Dental Consulting

What the Runner’s Law Really Means

Can I reward patients for referrals?
Can we have contests or give aways for patient’s who refer?
Can we Reward staff for referring or asking for referrals?

The answer is…
NONo- Yes thumbs
According to the Runner Law:

A health care provider shall not financially compensate in any manner a person, firm, or corporation for recommending or securing the health care provider’s employment by a patient, or as a reward for having made a recommendation resulting in the health care provider’s employment by a patient or health care provider.

The good news is that most patients will not refer people to you because you will reward them, they refer people to you because you went above and beyond their expectations. Like a bank account you need to make a deposit, service with a smile, to make a withdrawal, a referral.

Instead of looking for a reward system for the referral, focus on customer service and WOWing the patient.

Here’s a few easy things you can do to go above and beyond:

• Include a full size tube of toothpaste in goodie bag.
• Put a fun treat in the goodie bag when they’re leaving, like candy or gift card.
• Offer an extra goodie bag from your office to pass along to a friend.
• Have the doctor make personal care calls after hours to check in on patients.
• Serve refreshments in the reception area.
• Show the staff and office activities on digital frames or TVs that allow patients to connect with the team they are going to be interacting with.
• Create a Dental App to make it easy to connect with your office and refer.
• Have an after hours cell phone to take calls.
• Give them a sports drink bottle or mug with the office logo.
The biggest reasons patients do not refer is they are never asked. If the patient compliments you, or when they’re walking out, simply say, “We really appreciate you choosing us as your dental care provider, we know you have many choices. Here are a few of our cards to give to any of your friends or family you feel we can care for.” Invite them to post about the visit on social media or review you on websites like Yelp or Google. The best form of marketing is to simply ask.

Promotions and give aways will never have an impact if you do not have the right staff with the right stuff when it comes to customer service and care.

Remember, it costs you nothing to have a smiling, friendly, polite and attentive staff. But it will cost you everything if you do not.

You need to treat every patient like they are your only patient, or they will be.

Kelly Schwartz
Below is a copy of the Runners Law:

G.S 90-401. Referral fees and payment for certain solicitations for prohibited.
A health care provider shall not financially compensate in any manner a person, firm, or corporation for recommending or securing the health care provider’s employment by a patient, or as a reward for having made a recommendation resulting in the health care provider’s employment by a patient. No health care provider to another health care provider shall receive financial or other compensation from the health care provider receiving the payment solely primarily for the referral. This section shall not be constructed to prohibit a health care provider’s purchase of advertising which does not entail direct personal contact or telephone contact of a potential patient. (1991 (Reg. Sess., 1992). c.858,s. 1: 1993 (Reg. Sess., 1994), c. 689, s. 2.)

“Runner” means a person who, for a pecuniary benefit, procures or attempts to procure a client, patient or customer at the direction of, request of or in cooperation with a provider whose purpose is to seek to obtain benefits under a contract of insurance or assert a claim against an insured or an insurance carrier for providing services to the client, patient or customer. ‘Runner” shall not include a person who procures or attempts to procure clients, patients or customers for a provider through public media or a person who refers clients, patients or customers to a provider as otherwise authorized by law.
b. A person is guilty of a crime of the third degree if that person knowingly acts as a runner or uses, solicits, directs, hires or employs another to act as a runner.

Ramp Up for Year End

Its hard to believe that fall is upon us, kids are back to school and the start of another year is just around the corner. Here in Charlotte it still feels like summer with temperatures in the 90’s during the day and our pool is still warm and in use. (Sorry to tease my Northern clients that are about to get your butts kicked with the cold and snow… in October)

Schwartz Consulting Group Year End Ramp UpNow is the time to have your game plan in effect to boost your fall and early winter schedule.

A quick and effective way to do so is the un-used benefits letter. Many patients are not aware that if they do not use their insurance benefits they lose them.

Timing of the letter is important, if you send out the letter too late patients may get frustrated that they can’t get an appointment due to the busy rush of your year end schedule, holidays and vacations.

Send these letters out no later than mid October with a clear call to action for the patient to call NOW to schedule their appointment by the end of November or early December. Yes, you will have stragglers who will not listen and call December 29th wanting in before the end of the year, but this campaign will reduce that.

The first part of the year typically has a higher case acceptance rate due to many patients having insurance availability during the first Prophy of the year. For any patients that delayed having treatment before, consider including a intra oral camera photo of the tooth or teeth needing treatment with the un-used benefits letter to remind them of treatment still needed.

You should also consider a segmented marketing approach. Send the un-used benefits letter to those patients needing bigger procedures, like Crown and Bridge, first. Block extra time in your fall schedule to accomodate these appointments. A week later, send your letter to all your other patients needing work and begin filling in your schedule.

As a follow up to the letter, train your staff to make calls during their down time. Provide them with a script that is patient focused and emphasizes how booking now ensures that they are getting the most out of the dental insurance they have already paid for.

If you do not have an un-used benefits letter, or want to see if your letter hits the mark, just reply to this email and we will be happy to send you a free copy of our un-used benefits letter, or help you improve the letter you are currently using.

Schwartz Consulting Group on Motivating Your Team

Today I want to talk a little bit about having some fun and motivating your staff to increase productivity and profitability.

Offices typically fall into three categories. There are offices that know they’re winning, offices that know they’re losing, and offices that don’t know the score. In my professional opinion the worst-case scenario is not knowing the score.

If you’re losing you can at least develop a game plan to get ahead. If you’re winning you can stay on that track and keep trying to improve. But, if you don’t know the score you will be lost and heading in the wrong direction.

