Page 1


The Official News Magazine for Dental Office Managers

page 9

Also in this issue: •Empower Yourself to Make a Difference in Your Practice (page 6)

•P  ut On a New Hat and Rock Those Boots! (page 18)

• Do You Collect at Least 96% of Your Production? (page 21)


Course Descriptions, Registration Information & More About This Year's Conference in September!

Spring 2011 Volume 7 • Issue 1

AADOM MAIN SPONSORS –2011 Patterson Dental – DIAMOND, 3rd year Official Technology Solution Provider, Official Front Office Solution Provider "As the Diamond Sponsor to AADOM, we not only understand the importance of the Dental Office Manager but are excited to see how this role is becoming such a key position in today's dental practices.  The perspective of today's Dental Office Manager is critical to how we assure we are offering the best products and services to our customers.  We are proud of the partnership we have with AADOM that allows us to provide educational opportunities to AADOM members all over the country.  We recognize the more educated and equipped the Dental Office Manager is, the more successful the practice." — Kim McQueen, Patterson Dental


Mercury Data Exchange (MDE) – EMERALD, 2nd year Official Insurance Clearinghouse "MDE appreciates the critical role the dental office manager plays in the success of a practice.  Office manager feedback is invaluable to us and will help us to develop even more innovative tools for managing the dental revenue cycle.  Because there is no single route to the role of office manager, more educational opportunities are needed.  We are proud to support AADOM in its mission to provide such necessary education and training."—Laura Edwards, MDE

1-800-Dentist – RUBY, 1st year Official New Activator "Millions of patient leads from 1-800-DENTIST have been placed into the capable hands of office managers at our member offices. Without their skilled, friendly and professional handling of every patient lead that comes to the office, our company wouldn’t have been able to thrive for the last 25 years matching patients with dental practices. Office managers are the engineers of the practice experience, the vital core of every dental practice, and it is extremely important that they are given Official New every opportunity to learn and grow to continue to improve every aspect of a dental Patient Activator practice. That’s why we support AADOM and the incredible amount of education and growth opportunities they provide office managers.”—Fred Joyal, Vice Chairman and Co-Founder, 1-800-DENTIST  

CareCredit – FOUNDING SPONSOR, 6th year Endorsed Patient Financing Company "CareCredit has proudly supported the AADOM since it was founded in 2003.  Its members are leaders in their practices, fulfilling many roles, including helping patients access the care they want and need.  We share this desire - and the goal to help educate members on the best practices in their profession to help them accomplish this." —Kirk Sweigard, Sr. Business Development Manager, CareCredit

It is through these valuable relationships that AADOM continues to surpass the expectations of our members, grow their educational offerings and move forward as a united voice in dentistry as the only nationwide advocate for dental office manager’s networking and education. If it wasn’t for the willingness of these sponsors to go above and beyond for our association we would not be in the position we are to help dental office managers advance in their careers.  A sincere thank you to our sponsors for all their hard work on behalf of AADOM, we couldn’t do it without you. —Heather Colicchio, President, AADOM

Message From the President by Heather Colicchio

hen I started AADOM almost 8 years ago, it was me, myself and I. I was CEO and floor sweeper - and happy to do both! Never did I imagine that the Association would grow to the point it has now where I have recently had both the honor and the privilege of assembling an Executive Team to work with, but that is exactly what happened at the beginning of this year. Please visit the "About Us" section of our website ( to learn more about the AADOM Executive Team and how each team member's special expertise and talents will help AADOM continue to grow to be the strongest association in the country for the increased professional development and education of dental office managers. Congratulations to Melissa Meredith, Director of Operations at Central Arkansas Dental Associates, Inc., and AADOM's OFFICE MANAGER OF THE YEAR!! Voted the 'Best of the Best' by her peers and industry leaders, Melissa graces our cover and you can learn more about Melissa on page 9.

CONFERENCE!! Just the word makes me smile! I LOVE the AADOM Annual Conference, as do so many of our members and supporters. The 7th Annual Dental Managers Conference is particularly early this year: September 8-10, 2011 in Nashville so make your plans now!! Our speaker line-up this year is absolutely unsurpassed with Kathy Metaxas, our internationally renowned Keynote Speaker, joining us all the way from Australia! Go to page 14 to read more about the conference.

