Archive for April, 2012

Avoid Sticky Payment Negotiations

Thursday, April 26th, 2012

“No problem, Tom. I’m sure Erin my financial coordinator can work up a little arrangement for you to pay – oh say, $50 per month?”


“Uhhh, how ‘bout $25, Doc?”


“Well, yeah sure. We’ll take care of you, Tom, you’re just like family.”


New dentists can find themselves in the awkward position of financial negotiations with patients, particularly when it comes to family and close friends. And that can put practice finances into jeopardy in no time. With so many things on the new dentist’s plate, it can be easy to forget that profitability and collections are the Siamese twins of dentistry. One doesn’t go anywhere without the other.


It’s essential that when it comes to financial plans and promises, new dentists assign this duty to a trained financial coordinator and establish a financial policy that they are comfortable with. Generally, offering patients a few payment options is most desirable rather than a laundry list of payment plans to choose from.


Most importantly, do not get into the habit of extending credit to patients. This will be very difficult to break as your practice grows. Rather, partner with a patient financing company, such as CareCredit.


Consider offering a slight adjustment in the fees for more costly procedures paid in full that are not covered by insurance, such as a 5% adjustment for procedures over $500 paid in full.


Require insured patients to pay a portion of their payment responsibility when services are rendered.


Do not accept post-dated checks.


Give patients the opportunity to pay in full within 30 days before assessing a financing charge on the account.


Sign up for an electronic billing service. And file all insurance claims electronically.


Interested in additional resources to help you manage the financials of your dental practice? Click Here.

Hire Smart, Hire the Best

Thursday, April 5th, 2012

Hiring quality employees is not unlike providing quality dentistry. It requires planning, use of the right tools, and a methodical process. Establishing well polished hiring procedures from day one will save new dentists a career of regrettable hiring decisions.


It all begins with a little thought. Take 15 minutes and consider what you want this person to do. Once you’ve done that, update or write a job description for the job tailored to attract the employee you need. Include the job title, job summary, and specific duties. This is a simple yet critical tool in the hiring process. It clarifies what skills the applicant must possess and explains what duties they would perform.


When advertising, include salary range, location, hours, and importance of the position in your wording. Promote the advantages of your practice, “new technology, flexible hours, friendly and progressive environment.” Advertise in a variety of media, including employment websites, etc.  And encourage applicants to email resumes to expedite the process.


When reviewing resumes, look for those that explain skills and detail work experience chronology. Don’t assume that experience translates into good employees. Keep an eye out for resume red flags, e.g. only listing years rather than specific employment dates such as 2009-2011.


When you’ve narrowed your list to the top five, pre-screen potential candidates by phone. You want to use the conversation to address your most pressing concerns immediately, such as gaps in work history, salary expectations, etc.


During the face-to-face interview, ask the applicant to specifically explain past responsibilities. Be sure to ask open-ended questions such as, “How would you describe your previous employer?” Test for the best. Take advantage of Internet testing tools that are now available to dentists. Such testing has been used in the business sector for years to help companies identify the better candidates for specific positions. And finally, check references.


Still looking for more resources on how to hire the best employee? Go Here Need help with new employee testing? Click Here