6 steps to getting your dental practice off of PPOs

April 2, 2014

Many dentists these days complain about the impact of PPOs on their practice and would love nothing more to get off of them. While they all want this, there are a few take steps to making this happen. In this article, I will outline six easy steps to accomplish this task.

1. You have to improve your case acceptance rate. As I travel the country and meet new clients, the average case acceptance rate I see is about 55%. This is with the subsidy of insurance of all kinds. If you simply dump the PPOs without improvement here, you will create a great deal of stress for yourself.

2. You have to develop a different pipeline for new patient flow. Many practices get most of their new patients from being on insurance lists. While this is a fine method to get new patients, it also brings with it the write-offs. You will need to develop a healthy pipeline to bring in new patients to offset the ones who will leave.

3. Next, analyze the impact of PPOs on your practice. Everyone assumes they know the impact, but once they put it into a spreadsheet, they are often surprised. I would want to know a few things: number of patients per PPO, percent write-off for each PPO, and overall economic impact on the practice of each PPO. With this information, you can now develop a strategic plan on which ones to get rid off first and how quickly to do it.

4. Clearly explain the change to your patients. You need a well-written letter explaining to the patient why you are making this change … and it can’t be about your profitability. The majority of patients think you make way too much money already, so they will only see this being greedy. It has to be about delivering great patient care.

5. Be prepared to answer questions. You need a well-crafted response to the top five questions you will get from the patients after they open your letter and call the practice. How you respond to a patient’s concern will be the pivotal moment where they decide to stay with your practice or leave it.

6. Lastly, you and your team need a plan on how to handle this process emotionally. You might be 20% less busy, but when you account for the 20% write-off, you are in the exact same place regarding take home pay. Now if you respond to the decrease in business by being upset with your team and you lose them as well, life will get ugly quickly. Have a plan in place to support each other and not freak out!

This is a process and doesn’t take place overnight. If you work this plan thoroughly, you can get to the other side with a more profitable dental practice. To learn more, watch my video supplement to this article.

Editor's Note: To see more posts from Darren, head to his Google+ page.