When you work in a PPO practice, you face different challenges than FFS practices. Your prices are set by insurance agreements, so raising rates or charging premium rates is not always an option. But that doesn’t mean you can’t increase productivity and profitability.
As with most things, PPO practices enjoy benefits in addition to some of the payoffs. For example, you get a more steady flow of patients by being in-network on a PPO plan. Thus, the pressure to market aggressively is reduced.
If you work in a PPO practice and want to increase productivity—and profits—here are three places to start.
Combine Multiple Procedures in One Visit
When a patient comes in with multiple needs, consider performing multiple procedures in a single visit. Although some patients might prefer to spread out treatment into multiple visits, perhaps to spread out out-of-pocket costs over time, patients and practices can both benefit by performing multiple procedures in one visit.
It’s much more efficient for the practice. You get to perform and earn fees for multiple services with only one set of administrative tasks. A patient comes in one time. You process one claim. You prep for the patient one time. The list goes on. Additionally, scheduling multiple procedures in one visit ensures the patient doesn’t come back once or twice and then stops, never getting the rest of the care they need. Getting fewer procedures done means less productivity, less revenue for the practice, and less profit to help the practice grow and reward team members.
The patient also benefits by getting all the work done right away. They only need to take off from work one time, drive to the office one time, and deal with numbness or other issues incidental to their care one time. And if they need help affording out-of-pocket costs, you could help them with financing options, of course.
Improve Case Acceptance
This one might seem obvious, but improving case acceptance means your practice is going to be a lot more productive. You’ll get more patients in the chair, the practice will perform more procedures, and, importantly, your patients will get the care they need to improve their smile and change their lives.
Improving case acceptance can be as simple as shifting from “dental speak” to “benefit speak” when presenting a treatment plan. For example, if a patient needs a dental implant, instead of explaining what a dental implant is and how the procedure is performed, lead with the benefits the patient will receive. They will be much more likely to move forward if they know they will be able to eat whatever they want, clean their new tooth like normal, and not have to remove and clean dentures.
Negotiate Your Fee Schedules
Before you start accepting insurance, you might consider hiring an expert to help you negotiate your fee schedule. Although it will cost you to hire an expert, it can be well worth it. Even a small percentage higher can add up over time and many experts know how to negotiate. Of course, you could also negotiate on your own, so at least do that. Whenever your contract is up for renewal, consider negotiating your fees or hiring an expert to do so again.
Could You Make Your PPO Practice More Productive?
It can be hard to meet high financial goals when running a PPO practice subject to set insurance rates. But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. You truly can ethically and efficiently improve productivity and profits, even when insurance plans are in place.
To do so, make sure patients are getting the procedures they need. Perform multiple procedures in a single visit. Improve your case acceptance by focusing on the benefits your patients can expect—the ones that matter to them. And negotiate your PPO fee schedule as often as you can. Do you have any other tips on how to run a productive PPO practice? Let us know in the comments below!
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