I am very pleased with the second session of the AADOM Virtual Study Club (VSC), which started earlier this year. 74 dedicated office managers meet virtually once a month, facilitated by Teresa Duncan, FAADOM and taught by dentistry's top management experts, mem- We also look forward to inducting our 2nd class of Fellows in Sepbers of the VSC learn about what is new in dental practice manage- tember. If you would like to learn more about the AADOM Fellowment by meeting virtually once a month and by continuing the con- ship Program or are looking for AADOM approved CE courses, be versation all year long on their private website. The VSC has exceeded sure to visit all of my expectations, as well as it's members.

Hope to see y'all in Nashville! Enjoy!

Our Mission Statement The American Association of Dental Office Managers (AADOM) is an organization of professional office managers, patient coordinators, insurance coordinators and financial coordinators of general and specialized dental practices. It is the goal of the Association to create and maintain a network of dental office managers throughout the country in order to share resources and information to achieve the highest level of professional development. Unlike other associations that cater primarily to medical practices and treat dental practices as an afterthought, we at AADOM know and understand the specific needs of dentists, dental surgeons and the professional staffs that make their offices run.

This magazine produced by RLM Healthcare Marketing, Inc. Please visit for more information.

The Observer | Spring 2011 1

Volume 7, Issue 1, Spring 2011 Table of Contents Message from the President


The Evolution of the Dental Office Manager by Deanna Alexander, FAADOM


Triage: A Front Office Responsibility? by Donald A. Crumb, DDS


Empower Yourself to Make a Difference in Your Practice by Brian Cutler


2010 Office Manager of the Year: Melissa Meredith


Not Just Another Day at the Front Desk: The Business Team’s Role in Medical Emergencies by Larry J. Sangrik, DDS


The Transformational Trainer


by Katherine Eitel

7th Annual Dental Office Managers Conference Course Descriptions


Put On a New Hat and Rock Those Boots! by Ginny Hegarty, SPHR


Do You Collect at Least 96% of Your Production? by Allen B. Bostrom, CPA


The Toolbox for a Successful Office Manager by Rhonda Smith Darnell


Top Myths About Real-Time Processing Forget What You've Heard About Real-Time by Erick Paul


AADOM Membership Form



AADOM Lifetime Members


Your AADOM Membership! Call 732.842.9977 today

to check your membership status. 2 The Observer | Spring 2011

Join us in Nashville at the fabulous Gaylord Opryland resort hotel for this year's 7th Annual Dental Office Managers Conference! Don't miss this "must attend" networking and educational event for dental care professionals—and don't wait, last year's event sold out!

For details or to register, visit or call 732-842-9977. See you in Music City U.S.A.!!

The Evolution of the Dental Office Manager by Deanna Alexander, AADOM Member, Fellow of American Association Dental Office Managers (FAADOM)


t is amazing to see the change over the years in my role as a dental office manager. I began as a dental office receptionist and I have been with this office since 1976. Prior to Dr. Sadler the practice was formerly owned by another dentist. He was happy with two patients in the morning, and two in the afternoon. In between patients he loved to sit in his office rocking chair, read the paper, drink his iced tea, and smoke his pipe. The staff had to make sure we kept his iced tea refilled!

In 1978, Dr. Sadler purchased the prac- of managing the front office on my own. tice and a few years later promoted me I will never forget the time when Dr. to Dental Office Manager. He saw the Sadler told me it is time to begin thinkpotential of having an office manager. ing about a computer, along with giving First I want to recognize and thank Dr. me the responsibility to shop around for Sadler for his confidence in me through a software system. (What’s a software systhe years, allowing me to grow in the tem???) My first thought was, “I will be constantly changing dental world. He replaced for sure!” This was around 1990. always believed and trusted in my deci- I decided to take an evening course at sion making, and had confidence in me Lansing Community College on “Introknowing I would be able to learn each duction to Computers”. new phase of technology that came our way. He was always open to I will never forget the time sending me to continuing educawhen Dr. Sadler told me it is tions courses through the years. I time to begin thinking about grew tremendously in my dental career and have him to thank for this! a computer, along with giving

me the responsibility to shop

in the next couple of years. I fought not wanting to do electronic fund transfer with the insurance. Finally I gave in last September, and I never had a regretful moment since then. I have also seen the changes in the clinical area. The first big change was going from not wearing gloves to gloves. The staff was in an uproar! I recall sitting in a seminar in the mid 90’s, and hearing that the new century was going to be all about cosmetic dentistry. I thought, “I don’t think so, not in our area.” I am eating my words today! I enjoy what I do, I love the challenges! We have a wonderful staff. We all work as a great team and go through the changes together. Also I really have enjoyed becoming good friends with many of our patients. Watching many grow from being a child, to growing and having a family of their own, now their children are coming to us.

