.

Once you pick your method, give the media enough time to produce. In most cases, the approach of “I’ll do this for a couple months and see how it goes” is a mistake and a waste of money.

Why are dental marketing results better over the long run?

One of the main reasons is because patients are likely to need multiple exposures to a message before they respond. Radio advertising provides a good example. Radio is a frequency medium, which means it works best when your ad makes repeated impressions on the same listener.

It can be expensive to make multiple impressions on a listener, especially in the larger markets, so it’s important to buy a station that you can afford. If you can’t afford to commit for at least six months, then you need to pick a less expensive station or put off radio until such a commitment is realistic.

One good media buyer I know tells his clients, “In the first month, you’re going to lose a (heck) of a lot of money. In the second month you’ll lose a little less. By the fourth or fifth month, you’ll start breaking even. And after six months, you’ll start making a lot of money.”

Now that first part might sound a little bleak, but if you’re planning long term, your investment won’t be evaluated by early results. At the end of the year the aggregated profit over the months should more than make up for a slow start.

I’ve seen dentists get multiple new patients the first day they ran a radio ad. That’s great for morale, but it’s not necessary for a successful campaign. Some of the best campaigns I’ve seen have started slow and built up over time.

Make sure you choose dental marketing methods that reflect this reality, and that your decisions are made for the long-term.

Ed Ridgway has executed dental marketing campaigns for hundreds of businesses in the U.S. and Canada. He is nationally recognized for his ongoing campaigns with many of the top dental practices across the country.

Disclaimer

© 2017, The Wealthy Dentist - Dental Marketing - All Rights Reserved - Dental Website Marketing Site Map

The Wealthy Dentist® - Contact by email - Privacy Policy

P.O. Box 1220, Tiburon, CA 94920

The material on this website is offered in conjunction with MasterPlan Alliance.

Copyright 2017 Du Molin & Du Molin, Inc. All rights reserved. If you would like to use material from this site, our reports, articles, training programs
or tutorials for use in any printed or electronic media, please ask permission first by email.