As dental practitioners and experts, it is quite obvious that running an office is a pretty expensive affair. Multiple overheads and expense areas need to be managed while maintaining adequate profitability. Some variable costs that need careful watch include equipment, relevant supply purchases, compensation, lab costs, and even promotional budgets from time to time. 

No matter what the size of the business is, every practice has the potential to cut overhead expenses and drive incremental revenues. There are multiple means to curtail overhead costs not required for the practice and one can deploy available technologies to make it possible. 

A careful audit of the current situation can help to detect activities and areas that drive productivity as well as possibilities to eliminate unnecessary costs. Some strategies to consider for saving on overheads and impacting the bottom line are as follows: 

Scheduling can be automated

Incorporating a VoIP phone system with text messaging abilities can maximize communication with patients. Scheduling requests as well as reminders can be configured for automation. This reduces the number of phone calls and saves a considerable amount of time for the front office to focus on other pressing priorities. Patients can be provided an embedded link to the online calendar that needs just a click for setting or confirming an appointment. 

Centralize the critical communication channel

Once again, a modern VoIP system that integrates with a practice management system can merge multiple communication channels in a single hub. This ensures savings due to enhanced smart routing technology, call recordings, and automated collation of patient information. 

Calls can get routed based on the call source or the time of day. The number of rings before it gets picked or the times' calls get missed the most can also be tracked. The team can get updated on multiple activities such as treatment history, pending appointments, account balances, and more.

Going green on communication

Physical marketing collateral can steadily contribute to the overhead account.  One can perform a cost-benefit analysis and evaluate how a dental application can substitute all physical or paper-based communication. Such an application can be deployed, in conjunction, with emailing software to help monitor patient data, streamline scheduling tasks, and other overhead-lowering features.

Leverage a Practice Management System

A practice management system can identify areas that could result in potential savings. An optimal system comes equipped with cash-finding features that aid in the recognition of additional revenue streams while also automating multiple financial and administrative operations. This facilitates additional time for staff to prioritize tapping patient referrals and enhancing the service experience. Some tasks that can get tackled by the system include

Competitive monitoring

Tracking competitive pricing and offerings is a quick and effective ploy to gauge the possibility of cost-cutting. Practices that charge less may not be cheap in the long run. Identifying supplies, consumables, and technologies used by competition can help to trim costs and offer the best value-for-money option. 

Selecting the appropriate technologies. 

Choosing the ideal technologies can greatly help to reduce overhead expenses. A detailed cost-benefit analysis on big-ticket purchases must be effectively done that reveals how revenues and efficiencies will get impacted. The break-even point must not deviate too much from the financial capacity of the practice.

Review Your Numbers Regularly

Keep aside time to ponder and review monthly, quarterly, and yearly overhead costs as these can detect expense trends of areas that might be too expensive or that are not getting the attention they deserve. Some of these findings might not be immediately obvious but a little deeper probing can help to gauge areas of potential cost pruning. 

Owning a dental practice and finding success are the two sides of the same coin. The success of a dental practice depends on a combination of factors such as patient care, dentistry, administrative tasks, etc. 

Here are five tips for running a successful and efficient dental practice to improve your dentist-to-patient experience: 

A streamlined insurance claim process.

This tip is number one because cash problems occur due to inefficient processes. Successful practice means how much cash your billing system puts in the bank. Whether you have an in-house biller or you are outsourcing, reworking insurance claims is a massive revenue drain and time-consuming. 

The best way to understand if the process is smooth is by checking the collection rate. You can get this number through the billable work in a month, subtract the write-offs, and that would be the net production. The total deposits received divided by net production is your collection rate. If the collection rate is under 98%, that's the revenue you couldn't collect. 

To improve the collection rate, try to submit the claim within 24 hours of the service. Ensure all the supporting documents, like clinical notes, intraoral photos, and x-rays, are attached to the insurance claim. Working on the appeal of the insurance aging report that got previously denied every day helps you have a clean claim process.

The smooth patient billing process

Once the insurance claim process gets sorted, the patient billing process comes next. Why? Because the insurer's revenue impacts growth. Nobody will care for your patients as you do, and you deserve prompt payment. 

Asking for payments is awkward, but if you are confident about the insurance claim process, the patient will trust the amount billed on the statement. A smooth patient billing process means the team verifies the patient's insurance before the scheduled appointment. 

It also means that you are aware of covered and non-covered treatment in the plan and the estimated cost for an out-of-pocket expense that you communicate to the patient before the procedure. This streamlined communication prepares the patient for upcoming expenses. 

Flexible payment option

Every successful practice provides patients with payment options like credit cards, cash, checks, and third-party payment plans. To get the patient's paperwork and payment done before the last appointment, they can walk right after the treatment without getting bothered when their mouth is numb. 