In the beginning, I had all the rearound for a software system. sponsibilities of managing the front (What’s a software system???) office on my own, along with having to develop the x-rays in the My first thought was, “dark room” for the clinical staff. All “I will be replaced for sure!” of my duties were done manually or handwritten. They consisted of using the pegboard system (with carbon By 1992 we had a computer software paper), manually entering patient fees system! I survived!!! The office was growon ledger cards, and individually copy- ing, and realized it was time to hire a I have been a member of the American ing the ledger cards for monthly billing scheduling coordinator. My responsibili- Association of Dental Office Managers to mail out. ties became more complex with HIPAA, since 2006. This is a wonderful associaOSHA, changes in human resource laws, tion for office managers to network. I Insurance forms were handwritten. It collection laws, employee management. recently graduated in their Fellowship was heaven when Dr. Sadler purchased program. I only wish an association for an electric typewriter for me! Our ap- Today we are currently changing over my position was available as far back as pointment book was almost the length to our third software system, electronic when I began my career. Our position of my desk when opened. The first 20+ claims, digital radiographs, recently add- has come a long way! years, I performed all the responsibilities ed a website, preparing to go paperless

The Observer | Spring 2011 3

Triage: A Front Office Responsibility? | by Donald A. Crumb, D.D.S.

It’s 7:00 a.m.

on a workday. The staff and doctor are gathered together for their a.m. huddle to discuss the clinical schedule for the day. Just as the meeting is about to begin, the doctor notices two emergency patients have been fitted “in between” patients into his already congested schedule. One patient, Mrs. Jones, is scheduled for a “broken tooth” and the other, Mr. Davis, is scheduled for a “toothache.” Before anyone has a chance to say anything the doctor’s “discussion” with the appointment coordinator goes something like this… Doctor: “Why did you put Mrs. Jones in at that time? Is she in pain? Is it a front tooth that is broken?” Appointment coordinator: “She wanted to be seen today and there was no time available in your schedule. She didn’t tell me what tooth it was or if it hurts.” Doctor: “She doesn’t expect me to fix that today does she?” Appointment coordinator: “I don’t know.” Doctor: “What about Mr. Davis?” Appointment coordinator: “He has been in pain for a while and he is going out of town for an important business trip tonight. He doesn’t want to have a problem when he is flying or at his meeting.” Doctor: “Maybe we can do a quick repair on Mrs. Jones. I’m not sure. I hope it isn’t #8. We have advised her before that that tooth will need a crown if it fractures.”

At this point the doctor is obviously “in a bad mood”. Doctor continues: “Call Mr. Davis back and tell him to come in during our lunch hour.” Doctor’s assistant: “I have an appointment this noon that I can’t miss.” Doctor: “Whatever! Let’s get to work!”

he think that I went to dental school…. how am I supposed to know what is wrong with Mr. Davis’ tooth or how much time the doctor will need to treat him?” The doctor is disappointed that nothing These “discussions” seem to linger forever positive was accomplished at the morning and it is very difficult for the most easy go- meeting. He or she wonders why the front ing front office person to not become de- office staff can’t seem to ever have the anfensive. After the doctor leaves the meet- swers to “obvious” clinical questions. How ing room the appointment coordinator is can the doctor be expected to effectively almost in tears. She says to her coworkers: manage their time if they have no idea “Doesn’t the doctor know that when these what the patient’s problem is or what the patients called the office yesterday things patient’s expectations are? were very hectic in the front office? Does

…so much for the business that was supposed to be discussed at this meeting. There is little time left anyway and no one is in the mood.

Although this might be a worst case scenario, we can all agree that this is not an ideal way to start the day. So what is the solution? A critical component in the management of dental emergencies is the triage process that precedes clinical treatment. The word triage is derived from the French word trier, meaning to separate, sort or select. Most of us are familiar with the triage process that takes place in hospital emergency rooms. Basically, it is a process of determining the ("Triage" continued on page 26)

Donald A. Crumb, D.D.S., has practiced general dentistry in Syracuse, New York since 1976. Dr. Crumb is the founder of Crumb’s Cranium, LLC, a company that recently introduced the only intuitive dental triage software on the market that enables front office staff with or without dental experience to effectively manage and schedule dental emergencies. He has had articles published by Dental Economics and Dentaltown magazines on this topic. For more information go to or contact Dr. Crumb at 4 The Observer | Spring 2011

The Observer | Spring 2011 5

Empower Yourself to Make a Difference in Your Practice


| by Brian Cutler

ental office managers seldom take the time to sit down and compile a comprehensive description of their job duties. But it is extremely important to recognize just how much impact you actually have—on both your individual practice and on the future course of the dental industry. The all-encompassing nature of your job responsibilities makes you uniquely qualified to be a key decision-maker when selecting tools and solutions that build better practices.

