Monthly Archives: May 2009

Management By Fear

—in the Summer issue of The Profitable Dentist.

Explore seven situations with me in this article about the role of courage in making management decisions in your practice. It’s a short, easy read that could make an enormous difference, even in your everyday practice.

As I say in the article, “When you are in the thick of things, it’s hard to remove yourself and know if you are being objective. In general though, playing it ‘safe’ is probably more dangerous than doing what may, on the surface, look risky.”

Find the issue in at The Profitable Dentist web site:

Or read the article alone at our Advanced Practice Management site: In the left column you’ll find a number of articles I’ve written. Look for the last listing under The Profitable Dentist. You can download it for later perusal, too.

Lots of Minnesota dental news is in our
Bulletin for the First Quarter of 2009.

Dental Dow Jones, Is an 18% finance charge illegal?, and many other topics are covered, including my advice: Don’t buy the $250 manual that is being pushed by some companies in mail solicitations.

Who, What, Why, and When? Get the answers on our web site… free, no log-in, browse when you have a spare minute. Back issues of our Bulletins are there, too.

When is a free consultation really free?

When you give me a call for a chat. We can talk for 15 to 20 minutes about what’s on your mind. Before you call, check out the testimonials on our web site from dentists who called me and are glad they did. Real dentists, real practices, real names and photographs. I’m sure you’ll recognize at least a couple of fellow dentists. 952 921 3360

’til next time.

Delta Gets Snout Rapped In Rhode Island

Monday, September 14, 2009

As reported in on July 2nd, a new law in Rhode Island prohibits insurance companies from limiting the fees of dental procedures that they do not cover. Nationally, Delta Dental has been attempting to implement a new feature of its Premier and PPO provider organization contracts that require dentists to honor their contracted fees for services that are not covered by a subscriber’s plan. This includes dental work performed by participating dentists even if not covered because the patient exhausted their annual maximum.
For years now in Minnesota, Doctors have had to take Delta write offs even after the maximum was reached. Fees on non-covered services haven’t been subjected (yet).
None of us like the idea that Delta limits fees for non-covered services (like veneers and bleaching). For one thing, how do you set a fee for such procedures when there can be such a wide range of materials and lab costs?
There are many other states where Doctors can get their full fee (not have to do Delta write offs) once the patient’s maximum has been met. The idea is that the insurance helps cover the first $1,500 or so but after that the patient is responsible. When talking with other management consultants and hearing about their strategies with Doctors in other states, they have been more willing to accept PPO discounts because they can get their full fee once the insurance maximums are reached. I think all of you heard the argument that Delta and other insurance companies should have their maximums increased to $5,000 to have the equivalent coverage of what they had 20 years ago or so. In this context it’s almost good that the maximum hasn’t been moved up.
The Rhode Island legislature voted for this because they felt that it was unfair to patients who didn’t have insurance coverage to in fact subsidize (indirectly) patients who had insurance with big write offs. Also, they felt that could affect access for patients. Rhode Island has neighboring states where the fee schedules are not as low and Delta write-offs are not as much. That gives incentive to new Dentists to not practice in Rhode Island.
Hopefully, this marks a turning point in Delta’s ability to continue to implement these policies nationwide. Maybe some day we can turn it back in Minnesota.
We have more news, free for the reading, on our website. If you have something on your mind, give me a call at 952 921 3360.
’til next time…
Posted by Bill Rossi at 9:00 AM
Labels: Advanced Practice Management, Bill Rossi, Delta Dental, Dental Consultant, Minnesota dentists, Practice Management

Don’t Let Your Office Manager Retreat!

From our newsletter back in July of 2006

I thought this subject worth repeating…

At a certain point when the Doctor’s practice is large enough (or Doctors are practicing a group) there comes a time when they want a true office manager. They want someone to handle all the non-clinical aspects of the practice… especially staff hassles (scheduling vacation hours, interviewing, disciplining and generally calming the waters).

Yet, we see many office managers who have “retreated” (physically and figuratively to an area removed from the action). Perhaps they started at the front desk and were promoted to the office manager position. They get involved in the practice numbers (bookkeeping, payroll, insurance processing, credit follow up) and after a while are so busy managing numbers that they’re not managing people. Their front desk skills may have even gone dormant and they might be all but invisible to the treatment staff. Then, the staff hassles and other business matters end up back in the Doctor’s lap.

How does this happen? Often the Doctors are their own worst enemy in this regard. They set someone up to be an office manager but at the first unpopular decision (let’s say the manager did not grant your senior hygienist her preferred vacation time) the staff person does an end around and goes to the Doctor directly. It’s at that point you determine whether or not your office manager is going to be a true office manager or a bookkeeper. Do you stand behind your office manager… knowing there will be some flack but knowing that they will be empowered to do what you want them to do, or do you back down and try to be a “Nice Guy” and end up being a nice guy or gal with lots of management hassles you don’t want?

Often office managers do not take the cultivation of their supervisory skills as seriously as they do the numbers. They need to get to courses and read about leadership. They need to get out from behind the desk and walk around the office. This way they can listen to the staff’s problems and requests so they can grant resources as well as give direction. The office manager has to nail down Doctor decisions that need to be made and make sure those decisions are communicated throughout the office so that everyone feels they are in the loop.
Office managers focus on just getting through each day (like we all do). However a good office manager is future focused. Their job is not just to handle the day to day, it’s to help the practice reach its goals. Does your office manager know what your goals are? Do they have a strategy for reaching those goals? Are they reaching beyond the day to day duties each day to implement the gradual worthwhile changes that will help your practice excel? Are they actively looking for ways to cut your expenses? Are they totally familiar with computer software so you’re leveraging every application you can? Are they getting a reputation for making sure that decisions made at staff meetings are followed through and people responsible for the various systems are held accountable (and rewarded or not according to their performance)?

Comments or a story you’d like to share? Give me a call at 952 921 3360, email or post a comment. Visit our website for more.

’til next time…
Posted by Bill Rossi