Proper scheduling system

Scheduling is crucial for the patient and the dental team because of people's time. On the patient side, if you mix their dates and time into an already busy schedule, then an angry patient might come to your office. Many dental practices offer weekend, early morning, or evening schedules to accommodate patients without getting into conflict. 

On the staff side, the complexities of handling practice appointments can cause friction, and make sure you have someone dedicated to the administrative team to keep it organized. Practice management software can automate this process and inform them about the appointment through text or email. In the case of a no-show, make sure to reschedule immediately to avoid any clashes.

Connect with the community

Make the most out of the community to keep them engaged and interact through advertising campaigns, social media content, dental postcards, newsletters,  brochures, etc. It is a part of the practice's plan for success, as loyal patients will recommend your dental practice to friends and family. In addition, retaining existing patients is less expensive and effortless than acquiring new ones. 

But retaining existing patients require connection to the emotional level, offering adequate service,  easy-to-access location, convenient hours, and earning the trust to create an ever-lasting relationship. Today's digital world allows us to reach out to existing patients and prospective ones on an ongoing basis. 

From volunteer to event sponsorship, there are options to show your community that you are committed to more than making money. That will help you turn your patients into promoters and delight them to the extent that they will never consider going to another provider.

We all consider getting dental insurance at some point in our lives, but before applying, it is essential to know if we are eligible for it or not. Be it a patient or a dentist; you must know what is involved as a part of dental eligibility verification. It will help enable excellent transparency and build trust between a dentist and a patient.

Dental eligibility verification is the process of verifying a patient’s insurance eligibility for various dental insurance benefits, active coverages, and prior authorization of procedures ranging from dental cleanings to various surgeries. A patient's insurance plan consists of four essential components:

There is no way to know how frequently the insurance will pay for the patient's prophy. For example, you won’t be able to know if a patient is eligible for x-rays or if there is a deductible that applies to the patient's first visit to your office without verifying the insurance coverage.

Before scheduling an appointment with a patient, an insurance verification specialist at your dental office should contact the patient's insurance provider to verify that they are eligible to receive dental care under their plan.

It's possible that the insurance company uses an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system, which the representative from your dental billing department can use to navigate and verify patient eligibility.

What are the advantages of conducting dental eligibility verification?

Dental eligibility verification is an integral part of the growth of any dental practice. Here are some reasons why every dental clinic should invest in it:

  1. Performing dental eligibility verification allows dentists to know what exactly is covered under a patient’s dental insurance plan and what’s not before providing any treatment. Accordingly, they can submit accurate dental claims to a dental insurance company. This will help them reduce their claims denial rate and increase revenue eventually. 
  2. It also helps educate the patients about all the benefits they can claim under their insurance plan so they can make an informed decision.
  3. The dentist-patient bond gets strengthened as the patient develops a sense of trust. And as we all know, trust is the first step towards making a patient visit the same dentist again.

How is the verification done at a dentist’s clinic?

Dental insurance verification services can help in automating the process of dental verification at your dental practice. It will also help integrate new insurance information into the software used for patient management.

Dental insurance verification services are generally compatible with the dental practice software that dentists use, regardless of whether your dental practice focuses on cosmetic dentistry, orthodontics, restorative dentistry, or family dental services.

This becomes more relevant when you outsource the verification of dental insurance to an insurance verification service provider or an automated system. With this, you can fully focus on your patients without worrying about the verification procedures!

When you outsource the process of dental insurance verification to a built-in dental billing service, your dental practice will save hours of labor and see an increase in the number of claims that are approved. You need to find a reliable dental insurance verification service so that your billing professionals can be relieved of the responsibility of performing automated insurance verification.

What are the consequences of not conducting dental eligibility verification?

There can be several consequences if dental eligibility verification is not done, as because of it, patients will not be able to claim their insurance benefits. And as a result, your dental practice may end up with too many write-offs, unhappy patients with unexpected balances, poor online reviews, fewer patient referrals, and so on. To cut a long story short, verifying dental insurance improves both the revenue and the overall patient experience.

What services do companies specializing in dental insurance verification provide?

Even though several different systems can help your office's patient eligibility verification process become more streamlined in the dental billing department, automated benefit verification will never be able to completely replace the need for an insurance verification specialist. Your verification processes can be outsourced to dental insurance verification companies. This will help in effortlessly conducting the process.

The cost of operating a business is known as overhead. These are the obligatory business expenses that you must cover on your own when operating a dentistry. The average overhead for a dental office is usually around 61-62% of collections; this percentage varies slightly depending on the size of the office.

The required costs for operating the business, such as personnel salaries, equipment purchases, facility maintenance, marketing, etc., are included in overhead. Things like your own pay, auto costs, travel expenditures, seminars, and the mortgage you took to start the business are not considered overhead.