As manager, you touch every clinical, finan- fice. Some software solutions, for instance, ment so that questions and concerns can be cial, and patient-related aspect of your dental have a color-coded system for showing when addressed up front. practice. That provides you with exceptional patients are checked in, being seen in the opvision when it comes to the various ways eratory, and checked out. As office manager Ginni Sperry from Comtechnology applications can improve everyplete Family Dentistry, Fredericksburg, Va., thing from the revenue stream to customer Linking practice management software explains, “We run Mercury Data Exchange service. Clinically, dental practices are con- with real-time eligibility (RTE) and ben- (MDE) the night before patients are schedtinually moving toward newer and betuled for a visit, so we know if policies ter ways to treat oral disease. The same are still active. That way, we know to In many cases, it takes a month should be true for business processes, as inquire at check-in for a new card, etc., or more to receive insurance well. when necessary.” As she also points out: predeterminations…How many It is much harder to get that informatimes has this financial uncertainty tion once a patient has left. Think for a moment about all the tasks caused one of your patients to delay that affect the revenue cycle and patient or refuse needed treatments? service. On a daily basis, this might Treatment Pre-determination include appointment scheduling, treatIt is challenging, typically, for dental ment predeterminations, claims submission efits verification tools can further assist practices to communicate with patients siand payment posting. Let’s walk through a by reducing the amount of time spent multaneously about treatment options and typical patient encounter from beginning communicating with payers by mail and corresponding financial details. In many to end, and consider a few of the ways that telephone. Instead of calling payers after an cases, it takes a month or more to receive intechnology partnerships can create greater ef- appointment to coordinate benefits, RTE surance predeterminations or pre-estimates ficiency. technology moves the query to the front end through the mail—a long time for patients of the process. to wait to find out how much they will owe Appointment Scheduling for a given procedure. How many times has All dental practices used to keep “sched- It works by letting you confirm insurance eli- this financial uncertainty caused one of your uling books” and manually track patient gibility and benefits via the Web. Many prac- patients to delay or refuse needed treatments? demographic and insurance informa- tices perform this function every evening tion. Now, of course, you can streamline for all patients scheduled the following day; Yet real-time adjudication (RTA) technolothe entire scheduling process with prac- others do it as each patient checks in. Either gies offer the ability to accurately tell patients tice management technology that can even way, RTE allows practices to help patients ("Empower" continued on next page) help track patient flow through the of- understand their benefits during an appoint-

Brian Cutler is senior vice president of Mercury Data Exchange, a provider of real-time electronic data interchange (EDI) services for dental practices, payers and vendors. Based in Roanoke, Va., the company offers services including eligibility and benefits verification, real-time claims adjudication, electronic remittance advice, and electronic funds transfers. You can contact Brian at and learn more about MDE at

6 The Observer | Spring 2011

("Empower" continued from previous page) their out-of-pocket costs at the time of ser- claims processing, but the other half has bevice—and therefore collect patient payments gun to hasten and improve the overall revthen, as well. “You can print an EOB for the enue cycle through automation. patient on the spot,” says Sperry. As a result, you can create treatment and payment plans Rather than wait several days for a payer to in conjunction with one another. receive claims via the mail, clearinghouse solutions provide the opportunity to submit The way it works is fairly simple. Using Web- claims electronically in real-time or batch, based technology, you enter the proposed with the added ability to track and report procedure and amount. Within a few seconds, on submitted claims daily. RTA technolyou receive a precise pre-treatment estimate ogy helps practices know immediately when from the payer’s system that shows both the missing information is preventing a claim amount insurance will reimburse and the pa- from processing, so they can quickly fix the tient balance. It is an example of fostering bet- error and resubmit. ter customer satisfaction simply by unifying the financial and clinical conversation. “It used to take 2-3 weeks before I’d typically find out about denied claims through the Insurance Coding and Billing mail. But now I get daily reports that idenIt generally takes days, even weeks, be- tify any rejections for claims submitted the fore dental practices know whether claims day before,” Sperry says. What traditionally submitted manually have been rejected or has taken weeks to accomplish via paper can denied. It takes even longer before claims now be done in a matter of days, causing a submitted on paper finally are paid. Half of dramatic enhancement to payment turnall dental practices still rely on paper-based around time.

