Dental Office Year End Preparations
Dental office year end approaches. And there are several items to consider. The last quarter of the year is a busy one. And the last quarter presents us with less time in office. Because we have holiday and time out of the office in our last months of the year. Therefore, we do well to prepare in advance. And avoid the mad rush at the very end of the year.
We strive to make the last quarter our strongest quarter! And love to end the year on a big “YES!”. So, let’s see just how we might do this. Despite our holiday schedules and time off. This can be our best quarter yet! Remember, patients still have insurance benefits to use up. Now is the time to look at this.
Remind Patients of Benefits
Check those unscheduled treatment plans. This is a great time to clean this up too! Funny things happen with our data entry at times. Run unscheduled dental treatment reports and make sure everything is clean. Send out emails, post cards, or even use technology to reach patients. And there is nothing like a good old-fashioned phone call!
Have all your “ducks in a row” as you call. Know the treatment plan well before you call. And have an estimate of the patient’s out-of-pocket expenses and insurance benefits as well. Encourage patients to treat themselves this year. And to use their insurance benefits well. Now is the time to schedule. Because the end of the year is soon upon us. And the office schedule books fast. Remember to create a strong call list for unexpected schedule changes too!
Dental Office Year End Preparations for Next Year
Talk with the team about holidays and vacation plans for the new year. Now is the time to block holidays and think about production goals for the new year. Who is off when? And where do we want to place our major production blocks? Do we want to make changes to our template for the year? Surely our practice has changed over the past year. It’s a great time to think about what the new year should look like. And remember we are the creator of our dental office days.
A special team meeting is fun! A time to talk about what works and what doesn’t. Ask the team to bring their thoughts and ideas for the schedule to the meeting. Discuss goals that are both financial and non-financial. What does the team want to do to accomplish in the coming year? Is there one business system the team might really want to focus on?
Fee Schedule Adjustments
This is a great time to look at fee adjustments. Decide which fees require an increase in the new year. Perhaps an increase across the board is preferred. Either way, take a look at this now. So that when the first of the year rolls in, everyone is ready. Share these fee changes with the team as a whole. We want everyone in the know of all changes before they happen.
Look at insurance contacts as well. Talk with insurance carriers to discuss a fee increase. Look into when the last fee increase was and what the process is to apply for a fee change. There may be considerations for a certain number of procedure codes. It all depends on the insurance company and the contract. But make this part of your year end procedures.
Dental Office Year End Clean-Up
Dental office year end is a great time to clean up our data base. Print an employer list from your data base and delete duplicates and unattached employers. Also print an insurance list too. And review each carrier for possible problems and duplicates. The cleaner we keep our data base, the better it performs!
Run an active patient report. Inactivate those one time emergency patients who never did return to the practice. Otherwise, we build a large base of patients that are not truly patients. And all our numbers are skewed. Once we know our patients, this is an easier task. We can just check information on names of patients we don’t recognize easily.
Unclaimed Patient Credits
Review patient credit reports. Are there credits to refund to insurance or patients still? Do we have money that we are unable to refund? Perhaps we need an updated address or a patient is deceased. I know there are readers across the globe here. But here in the United States, we have state laws to guide us.
Follow your state’s guidelines. And there may be an “unclaimed property” division or department in your state to help. This is something to investigate. Because we want our end of year reports to be as clean as they can be. Not only does it provide the practice with accurate numbers, but we also feel better. And that’s important too.
Consider Additional Production Hours
Perhaps additional hygiene or doctor hours are necessary before December 31. Especially during the months of November and December. We do have some holidays to think about still. And we may have many hygiene patients to see still. Patients may panic that they have hygiene benefits to use up.
Patients also realize the year is coming to a close. And often they realize that they didn’t complete a procedure they had planned to do. Or they have money in a health savings account they may lose. As patients call in a panic, assure them you can speak to your docs about how to make it happen. We definitely don’t want to tell them our schedule is booked and leave it at that. At the very least, add patients to a call list. And to talk with docs about additional production hours.
There is much to celebrate in our dental practices. This is a great time to encourage one another. And share every success we can with our teams! Congratulate one another on a year of working together. Celebrate the newer team members and thank them for joining the team. Celebrate the veteran team members and thank them for being with the team another year!
Greet patients warmly! Let’s thank our patients for choosing us. And let’s welcome our new year with gratitude and goals. I’m here for you now and in the year to come. If you need some additional administrative training, coaching or support, I’m just an email away!