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Helping You Succeed as a Dentist

“You set the direction for our profession”

Dr. Waynerd Frederickson

Proper negotiation: Dr. Waynerd Frederickson attempts to negotiate a higher salary during a how-to-negotiate activity in the Pathways To Leadership session at the 28th New Dentist Conference.

Great piece in ADA News about the 28th New Dentist Conference. The headline for this post comes from this speech delivered on Thursday:

“You set the direction for our profession. You decide what our polices are. You decided how we’re going to advocate for our profession,” Dr. Charles Norman, ADA president, said. “All you have to do is speak up, and offer your opinion and support.”

Looking forward to seeing all the great pics from Kansas City!

Building Trust with a New Patient

The 28th New Dentist Conference is in full swing right now in Kansas City, Missouri. A number of CE programs are taking place right now, including Take This Job and Love It! presented by Dr. Mark Hyman.

Earlier this year Dr. Hyman spoke with ADA New Dentist News about people skills new dentists can use in the practice. Here’s one suggestion that stood out for us:

Dr Mark Hyman

Dr. Mark Hyman

“Dentists don’t do themselves any favors by spending the first moments with a new patient asking about insurance coverage,” Dr. Hyman observes. Instead Dr. Hyman thanks the patient for choosing his practice, and asks about the patient’s goals for her smile, her teeth and her health. And, unless the patient is new to the community, he asks why she is no longer seeing her previous dentist.

“The answer might be, ‘He was always pushing me to get a crown.’ So I would reply, ‘do you think you need a crown?’ And I would follow with, ‘as I examine your mouth, if I find evidence of dental disease, do I have your permission to tell you?’ And that takes it out of the realm where I’m the expert here to diagnose and deliver bad news. My approach builds trust because it puts us on the same team working towards the same goals. Once you have truly heard the patient’s goals, the more quickly you can build trust.

You can find more of Dr. Hyman’s tips from ADA New Dentist News here.

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Dr. Hyman will be presenting Drill ‘Em, Fill “Em and Thrill ‘Em in one of the courses offered in the New Dentist Track of CE options at ADA 2014. New dentists (those who graduated from dental school in 2005 or later) receive a 20% discount off of the fee courses that focus on a mixture of business, ergonomic and clinical topics that have been curated by new dentists.

See the entire new dentist track and register for courses here.

Dentistry at a Crossroads

The 28th New Dentist Conference has kicked off with a full day of leadership programming.

ADA Chief Economist, Marko Vujicic, Ph.D., discussed the future dental care system and the key changes on the horizon due to the Affordable Care Act, increased consumerism, shifts in demand for dental care and other factors.

The presentation was informed by an environmental scan the ADA completed that identified these changes. You can read the full document here (PDF) or an executive summary here (PDF).

Take Action on Dental Student Debt

dental student infographicDid you know the average dental school graduate carries $221,000 in student loan debt? While this debt may not be the sole factor in determining whether a new dentist will choose a career of private practice over public service, 68 percent of graduating seniors say it does influence their decision.

The infographic uses data gathered by the American Dental Education Association.  Please take action now and contact your representative about this important issue, please visit ADA.org/Engage.

Apply Now for the 2014 Executive Management Program

open mouthThe ADA and Northwestern University, Kellogg School of Management offers the ADA/Kellogg Executive Management Program exclusively for dentists and their teams.

This intensive business education program curriculum is designed to teach the core principles of an MBA program taught by the same professors in Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management MBA program.

The program meets over 3 sessions; September 19-22, October 24-27 and November 14-18, 2014.  This is not a practice management course.  Here’s the link for more details and the application. Don’t delay — application deadline July 1, 2014.

Tried it — Didn’t Like It

Dr LarryToday is a guest post from one of a pair of married dentists, Dr. Larry Dougherty and Dr. Ana Paula Ferraz-Dougherty.

Tried it — Didn’t Like It

by Dr. Larry Dougherty:

Owning a dental practice is rewarding. Understatement alert: it can also be stressful. This isn’t unique to dentistry; it’s just part of owning a small business. If only there was a perfect cookbook on how to handle every situation, it would be so easy.

There’s no cookbook — we learn as much as we can, we measure and analyze, and we try to course-correct after mistakes. What worked in year one might not continue to work in years two and three.

Here are a few things we used to do – maybe they will work for you, but they didn’t work for us:

  • Stay open late The evening slots were booked weeks in      advance, but the no-show rate was terrible compared to our normal hours.      And our after-hours patients were more interested in emergency/patch up      treatment, not in becoming regular patients to our practice. We also didn’t      enjoy being in the office so late and our productivity declined.
  • Maintain Multiple Vendors When our practice was small, it didn’t seem      like a bad idea to comparison shop between numerous suppliers of the same      products. As we grew, we didn’t have time for all of that. Worse, managing      inventory became confusing. 
  • Micro-manage the Office At first we didn’t have an office manager or a bookkeeper. I tried to do it all myself and realized I was in way over my head. Sure, I’m smart enough to get up to speed, but is that the best use of my time and skills? It made sense in the beginning to do it myself, but the busier we became, the more it made sense to hire professionals and maintain oversight.