Office Managers Leading the Way Busy as every office manager is, the primary duty is always patient satisfaction. “Even with all I do,” Sperry notes, “my first goal is to make the patient happy, from initial phone call to treatment planning to insurance.” She is an example of office managers who are steering their practices toward better customer service—as well as enhanced revenue management—by empowering their own roles as strategic decision-makers. After all, who better to shepherd a practice toward technology and process improvements than the one person most familiar with overall workflow, customer service, and revenue management? At a time when many jobs are hyper-specialized, office managers understand the entire dental practice from front-end to back-end. You are in the perfect position to not only assess your practice’s needs, but to offer solutions as well.

The American Association of Dental Office Managers would like to know…

Is Your Office Manager a Star? Then nominate him or her for AADOM Office Manager of the Year! HOW TO ENTER 1. Fill out the Nomination Form at 2. Tell us why you feel your Office Manager should win AADOM Office Manager of the Year in 500 words or less.

Grand Prize:

$1,000 Plus the opportunity to be featured in The Observer

To be eligible, nominees must be an AADOM member and be present at this year’s AADOM Dental Managers Conference to be held in Nashville, TN on September 8-10, 2011. The winner will receive free conference registration in 2012 courtesy of CareCredit (Please make sure the nominee, along with the practice principal and team, are aware of the nomination).

The AADOM Office Manager of the Year Award will be presented at the Conference. For more information, visit or call 732-842-9977.


The Official News Magaz

ine for Denta l Office Manag ers

Winter 2009 Volume 5 • Issue 1

Melanie Duncan




of the Year Interview on

page 14

and other dental publications.

Also in Thi

s Issue: • Marketin g Your Practi ce ( page 4) • Removing the "Sh Minimizes New ield" that Patient Flo w ( page 25)

• Three Thi ngs Every Off ice Manager Sho uld Know Abo Dental Insura ut nce ( page 11)

Winner Announced at the | Spring 2011 7 The Observer Annual Dental Office Managers Conference!


at the Conference on

FRI., SEPT. 9, 2011 for our Building a Patient Referral Program breakout session!

Build Patient Loyalty Generate referrals, reward customer loyalty and increase annual revenue with an in-house referral program. Patterson Office Supplies has what you need to begin.

8 The Observer Spring 2011 Contact a Front Office Specialist at 1-800-637-1140 today! |

DOS120001b (5/11)

elissa Meredith is no stranger to going the extra mile. As the Director of Operations at Central Arkansas Dental Associates, Inc., Meredith has gone to incredible lengths for patients, including driving one patient to and from her appointment for tooth extractions after the patient’s car broke down. For Meredith, her remarkable commitment is just part of the job, which is why she was named the American Association of Dental Office Managers (AADOM) 2010 Office Manager of the Year. Meredith, who received her award Oct. 22 at AADOM’s 6th Annual Dental Managers Conference, was nominated by her employer Andrew Orr, D.D.S., and colleagues Drew Ramey and Peggy Weeks. As the winner, Meredith receives free registration to AADOM’s 2011 annual conference, a feature story and photo on the cover of The Observer magazine, and a $1,000 prize provided by CareCredit. “I was overjoyed and overwhelmed with emotions when I found out I had won,” Meredith says. “I worked very hard to be recognized by AADOM and am much appreciative of the honor.” Dedicated to the Practice Meredith has worked at Central Arkansas Dental since 2008, and is in charge of coordinating scheduling, finances, advertising and community service events. From the moment she was hired, Meredith has made tremendous improvements in the practice. “Upon arrival, she immediately discovered over $100,000 in overdue or unbilled claims,” Orr recounts. With the help of Meredith’s practice management skills, the original Central Arkansas Dental location in Lonoke, Ark., has expanded to offices in Jacksonville and Little Rock, Ark., with five dentists on staff. “I can honestly say our office would not have survived without the hard work that Melissa

