Dr. Benjamin Kur of Westchester Oral & Maxillofacial Associates Decreases Over 90-day Aging by 94%
Dr. Benjamin Kur opened his practice in Westchester County, NY in 2009. By all key measures (e.g., total patient visits, gross production, net collections), he was building an extremely successful and thriving practice, quadrupling in five years. He had expanded the office to accommodate more patients, increased his team of patient coordinators, and hired a part-time employee to handle insurance billing and collections.
However, another key measure had grown by a whopping six times, and not in a good way. Dr. Kur’s practice had adjusted and written off roughly $3 million worth of services and products over those first five years.
Over the next few years, despite dedicating two full-time employees, he continued to be frustrated by the inefficiency and ineffectiveness of the billing process in his office, and the level of adjustments and write-offs annually remained unacceptable. Even worse, he knew his patients were suffering; communications with other doctors’ offices and overall supportive patient care was not up to his expectations, and patients were unhappy about how insurance and billing was being handled and communicated.
Dr. Kur brought eAssist Dental Solutions on board in late 2017, and has been enjoying significantly higher collections ever since… and so much more. He now summarizes his relationship with eAssist as synergistic. From his vantagepoint, “eAssist has transformed my practice to a point where patients tell me it has been a pleasure working with my office and my staff.”
Setting Up for Success
By 2018 Dr. Kur’s team had grown to four full-time surgical care coordinators, an office manager, and three remote “eAssisters.” Right from the start, he had eAssist take over not just Insurance Billing, but also Patient Billing and Insurance Verification, stating, “I can’t tell you how utterly relieved I was to now have the billing portion of my practice completely outside of my office, and in the hands of professionals.”
I can’t tell you how utterly relieved I was to now have the billing portion of my practice completely outside of my office, and in the hands of professionals.
From the very beginning, Dr. Kur trusted and embraced eAssist as a vital part of the practice; valuing the relationship, and never treating them as outside contractors. Through his leadership, he helped existing staff understand and buy into the concept that eAssist was not coming on board to take their jobs. But rather, to off-load the complex and time-consuming functions that were preventing the in-office staff from providing the best possible patient care.
It quickly became apparent to everyone that eAssist was there to help — to collaborate, to be reliable and relied upon, and to be fully engaged team members. In turn, existing staff were reallocated specific job responsibilities on which they could now focus full time.
MEET DR. BENJAMIN KUR
- American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
- Diplomate American College of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
- Diplomate National Board of Anesthesiology
- Albert Einstein College of Medicine 2006
- SUNY Stony Brook School of Dental Medicine 2002
- University of Michigan 1996
Dr. Kur describes the most impactful changes and improvements as follows:
Significantly Higher Collections – eAssisters used proven processes and techniques and perseverance to systematically chip away at the large outstanding balances, committed to:
- Collect 100% of what is rightfully owed to the practice
- Submit clean claims for payment within 24 hours
- Post all payments to patient ledgers within 24 hours
- Follow up at least every 14 days on claims 30+ days in aging
- Reduce over-90-day balances to zero
In addition, Dr. Kur now works directly with the eAssist team to stay in control of patients in collections, using a very systematic protocol. He admits that at times he gives more financial latitude than a lot of other practices or businesses, but he wouldn’t have it any other way.
Key Financial Information / Accountability – eAssist is accountable to provide daily, weekly and monthly reports that let Dr. Kur understand at-a-glance the status of his cash flow, based on “nearly real time” billing and collections activities. He says, “The amount of information that I get now from eAssist vs. what I never received before, is unbelievable!”
Efficiency & Productivity - Once billing responsibilities were separated from surgical and patient care responsibilities, each team member has been able to accomplish their own role with much greater focus, efficiency and productivity.
Patient & Doctor Communication — In addition to accuracy, emphasis is also now on immediacy of patient communication.
- Coordinators are freed up to prepare and communicate treatment plans within 48 hours maximum, if not by the time the patient leaves the office. They immediately follow up with a letter, email or phone call, including the insurance benefits verification done “instantly” by eAssist.
- This process has proven especially beneficial when treating emergency patients; the surgical team is able to focus on caring for the patient, while eAssisters quickly determine the correct amount to be collected.
