Insights from our Academy of Dental Management Consultants Annual Meeting

We have just returned from a fabulous educational meeting and networking session in Las Vegas,  with the prestigious Academy of Dental Management Consultants. Day one was our members only meeting and we learned the latest from a compliance panel on OSHA, HIPAA, Risk Management and HR. Presentations from members on a variety of topics.  1. Improve scheduling with the use of Onset, a patented delivery system for immediate anesthesia by Onpharma. 2. Using dental retail products to create profit centers in your practice. 3. Improve insurance reimbursement through Practice Booster. 4. Technology updates, which apps can simplify your life. 5. Training techniques to improve learning. 6. Social media and it’s importance in marketing our businesses. Day two was an inspirational keynote presentation by Bill Rancic, from season one of Donald Trump’s, The Apprentice. He spoke  on entrepreneurship and the importance of being the conductor of the orchestra, you do not need to know how to do everything yourself. Surround yourself with excellent people who are decisive, creative and never make excuses.  Then, trust them to do a good job! The world has changed, and we must change with it!

There were great receptions for lots of networking and tours of LVI and Zappo’s headquarters.  A very busy and educational few days! We even got a picture with Elvis!

Raising your Fees

Many Doctors have hesitated to raise their fees. Whether it was fear that lower priced competitors would take their potential patients or that they “could not raise fees in this economy”, fees have remained the same since 2009 for many practices. Other practices feel they should “maintain the status quo” because they will only take a bigger write off from an insurance plan.  Some doctors have gone so far as to  “negotiate” a lower fee with some patients, thinking that if they could get this patient and the case, it would fill the book. Somewhere in this belief is the idea that more patients will offset lower fees, and will lead to higher profitability.

We look at profitability numbers each month with our clients. Our busiest practices are not the most profitable, and the practices that do the most large fee cases are not as profitable either. Why is that? In a word, overhead. The more patients you see, the higher your overhead. The more large cases you do, the greater the likelihood of not pricing the case right for the amount of time it takes and more likelihood there is of providing one or more of those crowns in a multiple unit case, for only the lab fee.

Overhead has not stopped increasing because of the economy.  You and your team would like raises, the lab wants to be paid, supplies are costing more – you cannot not raise your fees.  We recommend raising fees on an annual basis.  Many teams struggle with raising fees because of the anticipated reaction from patients. We hope you are subscribed to Words Matter for some suggestions on how to handle this challenging topic.

Raising your fees is one of the best steps you can take to improve profitability.  The chart below shows the relationship between a specified percentage fee increase and the effect this increase will have on profitability.

% Fee Increase


































When is your next fee increase?


What can be shared on email with patients?

The following question was posted to the Academy of Dental Practice Management Consultants which Linda and I belong to. I thought you would all want to know the answer.

How specific can email to patient be reminding them about treatment? Can you mention specific treatment needs or only make a general statement to contact the office? Is this covered under HIPAA?

The answer below is from:  Linda Harvey, MS, LHRM, DFASHRM •

Email is a great source of confusion for everyone.
HIPAA requires that patient info must be kept secure. Regular email transmission which includes responding to email received from patients is not secure.
That being said, there are several options:
1) use a secure portal such as eDossea or subscribe to a service thru Eaglesoft or Dentrix (I believe they both offer such a service).
2) use an email encryption service (there are free ones)
3) implement an office policy that limits what you are allowed to email to patients such as appointment confirmation. I just met the Practice Administrator who said they have a strict policy against emailing patients or responding to patient emails.
4) get the patient’s permission to communicate via unencrypted email. This is an important piece of information one can gather on the Acknowledgement Form new patients sign. BUT, I would still limit the type of information emailed.

Referring back to your question about treatment, I would not mention specific treatment in an email. For example, an email reminder that the pt has unused benefits would be better than saying “are you ready to schedule for those extractions and implants.”

HIPAA is quite serious about enforcing the regulations; plus the random audits are in full force. Have already met one dental Business Associate that was audited. I just got back from Tampa working with a doctor whose staff gave a patient the wrong records on a CD…patient then complained to the Office of Civil Rights. They are now under investigation and have a narrow window to correct and reply to the complaint.

Linda Harvey is a great source of information regarding risk management and being HIPAA compliant.  If anyone needs a speaker for a study club she would be fabulous! Her website is:

Happy Valentine’s Day to all!

Onset – a new anesthetic

On Thurs. February 24, Onset, a revolutionary new buffering system for anesthetic, makes its official ‘debut’ at Booth 4860 (OnPharma) at the Chicago Midwinter Meeting. Onset greatly minimizes the potential for a painful injection, and it allows you to begin treatment immediately. This can help with practice efficiency and gives a story for patients to tell their friends and family. Check it out if you are at the MidWinter Meeting. While there, visit MOSAIC at Booth — 1537, we look forward to seeing you!!

Dentists exempt from Red Flag Rule

Dentists exempt from Red Flags Rule
ADA is pleased to announce that dentists will be exempt from the Federal Trade Commission’s Red Flags Rule that goes into effect Jan. 1, 2011.
President Obama signed into law the Red Flag Program Clarification Act of 2010, which clarifies and narrows the definition of a “creditor” and thereby excludes dentists and other small businesses.

A suggestion from a dentist regarding computer back-up

I suggest dentists schedule a computer crash simulation on a regular basis (say every 2 months.) Much like monthly or quarterly staff meetings, it is important to know that one’s backup is in fact working and that another machine has the necessary hardware/software to run as the server and that someone in the office knows how to restore the program from the backup.

My office did this some months ago and had to call our support people to help out. It went smoothly (done on a non-patient care day). When I asked the support team if anyone had ever done a crash simulation before they said, “NO, Usually, we just get the panic calls and then have to sort it all out.

Have any of you done this recently?

Can baby teeth save lives?

Can baby teeth save lives?
Stem cells from baby teeth cryogenically stored could cure serious diseases.
by Pam Johnson

Have any of your patients ever told you or your staff about one of their young children suffering from a chronic or even debilitating disease? Up until now most dentists and practice staff could only listen, empathize, and perhaps suggest a doctor they knew or a new treatment they had read about. Continue reading “Can baby teeth save lives?”