More than one dentist in your practice? Be sure you’re paying them correctly


How you enter payments affects dentist compensation in groups (even for 2 DDS)

I received a phone call recently from an associate dentist wondering if he was being paid correctly because he noticed that although his production was higher than the senior dentist, his collection was lower. This seemed to be a trend over the past several months and he thought it might be worth taking a look.

Super nice guy, this associate dentist had a nice relationship with the senior dentist and he felt good about the very experienced office staff as well, but just wanted to see if perhaps something was wrong with the software or the process. Sounded like a good question to me!

Senior dentist overpaid by $1 million?

After running some reports in their Dentrix software, I found that the senior dentist was overpaid by almost $1 million – while the hygienists were underpaid by over $650,000. Happily, the associate dentist was owed about $15,000 so he’s being paid just fine. In talking with the very-experienced front office staff, we agreed that they were entering payments correctly – making sure to pay each provider that was owed money. This put to rest the major concerns of the dentist – but still, what about the almost $1 million overpayment money?

It turns out that in the past (their senior dentist has been practicing over 30 years) payments were made to the dentist only and not to the hygienists. Since this dentist was practicing solo, it really didn’t matter how the payments were allocated – all the money was going into the dentist’s bank account anyway. Then, when the associate dentist joined the practice a few years ago, and he was being paid salary, it still did not affect anyone’s paycheck if the office staff entered payments for the senior dentist only.

It matters how you enter payments

However, as soon as the associate dentist made the decision to buy into the practice and therefore the compensation agreement changed – now it makes all the difference how the payments are entered! Here’s an example:

If the associate dentist is charged out for a crown he restores for a patient, but the payment is entered for the senior dentist – the patient account will show a $0 balance and no one will ever see that one dentist did the work while another dentist was paid for it! And, since most offices seem to run a day sheet to determine collections for the month and then pay the dentist based on that collections number – dentist’s pay is affected by how the payments are entered.

Dentist’s pay is affected by payment allocation

If you’re wondering how your office is doing on entering payments accurately – run a Provider Credits report in your Dentrix software. Hopefully, you don’t find that one provider is upside down by almost $1 million! If you’d like a hand to check out how your practice is doing, just give me a call or send me an email.

And, if you are working in a multi-location group practice, you may be interested to read how one group increased its profits over $500,000 in just one year:

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Entering payments correctly is just one way to run a successful dental practice. If you’re interested in new ideas on running a dental practice, please subscribe to my weekly blog. One of the biggest challenges to managing a dental practice is managing dental insurance. With dental insurance handled, then dental marketing for new patients becomes a primary focus. In today’s day of online reviews, handling patient complaints well is essential. As your practice grows, hiring dental staff becomes more important. With 16+ years of dental practice management experience, I’m open to your questions to help you run a successful dental office.

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AUTHOR: Jill Nesbitt
1 Comment
  • C. Smith dds

    This reminds me of a quote by Crosby, one of the founders of modern quality control “In God we trust-everyone else bring your numbers”. Maybe I should add “Dentrix numbers, consultant verified numbers”.

    July 23, 2014