The Practice Support Team tracks trends in data collected from practices throughout the year.
In 2018, we learned average office fees continue to be low, in the 52nd percentile for their respective zip code. Inflation, as measured by the CPI (Consumer Price Index) increased by 2.4% in 2018. Chances are your overhead has also increased. In light of this, Practice Booster and McGill Advisory both recommended an annual fee increase of 4% for 2019.
While inflation increased at a rate of 2.4% in 2018, there are other economic challenges expected in 2019 to necessitate a 4% increase:
- Inflation is expected to rise at a higher rate in 2019.
- Record low unemployment rates will contribute to a tight job market. Dental practice owners may need to offer more competitive compensation packages to recruit and retain top talent.
- Added competition among dental practices will dictate the need to enhance marketing efforts and spend.
Realize an Immediate and Substantial Impact!
Let’s run through the math to fully understand the impact of moving your fees to a healthy percentile. Keep in mind, if you are not currently in the 80th percentile, your overhead will appear higher than the accepted healthy range as well. The higher your fees, the lower your percentage of overhead will be relative to your total collections. A change from the 60th to the 80th percentile may mean only a small difference to the patient. However, when you multiply the frequency of each code used in your practice, you will quickly see the potential impact even a small increase can have.
Now, what would happen if ALL your fees were optimized AND increased each year?
Take a look at the long-term impact of this small change*:
These incremental increases, along with the power of compounding have a tremendous impact on your practice profitability—9 million dollars over 30 years if you commit to an annual 3% increase.
Your thoughts may naturally go to the idea that you can’t realize these profits due to your participation with managed care plans. Banish those thoughts with this positive perspective:
- You have private pay patients in your practice (conservatively 20%).
- You have out of network patients.
- 87% of the population consist of dual income families, leading to more dual-coverage opportunities (prb.org).
- Well positioned fees fuel your negotiating power with managed care companies.
- Annual increases will raise the fee profile of your area, increasing the chances of higher reimbursements in the future.
- Healthy fees make your practice more attractive during transitions.
Plan to adjust your fees now. Burkhart’s Practice Support Team welcomes the opportunity to support your healthy business in 2019 and beyond. We are committed to your practice’s business success.
Category: Practice ConsultingBack to Articles