- Dr. Kur went on to say, “The communication between our office staff and other doctors’ offices has completely transformed; because of the information we now have, there’s no office lag, and we can provide a quick and smooth appointment process for the patient.”
- Patient “encounters” in the office are now few and far between because of the accurate insurance information they have available, combined with the staff’s renewed focus on the patient in front of them. “This creates trust with our patients who can see we’re on top of their insurance/finance and healthcare needs” said Dr. Kur.
Pre-eAssist vs. Current(18 months)
|Insurance Aging||% Change|
|0-30 Days||6% Increase|
|31-60 Days||44% Decrease|
|61-90 Days||6% Decrease|
|91+ Days||94% Decrease|
|Overall Total||72% Decrease|
|Adjustments / Write-offs||29% Decrease|
Increased Patient Satisfaction, Reviews and Referrals– Patient satisfaction is way up, compelling Dr. Kur to ramp up marketing efforts to increase the number of online patient reviews, saying, “That’s the first thing patients look at when they get referred to a doctor; I don’t care who you are, these days you’re googling that doctor.” In addition, referrals from patients themselves (not just referring general dentists) have greatly increased, particularly impressive for a specialist.
Team Communications – Dr. Kur attests that with the right processes in place, and full transparency and trust, staying connected to a remote team is seamless.
- eAssisters provide a “Daily Log” for the in-office team.
- Using Google Chat, Dr. Kur and the others chat online with eAssist team members multiple times a day with urgent questions, or to immediately address and resolve issues.
- Decision-making as a Team: Dr. Kur holds formal conference calls with the entire team at least bimonthly to review status against goals, problem-solve, share ideas, and set new goals. As a result, his practice has developed and piloted several creative programs not being done elsewhere. He says, “They’re successful because of our communication; we know what we want to do, the protocols we need to follow, and what’s expected of each of us. In turn, the patients are satisfied and happy.”
- All team members work together to continuously improve efficiency and accuracy, e.g., updated fee schedules in order to maintain a handle on true A/R, complete and correct insurance profiles, and detailed and complete narratives with special circumstances noted.
Treatment Plan Acceptance – An outcome of all of the above that has proven beneficial to not only the business, but to the health and well-being of his patients is the significant increase in treatment plan acceptance.
Building on Success
Impressed with the success of processes so far, combined with the expertise of the eAssisters and the support of the company behind them, Dr. Kur asked the eAssist team to take over preparation of treatment plans… a first for an eAssist client.
In addition to the insurance verification, eAssisters now prepare patient treatment plans. Working with the in-office staff, a plan is accurately and efficiently documented and communicated to the patient within 48 hours, including remaining insurance benefits. Dr. Kur reports, “Treatment plan acceptance has skyrocketed with this protocol, especially for emergency patients.”
Building on Vision
Dr. Kur is already changing the narrative about how general dentists typically refer patients just within their own “in-house” network. Instead, Dr. Kur’s practice has taken over that coordination by working with other specialists directly, as well as the GP. According to Dr. Kur, “We refer out nearly $1 million a year in business. We are able to control that narrative so we can better control the patient’s care.”
His vision is to further transform the industry, with eAssist as a partner. As Dr. Kur explains, “Patients want to know ‘What is this going to cost?’ So when a patient comes in for an implant, for example, my coordinators will work with eAssist to determine and communicate not just the benefits the patient has for my plan, but the remaining benefits they will have for the GP to do the restore, or other appropriate treatment. This will allow the patient to budget properly, with full understanding of what benefits were used, and where.”
Dr. Kur knows once the information is provided by his office, the patient will be reliant on his team to lead the way down the entire surgical path, restoration path, or whatever is needed. As he put it, “The communication is complete, the line is drawn from A to Z, and there’s no confusion.” He also knows other doctors’ offices will get used to his office doing that work, and will come to want and even expect it.
Don’t Sell – Do Select the Right Partner
Not shy about combating the corporate dentistry mindset, Dr. Kur advises any practitioner considering selling their practice because of their frustration and lack of control over the billing and collection function – which in turn, severely impacts patient care and net profits -- to “think again; the solution is to separate billing from the brick-and-mortar office with the right billing partner… and that partner is eAssist Dental Solutions.”