Saturday, May 07, 2005

Professionalism vs income?

DB, at Medrants, wrote about his idea of professionalism. Interestingly, the comments debated income, not the idea of quality care.

But does income have to suffer because we devote more time to our patients?

Not surprisingly, we have become so used to accepting what someone else says we are worth, that I think the comments on his post miss something. The secret to seeing fewer patients, providing quality visits in the appropriate time span and still making the income you desire is to charge what you think your time is worth and not accept less.

How do you do that? Well, explain to your patients that their relationships with their insurance companies are just that, their relationships, not yours. Explain that you set your rates at a level that you feel is reasonable for the service you deliver and you will see them for that rate, not less. Of course, you would probably make accomodations for low income, etc.

You may want to file the insurance paperwork for them or provide it to them to send to their insurance companies. Ask for payment at the time of service and explain that the check from the insurance company will come to them, not to you. Stay out of that relationship.

If the patient thinks you are worth it, they won't mind paying a little extra. So what if you lose 1/3 of your patients, you need to trim your panel anyway, as you won't have time to see them all with your new practice style.

I have written about what good business the dentists run, but so many of them are heading into the insurance trap we are in.