Let us look at how you can manage and calculate the overhead.

How to calculate the average overhead for a dental office?

When your bookkeeper gives you the profit & loss report for your dental practice, you need a simple way to assess its performance. Following three simple steps, you can calculate the average overhead for your dental office.

  1. Check out all spending accounts for the business's owners, physicians, and associates.
  2. Add together all the remaining expense accounts.
  3. Divide your total expense with all the remaining expenses accounts added and multiply with 100 to get the percentage value. 

Excluding the compensation and associated costs of the dentists, including the owner, the owner's family, and the colleagues, is the most crucial step in determining the correct overhead percentage (%) of income. 

On your profit & loss report, total all the remaining expense accounts, minus the dental costs from step one. Simply adding the "Total Expenses" and "Total Other Expenses" at the bottom of your profit & loss report will make this task easier. Afterward, take all the dental charges you crossed out in step one above and deduct them from the total expenses.

After patient refunds, multiply your total collection income, as mentioned at the top of your profit and loss report, by your total overhead expenses from step two.

How to manage the average overhead for a dental office?

Except for very small practices, the overhead typically increases with practice size. As a practice expands, the owner must hire more employees to handle the output demands. More collections equate to more patients and operations, which would require hiring additional practitioners, office personnel, or even an associate.

There is no question that practically all dental teams and patients have been touched by the economy to varying degrees. Dental teams can and should be dedicated to marketing to locate additional sources of income. On the other side of the income equation, they should look for ways to cut costs. The three approaches are as follows:

The concept is that as your collected income rises, you want your overhead to remain constant or perhaps decrease. You're working more but making less money if your collections are decreasing but your percentage of practice overhead is rising.

Pre-authorization or prior authorization is an integral part of the revenue cycle management process. Certain services may need approval from the insurance companies before receiving the care.  Authorization entails a lot of hassles, and that is why the insurance verification process forms the base for pre-authorization to reduce denials and follow-ups on the same.

Authorization in medical billing refers to the process where the providers determine the coverage, and the payer authorizes them to pay for the rendered service or treatment. The approval from the insurance payer depends on medical necessity, benefit limits, and medical appropriateness before agreeing to pay.

It takes five to thirty days for a pre-authorization from an insurer, depending upon the patient's insurance plan. Therefore, it is better to secure authorization to avoid any denials.

Significance of Authorization

It does not guarantee any payment. However, the absence of authorization can lead to unnecessary denials. The authorization number gets provided after the approval from the insurance company. This number helps you prepare an appeal letter for the claims denied due to the lack of medical necessity.

Submission for Authorization Request 

You can submit the authorization request online or offline, depending on the insurance company. The following details are required irrespective of the type of request:

Services where authorization is needed 

Each insurance plan requires authorization for specific services. However, risky and expensive treatments require pre-approval from the insurance company, as those treatments absorb the cost resulting in financial loss and affecting the revenue cycle.

Outpatient emergency services and post-stabilization care services do not require pre-authorization in any emergency department.

Challenges in Authorization 

Capturing the diagnosis and providing the correct CPT codes is the key to timely authorization. As per AMA, the authorization process involves administrative hassle with very lengthy paperwork,  repeated phone calls, and mounting claim piles that can disrupt a patient's access to vital care.

At times, based on the procedures, prior authorization gets obtained. But during the rendered treatment, some medical procedures are undertaken without pre-authorization, which may lead to payment denial. It is better to secure authorizations for a particular patient, whether the treatment gets completed.

For emergency cases, treatment commences without prior authorization, which later leads to obtaining at the earliest.

Nearly 65% of the people go to the dentist, depending upon the state. Dental professionals enjoy the medical side of their practice and try to make things work to run the business effectively.

It is vital to learn more about the profession to help you make decisions and enjoy both the medical and business parts of the practice.

The numbers change for a start-up practice and will take a few years to build the patient base. Their working day is varied with routine procedures, check-ups, follow-up visits, complicated procedures like dental emergencies, implants, fillings, root canals, and surgical extractions. These procedures usually take more time, reducing the number of patients per day.

Revenue Trends

The value of a dental practice gets influenced by the revenue levels. That is usually 75% of annual revenues. Over-the-counter collection percentage is a decent way to track the per-day collections, 35% of the day's production.

No-show or Cancellations

A dental practice will also lose patients through no-shows and cancellations because of patients moving to another place, losing their dental insurance, etc. And that is why it is vital to add at least 25 new patients per month, even if you lose 10% of the patient base due to any reasons to achieve 15% growth.

Number of patients and production per hour

To gain a continual feed, a dentist should track the production (gross and net) per hour to monitor the hygiene production per hour. A good benchmark is an average of $100 per hour.

