Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Forecasting how a change in fees will affect your production

I am a numbers geek so when I am in an office working with the doctor or office manager who loves to look at reports and numbers, I just go crazy. That brings me to this week’s blog. Last week, I was working with an office manager who takes all 12 of her fee schedules and manually enters them into MS Excel so she can manipulate the numbers. She might add 5% to her UCR fee schedule to see what it would do to their overall production or she might see what it would do to the production if they just added 300 more sealants or if they stopped charging for adult fluoride. She is a wizard with numbers and forecasting what the changes in fees will do to their production. I was amazed.

However, she spends hundreds of hours inputting these fee schedules into Excel. Out of the blue, she said, “It would be great if I could export my fee schedules into Excel.” When I clicked on the button, she was the happiest person in the room … which made me the happiest person in the room.

Maybe you are working with a company that is going to do some negotiating of your fee schedules on your behalf or maybe you want to see what it would look like if you put your UCR fee schedule in the 95% for dental practices in your area and what that would do to your revenue. If you export your fee schedules to Excel, you now have a more powerful tool and you can send it in an e-mail to your consultant, accountant, or yourself to work on at home.

Here is how you do it . . .

Go to the Office Manager > Maintenance > Fee Schedule Maintenance > then highlight the fee schedule you want to export (you can select multiple by holding your CTRL key), then click on Export, save it to the location of choice, and click OK. We just saved it to the desktop. Then double-click on the file and it automatically launches MS Excel (assuming you have it installed).

Hopefully I just saved you a bajillion amount of hours J


Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Analyzing your new patient numbers

Numbers tell a story . . . they are black and white without emotion.  However, the numbers we see are sometimes only as accurate as what we put into our practice management software.  If you have been reading my blog for a while you have noticed that I am a stickler on numbers and I teach my offices how to make the numbers as accurate as possible.

Starting fresh in a New Year we all have New Year’s Resolutions that we want to achieve in both our professional and personal lives.  We start off strong for the first few weeks like the rivers in the spring and then slowly it trickles down to a stream as we get closer to the end of summer.  If you are watching your numbers on a daily basis you can keep the motivation going consistently throughout the year.

There is one number, however that can be misread on a report if it is not entered correctly.  I found the other day while I was reviewing the Practice Advisor Report that this office had 29 new patients recorded for December but only 7 referral sources.  So one thing that I stressed to the office was to make sure they are entering in how the patient found the office so the doctor can see how some of the marketing campaigns are going.  She was insistent that she enters this information every time and low and behold when we looked at the New Patient List there was a referral source entered for all the new patients.  But why was the Practice Advisor Report not reporting this . . . ? 

The first visit date MUST match the referral source date.

Dentrix considers a new patient based on the first visit date found on the Family File.  This date is automatically populated when a team member opens the account.  What can happen is that the team member opens the account a couple days before the new patient appointment date and then when the patient comes in for their visit they add the referral source after reviewing the paperwork.  This is a typical scenario and can be corrected.  When you are updating the Family File with all the demographics, insurance info and personal notes, add it to your list to double check the first visit date and the referral source date and make sure they are accurate and match. 

One easy way to double check your statistics is to review the Daily Huddle Report each morning.  This will calculate how many new patients you have on your schedule for today and how many referral sources are attached to your new patients.   If this number is incorrect for today it is a “red flag” that something needs to be fixed.  If you fix it on a daily basis then the Practice Advisor Report at the end of the month will be as accurate as it can be.

For other articles on the Daily Huddle and the Practice Advisor click below . . .

Monday, January 11, 2016

New Year . . . New Codes

Every year the ADA updates codes, removes old codes and adds new codes to the CDT code set.  Watch this video put out by Henry Schein so you can successfully update your Dentrix software.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Do your patients have new insurance benefits for 2016? Help them navigate it and build their trust.

I don’t know about you, but my insurance benefits changed this year … and if I was a patient in your practice, I sure could use a little help figuring it all out. This time of year, many of your patients will be walking in with new benefits. Sometimes they have a card from the insurance company … and sometimes they don’t. Now I am not asking you to take on the role of benefit coordinator for your patients, but many of your patients will need a little guidance. This is one area where you can exceed the level of customer service between your office and the office down the street.

In many cases, I don’t believe your patients want you to manage the benefits for them. They just need a little information so they know the right place to go and who to contact if they have questions. With many of the electronic services available to the dental practice, you can access benefit information much quicker than the patient can and you are much more knowledgeable on what to look for than the average dental patient.

I believe having a conversation with your patients and helping them navigate their plan is a great way to build trust and loyalty with your patients rather than building a wall between you and your patient. When I was working in practice, there were many times the insurance company would say things to our patients that simply weren’t true. If you can provide your patients with information before the insurance agents get to them, you are much better off being pro-active than re-active.

Many patients believe that if your office is “Out of Network,” they cannot be patients at your office. However, in many situations, this is simply not the case. Letting patients know that you can work with their plan (even if it is an out of network plan) might be the difference between them scheduling with you or calling someone else.

I realize that checking benefits can be time-consuming so try and use the online resources available to you. Many insurance carriers have online portals that you can log into and check patient benefits. I would recommend printing a copy of the benefit summary for your patients and letting them know that this is the information you receive from their insurance plan and is what you will use to estimate their out of pocket expenses. Giving the patient a printout of exactly what you see is a great way to not only inform your patients, but also build trust with him or her.

Another way you can check benefits directly from your Dentrix software is to use the Insurance Eligibility through eCentral. This feature is in real time and often provides quicker access to a more comprehensive benefit breakdown. The benefit breakdown you receive from eCentral Insurance Eligibility can also be printed for the patient and also sent to the Dentrix Document Center for future reference. I used this feature in my office and it saved me a ton of time being on the phone and logging into multiple insurance company portals throughout the day. CLICK HERE if you want more information about eCentral Insurance Eligibility.

I am looking forward to an amazing 2016 and I hope you are as well.