Everyday executives at DSOs work to solve challenges across their organization ranging from streamlining operations to reducing costs to fighting staffing shortages to expanding access to care and growing their revenue. It’s no secret that finding the time for it all and prioritizing what is most important is a constant battle that many large dental organizations face day after day.
In a recent webinar with the ADSO, we sat down with Tom Marshall, VP of Payer Strategy at Smile Brands to learn more about why offering a membership plan was a top priority for their organization and how it proved to be a profitable business decision that impacted their entire business. Hear the story for yourself by watching the webinar, on-demand.
Read on below to see some of the different ways Tom Marshall explains the benefits of implementing dental membership plans and the impact it can have on your organization.
9 Ways to Strengthen Your Bottom Line with a Membership Plan:
Provide Greater Access to Regular Care
“As we enter into potential recession times, and we see staff cutbacks, we are going to be working with more and more patients that don’t have dental insurance, so we see dental membership plans as a key part of filling that gap and providing access to regular care.”
Provide Consistency Across Locations within an Organization
“The traditional term we see with this is what we call discretionary discounting…without a discount plan it’s really hard to be consistent in your practice’s with patients. You can give one neighbor one discount and another no discount and eventually they talk and it can lead to your practice getting a bad name, and that’s that. As a DSO, it’s very important for us to have consistent pricing and offer consistent discounting, and do it in a way that makes sense and with structure, in a way that benefits both patients and providers.”
Offer Greater Patient Value and Easier Budget Planning
“For a low membership fee, patients can get a great deal of discounts and benefits, and it ends up being better value than traditional insurance because they only pay for what they use and aren’t continuously paying for premiums. Discount plans also give patients a lot of price control so they know what they are going to pay. Once they have their treatment plans, they can manage their budget a little better and complete their work over time. Many practices will put together treatment plans that meet their needs in terms of time management and with controlled costs. Membership plans are a great solution to address these issues.”
Increase Treatment Acceptance and Patient Retention
“For patients who have maybe recently lost dental insurance or never had it in the first place, it’s important to help them understand that they can align with a treatment plan and can receive care with a regular program, in a way that is affordable and will meet their needs economically. A lot of patients who pay cash can oftentimes be challenging when it comes to treatment acceptance. A new patient discount doesn’t always lead to treatment acceptance and patient retention, but with a discount plan that is often prevented, and you can decrease a lot of that bounce and churn from new patients.”
Increase Patient Value with Specialized Services
“Many successful programs include speciality care when they have access to it and aren’t referring out those services.”
Enhance Overall Patient Experience
“One of the things that can shock patients that have dental insurance are the limitations, restrictions, authorizations, and waiting periods…Most definitely the membership plans enhance the patient experience, it’s a bit of an icing on the cake…Financial transactions are the last touchpoint before a patient leaves and potentially comes back to your office..It really does increase treatment plan acceptance with cash paying patients..It’s a great way to improve the experience and provide more value for your patients.”
Reduce Burden on the Staff
“Membership plans may be new to learn, creating some resistance, but once the staff understand the value, see that they have a solution for managing cash patients, they have something tangible to offer them, and experience how easy the interface makes it to manage - they get excited about the solution.. It really reduces the burden on the staff. Aligning your team with the vision of how it will make their lives easier in the future is the key to overcoming any hesitancy.”
Increase Revenue on an Annualized Basis
“With service revenue generated, what tends to happen, when you get that case acceptance and you avoid people turning around because they have sticker shock., They want to get on a good oral health plan but have been put off by costs in the past. When there is smooth delivery of that option, they are going to align with the plan to have their needs met which results in greater revenue on an annualized basis than what you would with a traditional cash patient.”
Offer Scale at Ease
“As a small org, the tendency is to be chief cook and bottle washer and to not understand and value external partners as much and it’s almost always a cost driven decision. But what’s not being computed are the soft dollar cost of doing things on your own and the value of having an expert partner along with great tools for your staff. As a smaller group, it’s important to have these things cooked up for you rather than having to invent them and it’s a great way for large organizations to achieve scale.”
Want to talk with our team about a membership plan for your DSO? Book a consultation to start the conversation today!