Top Five Ways for an Associate to Build a Practice Within a Practice and Succeed!

Top Five Ways for an Associate to Build a Practice Within a Practice and Succeed!

8/28/2015 12:09:00 PM   |   Comments: 0   |   Views: 279

Most dental school graduates today are burdened with substantial debt, so they begin practice as Associates. While some enter GPRs or the Armed Services until they complete their obligations, the outcome is the same — they enter private practice. As associates, they have the opportunity to improve their clinical skills, increase speed and proficiency, and learn about dental business management. There are five classification of a Group Practice from the ADA. www.ada.org

They are:
1. Goverment
2. Medicaid
3. Hybrid
4. DSO – Dental Support Organization
5. Dentists Owned and Operated

Being an Associate of any of these types of Group Models as an associate may be the beginning of the majority of new dentists today, however there still is opportunities in many solo practices that can offer a more mentoring association as well as an associate position to begin your career and ultimately become a stakeholder or the owner of the practice and have the seller continue to work for your associate if the patient base can support both providers.

In addition, most associates hope the position they choose will lead to long-term associate position, a stakeholder position or ownership of the solo practice model.

Understanding the way of success as an associate is the best route to achieve the desired goals of all parties in all the practice models. This article examines the top 5 ways to accomplish success as an Associate Dentist.

1st Way: Realistic Expectations
Possessing a Realistic expectation of the contribution and capacity you have as a new dentist and Associate. If you are entering into a solo practice model with the intention to purchase this practice immediately or within a designated time frame, make sure you there is a predetermined purchase price. The number-one reason that the promised buy-in/buy-out does not occur after a one- to three-year time frame is that the parties did not agree on the purchase price before the associate was hired. Therefore, the two parties can be at odds with vastly different ideas of practice valuation and appropriate buy-in price.

The purchase price needs to be determined and agreed upon prior to commencement of employment. If not, the senior doctor expects the practice will be valued at its current value, but the recent graduate expects to receive credit for the increased production and profit provided during his or her employment. Subsequently, the associate feels he is being asked to pay for his own sweat equity that increased the value of the practice.

However, if the purchase price was established prior to commencement of employment, three out of four associateships lead to the intended equity position. Conversely, if the purchase price has not been predetermined, nine out of 10 associateships lead to termination without achieving the ownership intended or promised.

2nd Way: Contract Details
Clarity of written details. The second way to succeed as an Associate is that the details of the buy-in have not been agreed to in writing prior to or immediately upon employment. A common but fatal mistake is to say, “If we like each other, we’ll work out the details later.” Do not procrastinate on the details of one of the most important transactions of your career.

The more items discussed and agreed to in writing beforehand, the better the chance of a successful equity ownership occurring as planned. The written instruments consist of two specific documents:

  1. Employment Agreement, which details the responsibilities of each party for employment.
  2. Letter of Intent, which details the proposed equity acquisition. The letter of intent includes the proposed date of sale, the proposed sale price, what will happen in the event of irreconcilable differences and will there be an obligation to buy the remaining portion of the practice, what will happen if the practice owner also owns the building, i.e., will it be a requirement or an option that the new doctor be allowed to purchase a position in the building, how will income be shared, how will patients be distributed, how would additional partners be handled, and a statement indicating that while the letter of intent is not binding on the parties, it does represent their agreement to the anticipated details of the proposed sale.

3rd Way: Budget and Written Marketing Strategies
There is a four Prong approach for all new dentists that become Associates :

1. Insurance: Becoming a Provider of the top (3) three insurance plans in your ip code area and having those fees negotiated by a professional insurance consultant to save you 10-15% of your normal 30-35% loss. Credentialing and negotiating insurance provider plans that you will participate with as a new dentist to any of the practice models. Clarify with your employer who will be doing this and the time frame in which it may take to get you on the insurance companies lists. It usually takes a total of 8-12 weeks for the process to be activated and integrated.

2. Global: Being Incorporated on all Internet, Search Engine, Social Media sites and Customer Relationship Management software communication and all Email, Mobile and Electronic processes that are associated with the practice.