has put in everyday for the last three years,” emphasizes Orr. At each of the three locations, Meredith has been successful in hiring and retaining employees, “delicately balancing existing em- profit hospital; and Colgate’s Bright Smiles, ployee availability with hiring the right peo- Bright Futures Mobile Dental Van Program. ple to build a new practice from the ground up,” Ramsey notes. At one dental fair, Central Arkansas Dental screened over 200 people and extracted In addition to growing the practice, Mer- hundreds of teeth, in total performing over edith prides herself on finding ways to help $30,000 in free dentistry. “People come from those who can’t afford proper dental care. all across Arkansas to take part in the free denShe works with patients to ensure they re- tal care,” Meredith explains. “Volunteering at ceive the care they need, and regularly helps the dental fairs has been rewarding for me. I patients apply for Medicaid, Orr explains. always try to emphasize to everyone how important oral health is to your overall health.” Dedicated to the Community Meredith’s dedication extends beyond the Dedicated to the Profession office walls. She has served as a mentor to Meredith has been an AADOM member for elementary students in the local Arkansas two years and plans to be a lifelong member. school system, and plays an integral role in Her goal is to earn AADOM Fellowship at organizing community service events. Each the 2011 AADOM Dental Managers Conyear, thanks to Meredith and the support of ference in Nashville, Tennessee. the entire of the dental team, Central Arkansas Dental participates in several citywide “Being an AADOM member has provided dental fairs to provide free dental screenings, me with a network of people who I can share recommendations and basic oral health edu- my office stories, questions, issues and future cation to underserved communities. There hopes with,” she explains. “Dentistry is such are several Arkansas counties with no den- a challenging field. I face new obstacles every tal care facilities, and the volunteer services day, which is why I love my career.” Central Arkansas Dental provides enable patients to receive the dental care and educa- “My only complaint with Melissa,” Orr jokes, tion they need. “is that I don’t know how we will be able to afford to keep her when she realizes how much Melissa coordinates Central Arkansas Den- she is worth. If I am extremely lucky, I will tal’s community efforts through local health get to enjoy several more years of having her departments, the city government and orga- in charge of our offices.” nizations such as the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce; Care Improvement Plus, a This article originally ran in the Winter 2011 issue of Medicare Advantage organization; North DANB's Certified Press. Reprinted with permission. Metro Medical Center, the city-owned non- Copyright 2011, Dental Assisting National Board, Inc.

The Observer | Spring 2011 9

Reduce Missed Appointments! eCentral for Dentrix reminds your patients with emails, postcards and text messages.

The days of time-consuming postcard preparation and tedious confirmation phone calls are over. eCentral works seamlessly with Dentrix to automate your reminder process and reduce missed appointments.

AADOM MembersSend Your First Month of Postcards Free!*

1-800-734-5561 A-ESARAADOM-Q111



*Offer expires April 30, 2012. Postage not included. ©2011 Henry Schein Inc. All rights reserved. Henry Schein, Dentrix, eCentral, the red ‘e’ and the ‘S’ logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of Henry Schein Inc. | Spring Page 4 The Observer • Summer 2009 10 The Observer 2011logo

Not Just Another Day at the Front Desk: The Business Team’s Role in Medical Emergencies

| Larry J. Sangrik, D.D.S., Director of Medical Emergency Preparedness, Raven Maria Blanco Foundation, Inc.


y schedule indicated that a 3-year old boy and his mother were in the consultation room for new patient examination. This seemed odd because normally young new patients initially meet one of our hygienists and receive a prophylaxis before meeting me. However, my office manage indicated the mother specifically wanted to talk to me before consenting to proceed with the appointment. When I met the pair, the mother explained what had recently happened. She had taken her son to a well-respected pediatric dentist. The doctor identified 7 cavities of varying severity and suggested that they all be done at one appointment under general anesthesia. He suggested an itinerant anesthesiologist handle the anesthesia services. This would avoid the need to do the procedure in a hospital setting.

and transfer the patient to a hospital for recovery. The anesthesiologist called 911 from the operatory on his cell phone.

and tried to reassure the mother. Based on the office manager’s comments, the medics assumed that the page was a “crank call” and began to leave. As the medics prepared to depart, one of the doctors saw through a window that the ambulance was about to leave. They ran outside, retrieved the squad and the boy was eventually taken to the hospital.

