Episode #258: Actual Data from a Dental Practice that Has Successfully Dropped PPO Plans
Elevating the relationship-driven element of your practice helps you become a practice with quality patients who now have a connection with you because they know, like, and trust you for the care you provide to them. You may already have a good relationship with your patients but there’s always room for improvement and Gary explains how you can elevate the relationship-driven element in this episode.
Naren: This is the less insurance dependence podcast show with my good friend Gary takas and myself Naren Arulrajah.
Gary: We appreciate your listenership your time and most of all, we appreciate your intention to reduce insurance dependence in your practice. Our goal is to provide information that will help you successfully reduce insurance dependence and convert your practice into a thriving and profitable dental practice that provides you with personal professional and financial satisfaction.
Gary: welcome to another episode of the less insurance dependence podcast I’m Gary Tackas, your podcast co-host along with my great friend Naren Arulrajah. Hey Naren how are you?
Naren: I’m doing great Gary, it’s a great day when we’re recording this.
Gary: I always look forward to our recording days those are some of my favourite days in my workflow and always look forward to it when i know we’re recording a less insurance dependence podcast. Hey we have a good one for our listening audience. We’re going to talk about step number five to successfully resign from PPO plans. If you’re a regular listener to less insurance dependence podcast, you know that we are doing a six-part series about the six steps to successfully resign from PPO plans. If you’re joining us mid-stream or you’re new to the less insurance dependence podcast, just know that you can go back and download every single episode. You can do that on iTunes you can do that on google play you can do that on Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts, you can download them from our website less insurance dependence dot com, but in any case today we’re going to talk about step number five to successfully resign from PPO plans. Before I do that though i just want to make a suggestion. You will know that in order to successfully resign from PPO plans, you have to master marketing. That’s our second step and the reason you have to master marketing is because while you’re in PPO plans you are dependent on the PPO plans to provide your patience and you are paying dearly for it dearly, dearly. As you’ve heard me talk about that and Naren, talk about that hundreds likely hundreds of thousands of dollars a year and if you are following along you know that we like to think about that money that those adjustments the difference between your usual fee and your contracted fee as a marketing expense because you’re paying the insurance companies to provide your patience. There is a better way a much better way and so what I just wanted to provide is announcement at the beginning of this episode, hey if you want to get on the path to reduce insurance dependency you’ve got to master marketing. I’d encourage you to follow my lead. Do what i do in my own life smiles practice. We see about somewhere between 80 and 90 new patients a month and I spend about 1.6 of my revenue on marketing. I want you to do the same thing because the economics are so much more favourable. Jump on my shoulders do what we do. I use EKWA I’m a paying client of EKWA digital marketing the marketing agency outside of Toronto and they do a brilliant job of providing us quality new patients each and every month at a very affordable cost. I’ll put a link in the show notes to for you to schedule a marketing strategy meeting. You’ll schedule that with Lila stone. Lila is the marketing director for EKWA and she will spend some time with you on a zoom meeting, share with you what’s working with your marketing she’ll share with you some analytics from google that likely you don’t know and it’ll be useful for you to know and she’ll show you how you can make some changes to get the kind of results that we get in our practice. So we’ll put that in the in the show notes and I’d encourage you to take advantage of that. Normally EKWA charges for that meeting there’s a 900-dollar fee to do that marketing strategy session however as courtesy for you being a listener to the less insurance dependence podcast, they will waive that fee there’ll be no charge for that. So, you get some benefits of being a listener. Now with that announcement made let’s dive right in to this topic. Step number five to successfully resign from PPO plans which is to elevate the relationship driven element of your practice and guys I want to be very clear about how important this is. Of all the different steps I could make an argument that each one is most important. For example, step number one know your data so we have to know our data as we develop our plan number two master marketing, we just talked about it you have to