Dentaltown December 2021 - 12

professional courtesy
column
The PPO Pay Cut
December is a time to celebrate the year and to
begin thinking about the one ahead. I hope you take the
time to celebrate with your teams, because many offi ces
skipped doing so in 2020 thanks to coronavirus-related
rules and restrictions. (Last year, our team had a private
party at a cooking school, where we learned some new
techniques and prepared a delicious meal. As I write this
column, our plans for 2021 are still in the works, but I
know we'll fi nd the right venue for a proper celebration.)
The pandemic has been tough on our practices
for many reasons and while it is slowing down, the
road ahead will hold some very real challenges to our
practices' fi nancial health.
Two items caught my eye reading the paper in the
past two weeks: a full-page ad from Bank of America
announcing its new $21 hourly minimum wage, with a
plan to reach $25 by 2025, and an article indicating the
hourly minimum wage at Starbucks will be $15-$23
(based on local market), with a company-wide average
of $17. These two companies are competing for the
same reliable, customer-focused talent that you need
in a dental offi ce. Add the fact they can offer benefi ts
that most offi ces couldn't afford, and you have a real
challenge fi nding great people.
You may not need to hire right now, but you should
consider raises or adding benefi ts to stay competitive. You
don't need to look far to see news about worker shortages,
inflation and a shortage of many goods (including
products we use in our practices). Bottom line: A big
chunk of your overhead is going to increase in 2022.
At this point, most practice owners want to know
when they're getting a raise to cover their increased living
expenses. The simple answer is raising your fees, but
participation in PPO plans makes
that solution much less effective.
While PPO fee schedules provide
some increases over time, they're
often inadequate to keep pace with
rising costs. The result is a pay cut
for the last person in the practice to
get paid-the owner. Looking ahead
to 2022, I've started taking a deeper
dive into my participation with PPOs.
When I started my practice from scratch 20 years
ago, participation in PPOs was a necessity to " be
found " by the many new residents moving to Phoenix
from all over the country. So many communities have
seen population shifts because of cost of living, the
rise of remote work and other factors. Once you have
an established practice, you will fi nd that patients fi nd
you more often by other means-neighbors, co-workers
and online reviews, to name a few.
The first step in my analysis of the four PPOs
I participate in was generating a list of the 20 most
frequently used codes and creating a spreadsheet showing
the fees allowed by each plan, alongside my full fee. The
sum of these 20 items provided an index that let me see
the total discount when compared with my offi ce fees.
The math was staggering. My resolution for 2022 is
to drop one or more PPOs because they have not kept
up with the rate of infl ation and wage pressures in the
marketplace today. I know some patients will leave the
practice as a result, which is the most diffi cult part of
my decision because our relationships are more than
simple transactions. Beyond the fi nancial pressures,
my decision is motivated by the fact that my practice is
consistently hitting some capacity limits. Many would
tell me to hire more people, add more operatories or
move to a bigger building, but in the limited space of
this column, I can only say that I've contemplated all
options and this is the best option for my situation.
I know others are in the same predicament, and I hope
this message has provided you with the encouragement
to explore your options moving forward. The math is
getting more complicated, and the pressures that young
dentists face with relation to their ratio of debt to income
is scary. Patients may be frustrated in the short term,
but at the end of the day, they'll either decide to pay
a bit more to go to a place they love or they'll accept
lower quality for the sake of price. After all, isn't this
what people do when they continue to buy Starbucks
each time they increase their prices?
If you have a PPO-dropping story to share, please
post it in the comments section of this article online.
I can be reached by email at tom@dentaltown.com.
Happy New Year! ■
by Thomas Giacobbi, DDS, FAGD, editorial director, Dentaltown magazine
12 DECEMBER 2021 // dentaltown.com
http://www.dentaltown.com

Dentaltown December 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Dentaltown December 2021

Howard Speaks: Making a Different Kind of 5-Year Plan
Professional Courtesy: The PPO Pay Cut
Continuing Education Update
Poll: Clinical Technology
Message Board: Trying to Push Myself and Pushed Myself Too Far.
Message Board: Worn Dentition, Composite Rehab
Office Visit: Dr. Ross Oberschlake
Let's Get Digital — Dr. Robin Henderson
Seeing Is Believing — Dr. Kristen Andrews
Ad Index
The Rules of the Game — Jay Geier
2021 Dentaltown Townie Choice Awards
Dentaltown December 2021 - 1
Dentaltown December 2021 - Cover1
Dentaltown December 2021 - Cover2
Dentaltown December 2021 - 1
Dentaltown December 2021 - 2
Dentaltown December 2021 - 3
Dentaltown December 2021 - 4
Dentaltown December 2021 - 5
Dentaltown December 2021 - 6
Dentaltown December 2021 - 7
Dentaltown December 2021 - 8
Dentaltown December 2021 - 9
Dentaltown December 2021 - Howard Speaks: Making a Different Kind of 5-Year Plan
Dentaltown December 2021 - 11
Dentaltown December 2021 - Professional Courtesy: The PPO Pay Cut
Dentaltown December 2021 - 13
Dentaltown December 2021 - Continuing Education Update
Dentaltown December 2021 - 15
Dentaltown December 2021 - Poll: Clinical Technology
Dentaltown December 2021 - 17
Dentaltown December 2021 - 18
Dentaltown December 2021 - 19
Dentaltown December 2021 - Message Board: Trying to Push Myself and Pushed Myself Too Far.
Dentaltown December 2021 - 21
Dentaltown December 2021 - 22
Dentaltown December 2021 - 23
Dentaltown December 2021 - 24
Dentaltown December 2021 - 25
Dentaltown December 2021 - Message Board: Worn Dentition, Composite Rehab
Dentaltown December 2021 - 27
Dentaltown December 2021 - 28
Dentaltown December 2021 - 29
Dentaltown December 2021 - Office Visit: Dr. Ross Oberschlake
Dentaltown December 2021 - 31
Dentaltown December 2021 - 32
Dentaltown December 2021 - 33
Dentaltown December 2021 - 34
Dentaltown December 2021 - 35
Dentaltown December 2021 - 36
Dentaltown December 2021 - 37
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Dentaltown December 2021 - 40
Dentaltown December 2021 - 41
Dentaltown December 2021 - 42
Dentaltown December 2021 - 43
Dentaltown December 2021 - Let's Get Digital — Dr. Robin Henderson
Dentaltown December 2021 - 45
Dentaltown December 2021 - 46
Dentaltown December 2021 - 47
Dentaltown December 2021 - 48
Dentaltown December 2021 - 49
Dentaltown December 2021 - 50
Dentaltown December 2021 - 51
Dentaltown December 2021 - Seeing Is Believing — Dr. Kristen Andrews
Dentaltown December 2021 - 53
Dentaltown December 2021 - 54
Dentaltown December 2021 - 55
Dentaltown December 2021 - 56
Dentaltown December 2021 - Ad Index
Dentaltown December 2021 - The Rules of the Game — Jay Geier
Dentaltown December 2021 - 59
Dentaltown December 2021 - 60
Dentaltown December 2021 - 61
Dentaltown December 2021 - 62
Dentaltown December 2021 - 63
Dentaltown December 2021 - 2021 Dentaltown Townie Choice Awards
Dentaltown December 2021 - 65
Dentaltown December 2021 - 66
Dentaltown December 2021 - 67
Dentaltown December 2021 - 68
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Dentaltown December 2021 - Cover3
Dentaltown December 2021 - Cover4
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