Dental Practice Year-End Survival Guide
Written By: Tracy Civick
Prefer to watch the video? Check it out: Dental Practice Year-End Survival Guide
We don’t want you to forget anything, and we also don’t want you to stress, so we created this list of 8 steps to a successful year end for your dental practice. Between coordinating holiday time-off schedules and tackling end-of-year data processing, there’s plenty to do before you’re ho-ho-home free.
Steps for Your Dental Practice
Step 1 – Mid October
Confirm holiday dates on the schedule and make sure patients are informed of closure dates. Table tent in lobby and operatories, social media, and website. Coordinate staff schedules during the holidays to take into account anyone taking off a day before or after the office closure dates. Set the date/time for the staff holiday gathering. Last, calendarize emergency appointment times during the holiday season for those patients who bite into candy apples, peanut brittle, etc… This can equate to big bucks at year-end so make sure to prepare!
Step 2 – Mid October
Many patients may not even be aware that their dental benefits will expire at the end of the year, or that their flexible spending accounts will not roll over into the new year. This is the time to start sending a “Use it or Lose it” letter. If you need it, we will be glad to provide a letter template for you. These need to go out no later than the end of October. When these patients call to schedule treatment, make sure to confirm when insurance pays for crowns and other deliverables. If payment is made on seat date, make sure to schedule the prep appointment by December 1st to maximize their benefits for the current year.
CRUCIAL STEP: Run a report showing patients without insurance that have outstanding treatment or overdue recall needs. Text or call them to schedule before year-end and offer a complimentary tube of whitening gel for a beautiful smile during the holidays.
Step 3 – Mid October
Now is the time to analyze the numbers. Yes, we know you still have almost a quarter of the year to meet production goals but you need a solid roadmap to ensure that you have the tools in place to finish the year strong. This will tell you whether you need to extend production hours in November and December, maybe add in a few Fridays, or ramp up additional marketing. The worst case possible is to realize that you are in danger of missing the annual production goal and it’s too late to do anything about it.
If you aren’t already, put together an accelerated plan to exceed the annual goal in these areas. Plan a separate team meeting to discuss setting goals for the next year. Make note of them but don’t enter them into your software yet (it could confuse this year’s numbers).
Step 4 – Mid December
Time to call your “technology person” to confirm that you have a complete back up of the practice software. If it requires scheduling an appointment with technology person, do it now because everyone else will be doing it too!
Step 5 – Mid December
Most dental practice software programs do not require a separate year end process. Once December is closed for the month, the program will automatically be triggered to run the year end; however, this won’t happen if the fiscal year isn’t set up properly. Take a minute to confirm that your fiscal year is set January to December in your specific software. This way, you won’t be stressed to figure this out the last day before the holiday begins. VERY IMPORTANT: this is the time that you want to go ahead and input your daily / weekly / annual goals into your software for next year.
Step 6 – Mid December
IF YOU USE DENTRIX: After a fiscal year has been closed, Dentrix detects pending claims created the previous year. By default, all payments posted to these claims are applied to the previous year’s benefits, unless the Adjust Benefits / Deductible boxes (located in the lower right of the Total Insurance Payment window for outstanding claims created during the previous fiscal year) are changed to the current year.
IF YOU USE EAGLESOFT: Set SmartDoc Preferences for End of Month and End of Year Reports.
Go to File | Preferences | SmartDoc tab.
Check EOM Reports and EOY Reports.
Step 7- After the Last Patient Appointment is Closed Out for the Year, All Claims are Filed, Statements are Sent, and all Payments are Posted
The time is finally here. You just have one more report to run before leaving for the year…. Process the end-of-year!
Step 8- Before You Leave for the Year
Look around the office to make sure that all holiday food is taken care of (imagine that yummy spinach dip sitting out until next year… eeewwww!), all payroll is processed, all social media posts are scheduled, and the final year end reports are on the doctor’s desk. Set the answering message to your “office is closed but here’s the emergency number” message. Set the email auto-responder to “office is closed”. Take down the holiday decor and pack it up for next year.
Bottom line is to talk about money with confidence, listen to the patient’s concerns and present options.
To learn more about how to build your perfect team or would like additional hiring tools, contact us today at FrontOfficeCoach@gmail.com or 214-755-0955. For more information about our custom training solutions, visit www.FrontOfficeCoach.com.
About the Author…
Tracy Civick is a nationally recognized speaker, coach, and author who focuses on motivating dental front office teams to grow practice revenue and get a better handle on the daily dental practice front office tasks. Her memberships include The Academy of Dental Management Consultants and AADOM, Academy of Dental Office Managers.