get quality new patients to successfully resign from PPO plans and we also want to attract patients who choose you for reasons other than you’re on their insurance. That makes a massive difference in the quality of your practice life. Step number three you got to get your team fully on board. You can’t do this by yourself doc. You’ve got to get the team on board and you want a unified message coming out from not only yourself and your office manager but from each and every team member. Patients don’t discriminate who they ask questions to. They’ll likely ask questions to whoever happens to be next to them and so you want your entire team singing the same song as they talk to your patients. Step number four, it’s a tactical step, you want to create and successfully promote an in-office membership plan. The in-office membership plan is your secret weapon to attract people in your community who don’t have insurance, who don’t it’s the way to figuratively roll the red carpet out and invite people from your community who don’t have insurance which is a growing number of people. In fact, significantly growing number of people. You want to give them an invite to join you and you want to you want to be able to say to hey we understand we’re family people we understand budgets. We wanted to do something very special to the wonderful people in our community who don’t have dental insurance. Let me tell you about our in-office membership plan and then now we’re on step number five elevate the relationship driven element of your practice. While I could argue that each one is most important Naren I might just put the vote on number five
Naren: I have to agree with you on that Gary. I mean if there’s one thing I picked up in the last several years working closely with you and working with your clients is relationship, relationship, relationship. That’s like the number one reason why people choose up practice especially as opposed to a corporate dentistry or corporate environment. The reason they go to a practice like the ones that we who are part of our community is because they know the dentist, they know the team they feel like these people care about them they feel like they have a connection they feel like they’re taking care of people who are their friends or who are kind of like an extended family.
Gary: They know like and trust
Gary: they’re they the patients go to a dental office because they’re being taken care of by people who they know like and trust
Gary: and that is such a key to this because if they know like and trust you one of the goals that we do when we go out of network is to retain as many of our existing patients as possible and what we’re seeing today in my coaching work, we’re working with clients all over the country and one of the projects we’re working with them on is to successfully resign from PPO plans and what we’re seeing with our clients is that they are keeping 85 to 90 percent of their existing patients 85 to 90 percent. They’re keeping them, once they go out of network these patients are making a conscious decision and voting with their feet and saying I’m not going anywhere else, I don’t want to go anywhere else, and really what allows that thought process to happen in the mind of the patient is to when they know like and trust you. They say I don’t want to take my chances and go somewhere else, who knows what I’m going to get over there and I’m not saying that to be disparaging about other offices but dentistry is a very personal service, very personal, very intimate if you will because of the nature of the mouth and feelings of pain and feelings of trust, you don’t just let anyone in your mouth you want to be taken care of by providers who you know like and trust and there’s a lot of people that just wouldn’t want to roll the dice and take a chance and go somewhere else when what they have they love and I chose that word Naren they don’t just like it it’s just okay
Gary: yeah my office is okay no they love it because of the experience that they have, it’s your secret sauce and no one can do it like you and what I want to say in regards to that is as good as you are or as good as you feel you are right now there’s room for improvement. Naren how can i say that why can i say that so confident i could say that’s so confident because what i just said is true of my own practice
Gary: I’d like to think that we are rock stars at Delivering
Naren: I think you are rock stars if anybody is interested just google life smiles dental care and there’s like 650 reviews all five stars, all what i call them
Gary: Well, that would certainly be evidence if you will
Gary: but you know what Naren, I’m going to be tough on myself I’m going to be tough on Paul and Tim and my team and myself as good as we are can, we be better
Naren: absolutely I mean yes, I mean to be honest rock stars are the ones who are working the hardest and that’s why that rock stars
Gary: hey the rock stars are only as good as their last their last album their last performance
Naren: Exactly, Exactly, Exactly.
