Podcast: Becoming More Efficient and More Effective Without Burning Out

Kevin:This is Dr. Kevin Coughlin. You’re listening to Ascent Dental Solutions with a focus on knowledge, education, training and development. I want to give special thanks to VOCO dental supply company for their expertise in training and providing the supplies to allow dentists to provide the highest level of care and service in the dental profession. I also want to give special thanks to Mr. David Wolf for his expertise in developing these podcasts.

Tonight’s topic is how do we become more efficient and more effective without burning out? I am getting prepared for a meeting of approximately fifty team members in my organization this week, and what we’ve done is we’ve taken a cold, hard look at really what the bottom line is. It’s something we all talk about, but very seldom ever do. There’s a big debate and, like most debates, there’s some truth in all parties, but do you accept all dental insurance plans? Do you only accept certain dental plans? How do you decide? And basically, I think every healthcare professional would love to see one thing: control of their fees.

Right now, most dental plans, and certainly medical plans, there is absolutely no control of our fees. It’s almost laughable that you would be in a business, and a business owner at that, and have zero control of the fees. The insurance companies are dictating what fees we have. We’ll take a cold, hard look. And in the real world, most general dentists or specialist dentists accept most dental plans out of necessity. It’s nice for the few that can say they have concierge practices and they only accept fee for service. But I think for the bulk of healthcare professionals, we accept what comes in the door. To me, the real question is how to manage it. And I strongly suggest that you consider some simple approaches that may make your life easier.

Do you want to get your dental career started on the right path? Are you looking to put in place the practices and procedures to make your existing dental business more profitable? Send Dr. Coughlin a quick email today!

In the state of Massachusetts, it amazes me that under government-subsidized programs, such as Common Care Alliance or MassHealth, sometimes the reimbursement for restorations, composites particularly, can be somewhere between $60 and $90. I think most dentists know that when you’re doing a composite and you want to do it at a high level with high level of materials and expertise, it is almost impossible to do these restorations for that type of fee schedule and stay in business. I personally pay our dental hygienist $40 an hour plus approximately $8 to $9 in benefits and all my dental assistants or team members are paid $30 an hour with, again, approximately $8 to $9 in benefits. So if you just add up the two assistants assisting me plus myself doing a restoration for thirty minutes that’s going to give us a reimbursement of between $60 and $90, you can immediately see that you either have to see a hundred patients an hour or you’re going to go out of business.

The simple fact is, the following things, it at least helped me in the state of Massachusetts and perhaps may help you manage your practice and take the stress and reduce some of the financial pain. As you know, many states allow dental hygienists to (unclear 04:01) locally anesthetic. I can tell you for the last six months, in almost all cases, my floating dental hygienists, which takes walk-ins, call-ins, people who are behind in their hygiene recall or recare program, are doing my local anesthetic. I can also tell you that with the Triodent Matrix System, the matrix systems are set up, everything is prepped and ready, the DryShield, which I’m using as a rubber dam, is ready and set, that I have been able to reduce my composite times down in, I believe, a high degree of success, very little to no sensitivity, and very little occlusal adjustments, down to about eight minutes.

What that means is the patient is still booked for twenty or thirty minutes, but the actual clinical chair time that I’m in there, providing that service, is about seven to eight minutes. Although I’d still like to see a compensatory return on my training and expertise, somewhere between $300 and $400 for a posterior or anterior composite, many times, insurance companies have dictated the fees closer to that $60 to $100 rate, and perhaps the techniques of delegating and providing a system for your composites along with other areas of dentistry will help your bottom line.

If you find these topics and other topics interesting, please contact me at Ascent Dental Solutions. My name is Dr. Kevin Coughlin. I’m still practicing full-time. I’ve been practicing for thirty-six years. I grew and built fifteen general dental practices, sold to a managed service organization, and now currently have fifty team members in three offices here in Massachusetts. I want to give special thanks to VOCO for their expertise in providing the supplies and trainings to provide high level of care and service in our practice, Ascent Dental Care, and I want to give special thanks to Mr. David Wolf for his expertise in producing these podcasts. My name is Dr. Kevin Coughlin. I look forward to chatting with you in the near future. Thanks for listening and have a great evening.