One thing hasn’t changed in the twenty odd years I’ve been involved in dental social media – the perpetual quest for dentists to free themselves from the oppressive grasp of the evil dental insurance industry and become “independent”, charge what they’re “worth” and start “enjoying” their careers again. This has spawned an entire industry of consultants and influencers who promise (for a tidy sum) to lead the beleaguered dentist to the promised land of insurance freedom, replete with hordes of educated, compliant patients willing to plunk down their black American Express Cards to pay for the five-figure comprehensive treatment plan that will be a “life changer”. Of course we never hear from those who have tried this dubious strategy and failed. Conversely, we also never hear from those few dentists who’ve actually embarked on the low fee, insurance-dependent, chair hopping, high volume practice model and lived to tell about it without beating their spouse, imbibing two six packs of beer a day and been committed to a mental institution. With this in mind, here are just some of the benefits of NOT being fee for service:
1. We don’t have to participate in expensive, do nothing post-Halloween candy buybacks.
2. We don’t have to wake up early on a Saturday for our annual free dentistry “event”, which results in coverage on page 26 of the D section of the local newspaper, tennis elbow from extracting dozens of molars and the “team” calling in sick on Monday for the paying patients.
3. We don’t have to hawk our services at all day Saturday health fairs which, of course, coincide with the big college football game of the week and which will result in a bunch of schnorers (Jewish for cheapskates) making off with all of our toothbrush samples.
4. We don’t have to “talk to” a bunch of 7 year olds at the local school who are hoping we won’t stick anything sharp in their mouths and ruin their candy addictions.
5. Instead of staying late at the office making post-op calls to patients who were tough enough to endure “the needle” and suck it up through a one surface composite, we can bolt out the back right after the last patient to partake in our favorite after work hobby, collapsing on the couch and turning on the tube.
6. We can show up late for work, leave early, run behind, ridicule and pretty much do anything we want in our offices without losing patients.
7. We don’t have to send out “welcome packages” to new patients or give them “tours” on their first visit. The less they see, the better.
8. We don’t have to offer late nights, early appointments or the dreaded Saturday no show extravaganzas.
9. We don’t have to offer “sedation” (unless it’s for ourselves), blankets, headphones, virtual reality glasses, aromatherapy or juice bars to calm our patients.
10. We don’t have to provide “value”, education or use phony scripts to get treatment “acceptance”. A simple yes or no (unless you’re in South Florida, which means you’ll need an interpreter for the dozens of languages spoken down here) will do, as long as it takes less than a minute so we don’t fall further behind having a pointless conversation.
Happy new year. Insurance maxes have reset!