Gary: and I’d like you to think in your own practice put yourself in that maybe let’s use sports for just a minute
Gary: hey you’re only as good as your last game there’s a next game you and you can’t rest on your laurels you got to get better and so how can we get better how can we even get better so one of the things I would encourage you to do to make this actionable doctors have a team meeting and it this can be kind of fun not a heavy, heavy training session it’s kind of a fun team meeting and just brainstorm and brainstorm with your team and say what are some ideas that we could incorporate in our practice to elevate the relationship driven aspect of our practice what else can we do what else can we do and the way we the way I like to work brainstorming is, it’s literally a stream of consciousness thoughts, it might be totally unrealistic, it might be totally impractical but write them down and maybe that impractical suggestion will lead you to something that is practical and will kind of allow you to a stretch and grow and consider. I remember doing this for a client one time and one of the assistants says it was kind of quiet at first while people were thinking about one of the assistants this was in the northwest where it rains a lot and she said yeah I don’t know it’s probably a silly idea I mean that’s probably not nothing we’re talking about it’s what is it what’s your idea she said well I noticed that a lot of our patients show up and they’re wet because it’s raining outside and they got wet going from their car into our office and they didn’t bring an umbrella what if we bought some umbrellas and what if we put them in an umbrella stand in the reception room and we said hey take an umbrella with you next time you come in just bring it back and my eyes lit up and to me we said oh we probably couldn’t do that I said why not how much does an umbrella cost.
Gary: right and now by the way what if you got the umbrella that had your practice name on it
Naren; you’re walking around with your name on it
Gary: around dry everyone else is getting soaked and there’s your, I mean that was a great idea, a great idea and it’s things like that that we can look at elevating the relationship driven
Naren: have fun with it right like it’s not shouldn’t become burden it should be like having fun
Gary: well think let’s extend that a minute,
Gary: I mean you don’t give an umbrella to a stranger.
Gary: what do we give an umbrella?
Naren: to someone we care about someone we
Gary: hey Linda I care I don’t care about you your hair looks beautiful today I don’t want I don’t want you to see it get wet take the umbrella. I mean it’s simple but it’s those kind of ideas that we can brainstorm around and if you’re not already doctor, if you’re not already communicating with patients, sometime in the evening on any patient that got a shot in your practice today, if you’re not communicating with them, with a quick outreach, we’re doing those by text now we used to call it the we care call because in days gone by, we use to make those by phone, and we would leave them a message, 90 percent of the calls went to voice mail. So, doctor Paul doctor Time would make a call something like this. Hey Naren, it’s Doctor Paul your dentist and I always like to contact my patients on the evening of treatment I was just calling you to see how well you’re doing listen no need to return my call I just wanted to reach out to you. By the way you mentioned today that your daughter has had a job interview today. I hope her job interview went really well hey i’ll see you in your next visit. Well, we’re doing the same thing now and we’re doing it by text. If you’re not already doing that that’s another way you can elevate your relationship driven aspect to your practice. Another thing you can do is you can really double down on having somewhere in your practice for you and your team members to put information that you learn about your patients. Let me tell you what I notice Naren. Well, the road to mediocrity is paved with good intentions.
Gary: have you ever heard that saying Naren
Naren: 100 percent Gary
Gary: the road to mediocrity is paid with good intentions and I’ve seen many practices talk about this and then the only person that puts information in is the dentist so the dentist between patients will put in for maybe the spouse’s name the kids names the dog’s name hobbies interest important dates in their life but what if we have the entire team have their antenna out listening and learning about our patient and then team members put information to learn in this depository, in this area in your software that is a treasure chest of information about your patients. So double down on that and how do we talk to team members about doing something that we’ve asked them to do before and they haven’t done it? Just tell the truth
Gary: hey guys and you can do it you can do it in a strong but gentle way does that make sense can you be strong and gentle at the same time I think you can
Naren: absolutely Gary
Gary: we’ve talked we’ve talked about this before I’m using the doctor’s voice we’ve talked about this before but I know man so much information comes at us that it’s easy to get distracted by something else but I really want us to be serious about entering information right here in our computer software whenever any of us learns anything about a patient can we agree as a group that hey we’ve kind of stubbed our toe in the past look at the entries are the only ones that make an entry is me. I need your help, I need your help
Gaery: and then can we recommit to that and then and then the next day if someone’s done it bring it up in the morning huddle and praise him right hey Linda looks at this, I saw the notes and I saw this thank you thank you thank you
Naren: right, that’s brilliant so you are reinforcing that behaviour and then then after a while it becomes automatic, it’s something that they do as part of their role.