We’re going to talk about dental practice management, scheduling and how introducing a fun grab bag can motivate your staff to set production goals and strive to reach them, so that each day you team knows which direction they’re headed.

Schwartz Consulting Group tips. Contact us today

Schwartz Consulting Group on The Importance of a Great Sign

Landmark signs in Hollywood Hills, Las Vegas, Key West, and Walt Disney are designed, to capture attention and leave a lasting impression. A key part of dental practice management is understanding the need for  a great powerful or bold sign. The reason is that there are a lot of signs out there, most are easily and quickly forgotten. Signs forgotten are a waste of money but every now and then you’ll see a sign that grabs your attention. That’s the ticket customers are looking for.

See what we can do to increase your business flow.

Schwartz Consulting Group tips. Contact us today

Dental Practice Management – What Makes You Different?

A key part of dental practice management is standing out from the crowd. Learn what to do today to increase your profits tomorrow.

Do I Need More Patients?

In the last two months of evaluating practices, I have confirmed there is a recurring perception many dentists have…
“We need more new patients.”

Although this may be true, time after time it’s more about the retention of existing patients that makes the doctor feel there are Patient Retention for Dental Officesvoids in the schedule and they can’t make goal’s.

Here are three things you need to know before investing heavily on a new patient marketing campaign.

1. How many active patients do you really have? I define active as a patient with two or more visits in the past 18 months, and one of those visits is at least a prophy.

2. How many total (different) patients do I have? These are patients that have been seen at least twice in the past two years?

3. How full is my Hygiene Department? Determine this by asking:

• When can a new patient get in for a cleaning?

• Without any cancellations or no-shows, are we booked 2, 3 or 4 weeks out with less than 2 hygiene openings?

Let’s focus on your Hygiene Department. You should be able to accommodate a new patient within 8 working days with a first or last appointment of the day. These are the most desired times by what I call, the Working Patient. The working patient have day jobs that restrict them to specific schedules. They typically have money to spend, insurance, and are highly motivated to get in. If you can’t get them on the schedule quickly, you run the risk of losing them for good.

These aren’t the only times you see new patients, but they’re the most requested ones. I recommend blocking some of these times on your schedule just for this purpose. You can always release these blocks if they’re not filled within 2 to 3 days.

Do you have enough Hygiene appointments available to maximize your potential? A Hygienist working 8 hours a day, 16 days per month, has 768 one-hour appointments open. As a rule, you should have 1 full time Hygienist for every 1,000 patients. This gives you a 20% overage to fill in cancellation and no-shows. (2000 patient = 2 full time hygienists)

Something what is easily overlooked is the impact of the patients that only come in annually for their cleanings. 500 patients missing 1 cleaning per year, at $150.00 per visit is a $75,000 yearly loss to your Hygiene Department, not to mention the additional work that may have been found during exams.

So, how do you head off any retention problems?

By building a strong recall program and holding your staff accountable. First, assign a Recall Manager responsible for the results. Implement the blocks in your Hygiene schedule to accommodate your desired new patient flow: 30 blocks = 30 new patients.SCG Patient Retention Establish a set combination of calls, cards, emails and messages as touch points with patients. Set goals and measure the efforts of the team.

A Doctor working 16 days per month with 2000 patients should have 2 full time Hygienists working 16 days each. This will support 1536 appointments, and allow for new patients and overflow to keep your Hygiene Department productive.

If your numbers aren’t adding up to maximize your Hygiene Department, you may need to launch a marketing campaign to attract new patients. If you have 500 or more over due patients, you may look to hire an associate.

If you’re not sure if you are maximizing the hygiene potential in your practice, or what steps to take next, we can help. Give us a call or send us an email.

Dental Office Management Plan

Dental Office Management Plan

Do you have a dental office RX plan? This is not a patient treatment plan; this is a plan that helps you to keep your practice healthy.

Doctors utilize tools such as X-rays, Periodontal Charting, Oral Cancer Exams and Intra Oral Camera Pictures to inspect every tooth in order to check for existing issues and help prevent any problems for their patients. Your practice deserves the same thorough and preventative measures.

Why You Need A Dental Office Management Team Building

Here are five areas you should examine to determine the health of your practice:

1. What is the overall attitude of your team?
a. Does your team encourage growth?
b. Does your team hold customer service in high regard?

2. What is the overall appearance of the practice?
a. what is the image?
b. Clean and free from clutter?
c. Does it make people comfortable and want to come back?
3. Evaluate your practice’s systems-
a. Is your recall system effective?
b. Are delayed treatment plans being worked?
c. Are all financial arrangements in place?
d. Are scheduling protocols being followed?
e. Is your team’s patient communication and dialogue effective?
f. Are goals being set and understood by your team?
g. Do you have a cancellation and no-show protocol in place and is it being followed?

4. Is your morning huddle effective? (Your team should start the day with a cohesive plan!)

5. Are you marketing your practice?
a. Is everyone on the team asking for the referrals you want from patients on a daily basis?

Leading Your Dental Office Management Team

Keeping your practice healthy is hard work. It may require more than just one meeting to fix and may even require a specialist or coach. Make sure you set up dedicated training times to address any issues within the practice. Are you inspecting what you are expecting? Are you feeling like a patient, overwhelmed with what it takes to stay healthy? If you feel your office needs a second opinion or a treatment plan, do not hesitate to contact me. In future blogs I will begin breaking down each topic in smaller easier-to-apply treatment plans. E-mail me any comments or suggestions you may have about what you would like to see here, or to discuss setting up an appointment. Be sure to check back often!

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