The day of the appointment arrived and In the end, the boy recovered uneventinitially all went well. The child and fully. However, although the doctors mother went to the treatment room, were wise in transferring the child to the child was gently guided into general the hospital as a precautionary measure, anesthesia, the mother gave him a kiss because the manner in which that event and left for the reception room to wait as the was handled was so chaotic, the mother totreatment commenced. The pediatric dentist Meanwhile, the mother is sitting alone in tally lost confidence in the office and decided was just beginning his treatment as the anes- the reception room. As she recalled the day, to change dentists. It is for this reason the thesia was monitored by the anesthesiologist. she described hearing the ambulance in the mother wanted to talk to me before deciddistance. She realized the ambulance was ing to change to our office for the care of her Although the medical history of this child getting closer and wondered if there was a entire family. had been reviewed three times (by the pedi- nearby auto accident. Finally, she realized the atric dentist at the exam, by the anesthesiolo- ambulance was in parking lot and became The Raven Maria Blanco Foundation gist over the phone and by both doctors on curious if something had happened in one of (RMBF) is a non-profit patient advocacy the day of the appointment), a minor detail the other suites in the building. group that promotes medical emergency prewas missed. The mother neglected to advise paredness in dental offices. They recommend anyone that her son was starting to develop a Moments later, three paramedics burst the Six Links of Survival™, a set of six timecold and was congested. through the door, one carrying oxygen, the less principles, which assist dental teams in Nasal congestion is a major issue in general other two steering the cot. They told the of- preparing their offices for unexpected medianesthesia for dental care, as the patient is fice manager they were responding to a call cal events. breathing through their nose. The anesthe- for respiratory distress. siologist soon learned that he was having Link 4 involves having a written medical difficulty keeping the patient oxygenated. Because of the general anesthesia, the moth- emergency plan in place. This written docuKnowing how critical it is to keep a young er knew her son was the only patient in the ment should be in an easily available area patient (with tiny lungs) fully oxygenated, treatment area and she immediately began and should be a quick review of the steps to the doctors mutually agreed that the prudent to panic. The office manager told the para- handle any medical emergency. course would be to abort the appointment medics that nobody had called an ambulance

("Emergencies" continued on page 27)

Dr. Sangrik maintains a full-time general practice in his hometown of Chardon, Ohio with an emphasis on the treatment of apprehensive patients with IV sedation. Active in organized dentistry, Dr. Sangrik has long held numerous positions at the local and state levels. He also has served as a consultant to the Ohio State Dental Board on a task force concerning the use of oral sedation. Since 1999 Dr. Sangrik is well-known dental CE lecturer. His lecture topics include preparing for medical emergencies in the dental office, the science of dental fear, patient monitoring and nitrous oxide sedation. The Observer | Spring 2011 11

The Transformational Trainer | by Katherine Eitel


t’s 2:30 p.m., but it feels like 6:00. You’ve been in this seminar since sometime this morning and, while it’s been full of good information, you’re on overload and squirming in your seat. Can you relate? We all can. And when you try to bring all of your carefully written notes back to your team at next week’s team meeting… they are likely to feel just the same way.

It’s 4:00 p.m., but it feels like 2:00. This day can’t possibly be over! Where has the time gone? You were just getting started. That’s strange. There was no 300-slide PowerPoint presentation, no 20-page handout. Yet you’ve learned several pieces of great, useable information. You feel empowered and inspired to use it tomorrow. This was definitely one of the best speakers you’ve heard in years.

ever teach runs more than ninety minutes without a break, participants are asked to participate with or review the presented material every 20 – 30 minutes and they try to find a way to involve people in the content or change the pace of delivery every eight minutes. This is based on Tony Buzan’s book, Use Both Sides of Your Brain. Buzan’s findings are that the average adult can listen with attention

Bob Pike, an expert in adult learning and training, uses the 90/20/8 rule in his training sessions. No module they

C.P.T. – Cut, Participate, Test Cut Content: There is no end to the content you might wish to teach such

as improving phone skills or taking better x-rays, more complete chart entries or understanding the practice statistics and goals. Your objective is to have them do more than simply listen, understand, and agree. The key is to help them retain, perform, and replicate. Whatever the Data dump or inspired training? content, first break it into small, manWhich one would you rather ageable chunks. For example sit through? Well, if you’re like if you want to improve phone most of us, it is inspired training skills, divide that topic into four Take the information and skills that results in participant-censections such as 1) introduction you want to relay to your team tered learning. Confucius knew and rapport, 2) identifying pamembers and transform it what he was talking about in 451 tient concerns and needs, 3) offer from instructor-led teaching to B.C. when he said, “What I hear appropriate solutions, and 4) get participant-centered learning. I forget; what I see I remember; necessary information and resell what I do I understand.” value. Prepare the content to be taught in these smaller modules. Do you want to breathe life back into for ninety minutes and can listen with your team meetings and training? Then retention for twenty. In a two hour team Participation. In advance, select a parmake the shift from dentist/manager/lec- meeting, you have six twenty-minute ticipation exercise for each of the four turer to team trainer. Take the informa- segments. The following is a simple for- topic sections. After teaching/discussing tion and skills you want to relay to your mula to turn those segments into inter- one of the modules of information, creteam members and transform it from active learning modules that keep your ate an exercise where the team members instructor-led teaching to participant- team’s interest and help them truly learn can get their “hands on the material” centered learning. rather than just listen. themselves. For example, you might do an exercise called “Each One Teach One” where ("Transformational" continued on page 25)