Gary: yeah, but all of us as good as you are with relationship driven it better it’s one of the better go ahead Naren
Naren: One of the tips I learned from you Gary is in the morning huddle you kind of like you run through what you’re going to do with each patient. So, let’s say somebody’s getting married or so you kind of talk about some of these conversations you’re going to have. So, everybody’s mind is
Gary: they actually pull up that notes fin and Paul and Tim and the team review it very quickly it’s just a quick review and then when they go in to do the hygiene exams there’s full, they’re fully prepared to do that. Another tip I have is this may or may not apply to you but a suspect it might. Sometimes the self-talk that we do with ourselves is horrible. We say things to ourselves about ourselves that we would never say to someone else. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard a dentist say i have bad memory themselves about themselves. Okay I just I have a bad number and guess what it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Quit telling yourself you have a bad memory and hey if you actually do if you find yourself challenged fix it
Gary: and by the way I’m going to say i actually don’t know that if you at a very core level I don’t know any dentists that have a genetic failure of having a bad memory because they wouldn’t be a dentist
Gary: Seriously think about chem chemistry, an organic chem. They had to memorize all kinds of stuff. You’ve got a good memory doctor, just exercise it
Gary: exercise it and hey if you feel like it can be approved go google a masterclass course on memory. They’re out there
Naren: exactly, exactly
Gary: when I met Doctor art Degoni the dean of university of pacific school of dentistry Doctor Degoni was known for being able to come into a class of over a hundred students and identify every single patient by name as the dean how would that feel there and imagine you being a you feel like kind of an invisible dental student you’re just blending in you’re one of almost 400 dental students at that school and Doctor Degoni comes in to teach a guest class and he looks right at you the eye hey Naren how are you doing how do you feel about that?
Naren: awesome, awesome, because he knows me and he cares about me
Gary: Cares about you
Naren: right here the minute we know somebody casts i think there’s a great saying right, nobody cares what you know until they know how much you care
Gary: People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care
Naren: Yeah so, all your degree all your experience all yours all that is useless unless they believe you care.
Gary: I absolutely that was a i first heard it from Omer from Doctor Reed. I am sure he got it from somewhere else but I always give him credit because that’s where I heard it from well, we’ve given you lots of things to think about and that’s great but you need to take action on this stuff. Naren, let’s put a ribbon on it and hey let’s share a resource with our listeners that is new that they can get first crack at
Naren: Absolutely so you’re probably the very first time you’re going to hear about this is today. We launched not too long ago a YouTube channel and it’s called the thriving dentist YouTube channel We are going to put a link to it but if you just already on YouTube just go to YouTube and type in thrive in dentist and literally every single day, we are publishing a video. A video where Gary teaches you something for example how to be relationship driven it might be a two to five minute video with three tips so all kinds of things literally it’s like five tips are being uploaded every day and one of the things I would recommend is subscribe to it so immediately Gary upload something or the team uploads something you will be notified so you can just pick and choose and watch the ones you want the reason this might be better is a lot of times we can be tired and let’s say at the end of the day and you’re tired now podcast is a little bit longer it’s 15 20 minutes or even an hour, here it’s just three to four minutes and you can just watch Gary explain it and you see his emotions and it could be kind of entertaining too, so enjoy it. Of course, if you like it tell your friends about it we want to make this a resource in dentistry.
Gary: it’s pretty budget friendly too as in free
Gary: one of the applications we thought for this is you may go through the library in in the YouTube channel and pick some out to play at team meetings dentist always need content for team meetings this might be a good one to play for team meetings but we’re excited about our team quite literally has hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of hours putting this together in terms of editing and getting these posted on YouTube and it was one of our ways to give back and I’m excited to announce it to you this is literally our kind of our launch of that YouTube channel you get to be the first to know about it. Hey on that note thank you for being a listener of less insurance dependence podcast we appreciate each and every one of you here’s to making this year your best year yet. Thanks guys.