It seems like every email from every dental consultant these days is telling you how horrible PPOs are and how simple it will be to drop them if you just follow their advice. To which I say, “Not so fast, cowboy!”
Here is the only way I know of to successfully drop all of your PPOs today in three simple steps.
1. Buy a Powerball ticket and hope it wins.
2. It wins
3. Go back to your office and drop all of your PPOs because you now have “Screw You Money!”
But that’s probably not going to happen.
So since we are making lists, let’s list a few things we need to think about before making detrimental practice moves under frustration.
1. Would I really be better off without PPOs?
Nobody actually “likes” PPOs. But for some practices they work well, and for others they can work really well. (I think I am the only dental coach who is willing to admit this!) Look at accepting a reduced fee as a form of marketing. You are paying (making less money) with the agreement of having new patients sent your way. Of course, for many practices it’s a loser of a formula.
But for those that have success having these patients do services such as Invisalign or veneers, it can be worth the early write-offs. Combine that with a true perio department that has a couple superstar hygienists doing lots of scaling and root planing (ethically diagnosed of course) and the formula CAN work. That doesn’t mean it will. You need to know.
2. Dropping PPOs takes planning; lots of it.
It is SO frustrating when I hear from a dentist saying they decided to drop all or some of their PPOs, so they picked the worst ones and “sent a letter.” AARGGH!! That’s a formula for disaster.
Dropping PPOs is a long game. Every PPO patient needs to have a personal conversation with a member of the team, so it takes at least six months to accomplish, and a year is even better.
3. Phone skills, phone skills, phone skills.
If you are an ex-PPO practice headed towards fee-for-service land, your front desk team needs superior phone skills so that when a patient asks “Do you take my insurance? It’s called P.O.S. PPO” – you will have that patient absolutely loving your practice and convinced that they are better off coming to you than that cheapo dentist down the street.
4. Know your numbers. No? Your numbers?
Before deciding to drop any or all PPOs, you better know your numbers and know what they mean. This is not a decision to be made by feel.
5. Times are tough. So are dentists.
Some of us are still struggling with COVID problems – decreased patient flow, difficulty in finding qualified team members, patients hesitant to spend money, etc…. For many practices this is the time to stay tough, provide an incredible customer service experience, and not make any drastic changes. But realize that you don’t know what you don’t know, and there are ways to find out.
6. Good luck with that Powerball ticket.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * *
As you can see, it’s more important than ever to stop making practice decisions in the dark. Learn just how important your practice data is (and how we can help you with that) by clicking here. Or if you are a practice owner and want to have a chat with me about anything – you can get a spot on my calendar by clicking here. It’s time to stop dreaming and start doing!