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Dr. Larry Dougherty and Dr. Ana Paula Ferraz-Dougherty are the owners of Rolling Oaks Dental in San Antonio, TX.

Independent Contractor or Employee — What Happens with Patient Records?

Dentist Employment Agreement GuideWe’ve blogged before about the difference between classification as an independent contractor vs. as an employee. The difference in classifications has a number of ramifications, including taxes, decisions about how work is to be performed, and other considerations.

The ADA has a new publication — Dentist Employment Agreements: A Guide to Key Legal Provisions that goes into detail about the distinction between the two classifications, and raises a number of issues that could require clarification, including patient records:

Upon termination of the relationship, who will retain patient records? Where will the patient records be stored and how long will they be kept in the event of malpractice litigation? Are there any provisions to access the patient records? Can the dentist make a copy of certain patient records? Generally an employee does not own patient records, where an independent contractor may develop his or her own patient pool and possess ownership rights of patients’ records unless otherwise stipulated in the agreement. If the independent contractor does not possess ownership rights of patients’ records, it is advisable that the independent contractor secure the contractual right to photocopy the records of treated patients to defend in case of a malpractice suit, peer review or dental board action.

Dentist Employment Agreements is not a substitute for a lawyer, but can help you know what questions to ask and discussions to have with your legal advisor. The publication is available from the ADA Center for Professional Success, a member-only resource, exclusively for ADA members. And while you are there, check out the other resources including Be a Great Boss, Checklist for Terminating an Employee and Using Flexible Benefit Plans in your Practice

Practice Ownership — Buy or Build?

Dr LarryJust over 88% of dentists are practice owners, either as solo practitioners or partners. For almost every dentist, ownership becomes a consideration at some point in his or her career.

Does it make more sense to buy an existing practice or start from scratch? ADA New Dentist Now has been asking new dentists what choice they made and why.

Today is a guest post from one of a pair of married dentists, Dr. Larry Dougherty and Dr. Ana Paula Ferraz-Dougherty.

We Built by Dr. Larry Dougherty:

My wife and I chose to do a startup rather than buy an existing practice. Here’s why:

Our Vision: I wanted to start a practice that was built on the vision we had for a dental practice, not shape someone else’s vision into what we wanted.

MBA on the Fly: Supplies, insurance, managing staff – I knew next to nothing about the business side of dentistry even after working several years as an associate. We knew we wanted to develop business systems, not inherit the systems of another dentist, and the slow rhythm of a startup’s early days were an ideal time to understand everything at a deep level.

Pick Your Unknowns: We got advice about what numbers to look for when assessing practices, but I didn’t know what any of that all really meant. Plus, I’d heard enough horror stories of dentists not getting what they expected from practice purchases. Psychologically, you need to decide for yourself: which set of complete unknowns am I more comfortable with?

I’d Do it all Again. Our colleagues that purchased practices probably made more money than we did during those first years of ownership. On the other hand we learned lessons that will serve us well in the long run. There’s a lot of pride that comes with building something from scratch, and that experience can’t be purchased.

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Dr. Larry Dougherty and Dr. Ana Paula Ferraz-Dougherty are the owners of Rolling Oaks Dental in San Antonio, TX.

They gave me an employment contract — now what?

signing a documentThe ADA has a new publication — Dentist Employment Agreements: A Guide to Key Legal Provisions. It’s not a substitute for a lawyer, but can help you know what questions to ask and discussions to have with your legal advisor. Some of the topics covered include:

  • The differences between employees and independent contractors
  • Salary, commission, bonuses and benefits
  • What’s a non-compete clause? And how is it different from non-solicitation?
  • Using mediation and/or arbitration to resolve disputes
  • Points to consider when hiring a lawyer to review an employment agreement

Dentist Employment Agreements is available from the ADA Center for Professional Success, a member-only resource, exclusively for ADA members. And while you are there, check out the other resources including Be a Great Boss, Checklist for Terminating an Employee and Using Flexible Benefit Plans in your Practice

One simple trick to improve your experience at networking events

LeadershipWe are well underway with plans for the ADA 28th New Dentist Conference taking place in Kansas City, Missouri July 17-19, 2014 at Sheraton Kansas City Hotel at Crown Center (registration is open now!)

One of the great benefits of the conference is the ability to network with new dentists from across the country, as well as with key ADA leaders. But we know that not everyone is immediately comfortable in a networking environment.

We came across this great list at The Daily Muse of 21 Ways to Make Networking Less Scary and More Fun. Here’s one tip that stood out for us:

Approach Pairs, Not Singles

“If you see a pair of people talking, the chances are that they arrived together and know they should be mingling. Or else they’ve just met and are, in the back of their minds, worried that they’re going to end up talking to this one person all night. (You’ve just made it easier for one of them to exit.) Either way, they’re relieved to see you. And your chances of having a decent conversation are better, because now you’re talking to two people, not just one.”

What about you — do you have any strategies that work well in a networking event? Leave your answers in the comments.