Coffee Cup Coaching: Feeling Hog-tied by Fees In the Dental Industry

In Building a Practice, Inspiration, She's an Entrepreneur, Success by Victoria PetersonLeave a Comment

We are going to jump right into a topic that we all love to hate in the dental industry – insurance reimbursements. While most of my posts address the emotional side of leadership, there are certainly times where tactical advice is the best “coaching.” DeW you agree? 

Updating fee schedules, choosing insurance plan participation, and selecting patient finance partners all have one thing in common, the ability to emotionally paralyze decision making!

  • What if the patients balk?
  • What if I drop the plan and loose ½ of my revenues? 
  • What if the patients won’t pay interest on their outstanding balance? 
  • What if I finance the treatment and they fail to pay? Do I really want to be the bank? 

DeW you ever feel that these “what-if’s” hog-tie you  and your practice?

Let’s unwind a bit and give you the space to make better decisions. I’ve used this simple and effective method for more than a decade to build two award-winning companies. I call it the 80-80-80 principle. When my head, my heart, and my gut have reached an 80% certainty point, I pull the trigger on a decision. It works something like this. 

Intention: Improve profits by a minimum of $20,000 per month within 4 months


  • Profits are declining compared to last year 
  • Insurance write-offs average 28%; specific plans up to 40%; we accept 6 plans
  • Open time averages 23% for restorative; hygiene 10% 
  • New Patient (non-insurance) average 5 per month 

Feelings: Anxious, tired, afraid, high sense of urgency, team is stressed

Brainstorming Options(?): Research best practices for PPO fee negotiation, determine which plans best fit our practice, discover training resources for customer service, expand marketing for fee-for-service patients, take a new look at patient financing and membership plans, run a report on overdue non-insurance patients – reactivate them, provide free comprehensive exams to those with radiographs more than 3 years old, look at treatment planning and case acceptance, ask my team for their ideas of improving the business, do nothing…maybe this will work itself out.

Here’s what you can do

So many ideas generated from online research and magazines focus on asking “How can you make a decision?” First – take a stand. Notice that I used the word “intention” and not the word “goal.” For me, an intention is a promise to myself, it’s a declaration, a must happen. So I’ve already done the hard part – putting a stake in the ground and defining the journey. To discover the rest of the decision-making process, join me with a cup of joe on this quick coaching video. So much easier to talk about than read.  

Coffee Cup Coaching: Hog-tied by Fees with Victoria Peterson from Productive Dentist Academy on Vimeo.

Check out more of Vicki’s Coffe Cup Coaching blogs HERE.

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