Boost profitability

  1. Recare to see your active patients at least twice a year boosts your production like nothing else you can do. Staff training, timely communication, and pre-scheduling are the lifeline of your practice.
  2. Build a relationship with your patient base, not let them slip off the radar. Having too many patients isn't necessary, but keep in mind as 1% of all patients die, and 3% move every year. Therefore, organizing an outreach campaign can bring back many of your patients that you would never hope to see again.
  3. Creating, communicating, and delivering value to each patient at every interaction make them stay loyal to you. Greeting them with a smile, explaining the treatment, confirming the appointment, and sending them the post-op instructions, will keep them coming back to you.
  4. Bolstering your capabilities with technologies like intraoral cameras, 3D imaging solutions, and chairside patient education software can help you sell the treatment and accept recommended treatment.

Dental eligibility can be quite a challenging task for both patients and dentists. For running a dental office smoothly, it is essential to verify the dental eligibility before the patient's visit. However, many patients do not know about their specific insurance plans and their benefits so it becomes difficult for them to answer all the questions related to insurance. Thus, it becomes essential to verify the patient's insurance before they come to the office. One benefit of doing so is that dental practice can educate the patients about their coverage. It also helps the dental office in being on good terms with patients.

To understand the process of verifying dental insurance eligibility, SCROLL DOWN!

Benefits to the patient:

Verifying patient's insurance before they reach the office helps the dental office to educate the patients about their active plan benefits.  With it, the admin staff can even pre-inform the patients about the percentage of the amount covered by insurance and what will the patient be responsible for before providing dental service to patients. Many patients are unaware of basic concepts of insurance like copay, co-insurance, out-of-pocket maximum, and deductible. Thus, informing patients about their active insurance plan, makes the patients aware of charges they need to pay. This step even shows that you care about your patients and value their emotions, and patients feel respected and grateful towards you after getting the service.

If a dental office fails to verify the patient before providing them dental services and if some amount of deductible is charged to them without their knowledge then it may make the patient frustrated and the office may lose the money later.

Benefits to the dental practice:

When the patient has complete information about their insurance, they are able to schedule an appointment. This is because when they have their details at their disposal they are able to quickly provide them. This helps the dental office keep the patient information in a separate folder which is easily accessible later on. Other benefits of staying updated with patient insurance are that it reduces the number of denied insurance claims and makes the financial transactions fast. This way your dental office leaves a positive experience on the patients and makes them come back sooner rather than later.

Check out some tips that will help your dental office successfully streamline the insurance eligibility verification process:

1) Set up a separate insurance file for every patient: Try to keep all the insurance information that is received on either call or any other note in a separate folder or file.

2) Contact the insurance provider: Dental offices should call directly to active insurance companies to obtain exact up-to-date information about a patient's benefits.

3) Verify and document all the coverage details: All the relevant insurance should be verified and documented such as the patient's name, address, policyholder name, social security number, phone number, etc. Coverage aspects should be verified including tooth cleaning, grafting coverage, and other services.

4) Tell patients in advance about what is covered: Patients are not aware of their coverage, benefits, and costs.  Dental offices  should tell the patients about their insurance plans that avoid the troubles associated with surprise bills.

Managing dental insurance and patients' expectations is not an easy task. A dental practice needs to deal with lots of insurance plans that are constantly changing and updating with time. These above-listed tips can help dental offices to manage their insurance process, improve financial status and make patients satisfied.

Hiring a company for patient eligibility verification is a worthwhile option that can help the dental offices to focus more on patients and less on the difficulties of insurance verification. We at Capline dental services have an efficient system for dental eligibility verification. It helps dentists to submit error-free claims and ensure steady cash flow. With us, dental eligibility verification becomes a simple process.

The dental eligibility verification process can be a tedious task for dental practices. Incorrect practices may result in claims denial and eventually revenue loss. As a dental professional, you would like to focus on patient care rather than worrying about the eligibility verification process. This is what makes outsourcing dental eligibility verification services the best idea. This article will talk about the same in detail and much more.

Explaining Outsourcing Dental Eligibility Verification

As the term is self-explanatory, it’s a process where you partner with a team of dental insurance professionals who will be responsible for verifying the dental insurance information of your patients on your behalf. It will allow you to serve your patients better while a team of experts handles all your eligibility verification queries.

5 Reasons for Outsourcing Dental Eligibility Verification Services

Questions to ask before selecting a Dental Outsourcing Company

It would be a professionally smart idea if you can talk to some of the outsourcing company’s existing or previous clients to know about its work.

As explained, there are clearly multiple advantages for outsourcing dental eligibility verification services. It makes the process of dental eligibility verification easier and more effective. Also, they keep you updated on the changing policies of the insurance companies that you work with.

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