Billing for Other Services and Products
Dental practices usually earn revenue by billing patients for their procedures. Albeit, they still have to deal with any raised costs and additional regulations of overhead (Hartley 2012). To pay for these costs and make potential revenue, they can provide other services and products.
For instance, they can bill them for any missing appointments. Missed or cancelled appointments contributes to decreased revenue from production (McGuire 2014). While bills for these events could help prevent them, the practice could “waive this fee in instances of family emergency, first offense, or if they fill a cancellation last minute for [the practice] (McGuire 2014; Hartley 2012). They should inform all patients about this bill on their “website and in any written financial or treatment plan agreements” (DuCharme 2016). While this bill may prevent broken appointments, some patients may dislike them (DuCharme 2016). Dentists can send claims for any missed or canceled appointments to insurance companies, “but it doesn’t mean they’re covered benefits under a policy” (DuCharme 2016).
In addition to fees for missed or cancelled appointments, dentists can also have a fee for Oral Hygiene Instructions (OHI) (Hartley 2012). Though, the fee should be justified, depending on the process and length of the OHI (Brown 2017). For instance, when providing OHI to the patient, dentists have to “make a diagnosis, inform the patient of that diagnosis, disclose… get a biofilm index, get a baseline of current habits, tell-show-do any habits [they] want to add to the regimen and then provide good documentation” (Brown 2017). If it also lasts around 10-15 minutes, then dentists should bill patients the fee for OHI, which “could be covered 1 time per year” by an insurance company (Brown 2017).
Dentists could also earn revenue by selling any homecare products. While some dentists could offer patients “free toothbrushes, floss, and/or toothpaste after a recare appointment,” dentists still have to spend money on these products to give to patients (Hartley 2012). Instead, they could offer a variety of products for sale, such as toothbrushes, toothpaste, “Antihalitosis products,” “Tongue cleaners,” items “not available in stores,” and much more (Schechter 2000a). They could offer them at costs higher, lower, or equal to “the suggested retail price” (Schechter 2000b). The clinics’ staff members should teach them how to use them so that patients can better care of their teeth at home with their new tools (Schechter 2000a). With excellent products for sale in the clinic, patients would associate them with excellent dentistry (Schechter 2000a). They may also appreciate that dentists are investing in their homecare, resulting in more treatment acceptance and referrals that contribute to the practice’s revenue (Schechter 2000a). The financial benefits of these products depend on “the size of the practice and the attitudes of the dentist and staff” (Schechter 2000b).
Some of these services could help dentists “‘pay for extra time or equipment/materials’” and earn more revenue (Hartley 2012). Dentists should still provide excellent work and dental education to attract and retain patients (Hartley 2012).