The Practice Support Team (PST) provides coaching, resources, and analysis for our valued Burkhart clients. It’s Burkhart’s way of saying “thank you” to our clients while meeting our mission to provide an exceptional client experience.
Our most frequent requests in 2023 have shifted as inflation continues to challenge the dental industry, clinical staffing shortages linger, insurance reimbursements stagnate, and practice overhead is at a record high. Read on for our top FAQs so far this year:
I’m considering dropping some of my PPO contracts; what processes and tips do you suggest?
Evaluate your contracts to determine the weighted average write-off — you will need to reference your procedure code report for this task. Next, determine the number of patients on each plan, and if there are multiple pathways patients can enter your practice through the same plan. If you are in network share arrangements or third-party administrator plans (such as Dentemax) this can happen. It won’t help to drop a contract if those same patients move to a different fee schedule. Once you have the complete picture, you can determine if dropping a plan is right for you. PST can provide patient retention resources.
How can I reduce my practice overhead and keep my profit margin healthy?
Profit margins have eroded in 2023, but practices can control this with proper systems in place. You may need to incorporate a more efficient schedule, especially in the hygiene department as wages increase. Consider a limited, targeted assisted hygiene schedule. You can find a variety of hygiene schedules, with pros/cons, on our website. Maximize your insurance reimbursements with proper coding, increase new patients, and manage your insurance exposure.
How can I build a more profitable and efficient schedule?
Effective scheduling balances the patient flow while meeting daily production goals. Determine your daily goals and plan to meet 80% of your restorative production goal in the morning. Reserve time for larger cases (2-hour restorative blocks), SRP, new patients, and emergencies. The number of large case blocks you need is determined by your historical data and current goals. For example, if the doctor completed 192 crowns last year and schedules 2 hours per crown, you need one 2-hour block per day to support their crown diagnosis. Your schedule will be unique to your practice and reflect the doctor’s philosophy of care, production goals, and time needed per procedure.
Does increasing my fees make a difference if I mainly see insurance-contracted patients?
You may think that you can’t realize these profits due to your participation in managed care plans, but there are many advantages to maintaining a healthy fee schedule. There are private pay and out-of-network patients, and with 64% of the population consisting of dual-income families, this leads to dual-coverage opportunities. Well-positioned fees fuel your negotiating power with managed care and raise the fee profile of your area, this increases the chances of higher reimbursements in the future. Lastly, healthy fees make your practice more attractive during transitions.
How can we reduce last-minute no-shows in our hygiene schedule?
Be selective when you preschedule hygiene patients. Don’t preschedule those that have a history of not showing up. Actively build a short call list. Implement a robust confirmation system. Have a clear cancellation policy that requires 48 hours notice. Implement scripting when patients call to cancel. If these systems are already in place, it may be a value proposition challenge. The hygienist must go beyond, “see you in 6 months,” and incorporate specific, patient-focused reasons to return. “I’m looking forward to seeing you in 4 months. I will check the area on the lower right that is showing signs of inflammation today, and if it is still present, we will talk about the next steps at that time.” Feel the difference?
What type of practice management support is offered by the Practice Support Team, and is it really free?
This is a frequent question! We have complimentary resources, including a fee list for your zip code, available to all Burkhart clients. We offer enhanced (yes, free!) analyses and one on one calls with our coaches for our Supply Savings Guarantee and Platinum clients as a value add for choosing Burkhart. Review the checklist to see what we offer, talk to your Burkhart account manager to determine the support you have access to, and we’ll help you navigate to needed resources.
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