3. Internal: marketing campaigns: Patient Referral and incentivized marketing campaigns.

4. External: Direct Mail Marketing still works! Do it too!

The more that you clarity this 3rd way the faster you will succeed as an productive asset without compromising the current state of the practice’s profitability.

4th Way: Assess to Patients
For a successful experience in the shortest period of time as a new associate, co-create a structure of what and how you will execute a multi-disciplinary patient care delivery model with your employer. (types of procedures, emergency-on-call, and new patients.)

The patient base comprises the goodwill value in every practice. Goodwill value typically constitutes 70 to 80 percent of the value of a practice. If the senior doctor fails to recognize the need to turn over existing patients to the associate, then the associate will be frustrated in his or her efforts to produce dentistry, earn a salary, and improve skills.

The best method of introducing a new doctor to the practice is through the hygiene program. At the end of every hygiene appointment, the hygienist informs each patient: “Dr. Senior has requested that Dr. New see as many patients as possible to familiarize you with our new doctor.” The recall examination is an effective and non-threatening method of introduction.

Upon entering the examination room, the new doctor repeats the same story: “Mrs. Smith, Dr. Senior has requested that I check as many of the hygiene patients as possible so that you are familiar with me and I with you. This way, in the event that I am the doctor on call and you should have an emergency, you will not hesitate to call me to obtain the needed relief. After all, we will already be familiar with each other.” This method of introduction has proven to be highly successful.

If the new doctor has diagnosed needed dentistry, the scheduling staff member gives the patient a choice of an appointment with either doctor — with no bias. The choice of doctor is left entirely to the patient, not the doctors or staff. Historically, 50% of patients will choose an appointment with the next available doctor or the appointment time most convenient for the patient, regardless of who the doctor will be.

For the other 50% of patients seen by Dr. New in the hygiene room, approximately 25% state that they really liked the new doctor and they’d like to be treated by Dr. New. The other 25% state that Dr. New was really nice but they want to see Dr. Senior for treatment. This choice is noted in their patient file, so the determination is already made as to which doctor the patient prefers during the introductory period.

After a few months of seeing as many recall patients as possible, the new doctor’s schedule will begin to fill quickly. Eventually it will reach a point when the senior doctor notices that his or her schedule is slowing down. At that point, the doctors will begin to share recall exam responsibilities.

5th Way: Team Support
The best method of introducing a new doctor to the practice is through the hygiene program. At the end of every hygiene appointment, the hygienist informs each patient: “Dr. Senior has requested that Dr. New see as many patients as possible to familiarize you with our new doctor.” The recall examination is an effective and non-threatening method of introduction.

Upon entering the examination room, the new doctor repeats the same story: “Mrs. Smith, Dr. Senior has requested that I check as many of the hygiene patients as possible so that you are familiar with me and I with you. This way, in the event that I am the doctor on call and you should have an emergency, you will not hesitate to call me to obtain the needed relief. After all, we will already be familiar with each other.” This method of introduction has proven to be highly successful.

If the new doctor has diagnosed needed dentistry, the scheduling staff member gives the patient a choice of an appointment with either doctor — with no bias. The choice of doctor is left entirely to the patient, not the doctors or staff. Historically, 50% of patients will choose an appointment with the next available doctor or the appointment time most convenient for the patient, regardless of who the doctor will be.

For the other 50% of patients seen by Dr. New in the hygiene room, approximately 25% state that they really liked the new doctor and they’d like to be treated by Dr. New. The other 25% state that Dr. New was really nice but they want to see Dr. Senior for treatment. This choice is noted in their patient file, so the determination is already made as to which doctor the patient prefers during the introductory period.

After a few months of seeing as many recall patients as possible, the new doctor’s schedule will begin to fill quickly. Eventually it will reach a point when the senior doctor notices that his or her schedule is slowing down. At that point, the doctors will begin to share recall exam responsibilities.

 

Rhonda Mullins, CEO, RHO Global Inc and Dentrepreneur Solutions, LLC
Ready to Start Building A Practice Within A Practice? Contact Rhonda Today!  Email  |  404.445.7730

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