If you’re interested in improving the quality of communication skills in your practice (telephone, patient, and/or team) or in our revolutionary mystery shopper phone call service, or in creating a customized team training retreat, visit us at or call (800) 595-7060 for our full line of affordable and cutting-edge communication training products and services. 12 The Observer | Spring 2011


PERFECT SoftDent improves your practice’s performance: Become more productive, more efficient and more successful. Designed to meet the demands of a modern practice, SoftDent practice management software drives performance with customizable, intuitive tools that allow you to perform daily duties more efficiently. Mundane but essential tasks are further automated and streamlined with eServices, seamlessly integrated with your practice management software. And it’s all backed with the industry’s best technical support. Reduce errors and speed reimbursements. Save money and free up staff time. Improve patient care and drive practice success. SoftDent is the best choice to make you more successful in running your practice.

To get more information visit or call 1-800-944-6365. Carestream Dental supports the

Carestream Dental © Carestream Health, Inc. 2010. SoftDent is a trademark of Carestream Health. 4219 DE SD AD 1110

Page 8 The Observer • Summer 2009

The Observer | Spring 2011 13


Generation Talk Kathy Metaxas Do you scratch your head often and wonder why the younger or not-so-young generations think and act differently? Come and hear why this happens and how to better communicate with different generations. A topical presentation to hear how: • Gen Y's are flooding the Dental industry, learn how to train and maintain them • Gen X are craving authority, use this to better your Practice • Gens X and Y communicate through social media— what does this mean? • Change is necessary for the Baby Boomers to survive! • Market the Practice to attract Gen X and Y • Generation Talk for all Generations • To Increase Case Acceptance for Baby Boomers and Gen X

THURSDAY ADVANCED EDUCATIONAL SESSIONS (Attendance limited to first 150 registrants)

The Practice Administrator as "In-House" Consultant: Making the Most of Your Elite Position Debbie Castagna & Virginia Moore In this interactive, dynamic session, you will have the opportunity to learn how to reap the rewards of this gratifying and important position. You may even leave with a different perspective about what is okay and not okay with working with Doctors. Learning Objectives: • How to establish the parameters for this sophisticated position • How to avoid the pitfalls when working with a Doctor and Staff • How to manage a practice that gets amazing results.

14 The Observer | Spring 2011

AADOM’s Introduction to Dental Office Management Lorie Streeter, Heather Colicchio, Teresa Duncan Join the AADOM team for this new course designed just for attendees with less than five years of management experience or for those desiring a refresher course on the basics of dental office management. Experienced dentists know clinical excellence alone does not spell success – managerial talent and leadership is needed as well. Discussions will focus on situations that most managers encounter in their new roles. From hiring and firing to managing your practice’s revenue cycle – we’ll review basic systems that you will need to have in place. Topics will include: • Structuring an effective team • Managing your practice for financial success • Tips on insurance management • Leadership and attitude as a manager

Eaglesoft Advanced User Training Jana Berghoff, Eaglesoft Patterson Dental’s New Technology Offerings: Circle around the Campfire and See What’s Hot in Technology! Join Patterson Technology Marketing Manager Jana Berghoff and Eaglesoft wizard Mary Horvath to learn about the best new features of Eaglesoft 16, how to use an iPad for Fast CheckIn, what’s new with CAESY Patient an exclusive sneak peek (or two) at surprises just around the corner! So, gather all your partners for this friendly, informative talk on what’s sizzling in the Patterson technology camp.

Dentrix Advanced User Training Jason McKnight, Dentrix Managing Your Practice with Dentrix Practice Advisor: Advanced Tips & Tricks for Experienced Office Managers In this course, you’ll learn how to use the Dentrix Practice Advisor to monitor the financial health of your practice. You’ll also learn how to use advanced Dentrix tools and integrated eServices to optimize your practice schedule, increase production, decrease accounts receivable, and simplify insurance management. This course is for experienced office managers who are ready to learn how to use Dentrix more effectively. FRIDAY EDUCATIONAL SESSIONS

Getting the Dollar$ Off The Books Lois Banta Are your accounts receivables out of control? Does your insurance claims report weigh more than your desk? Learn to develop proven systems to track A/R more effectively and follow up on past due claims more efficiently without stressing yourself to the max. Design systems for collecting from patients without being perceived as the "bad guy." Key Topics: •D  issecting the reports

Front Office Superstar Kathy Metaxas A MUST attend seminar for all the front office team members that believe organization, systems, professionalism and a HIGH standard of care is paramount to all successful businesses. FIRST IMPRESSIONS ARE LASTING IMPRESSIONS! Your reputation begins the moment a patient makes contact with your front office. Have everyone well-trained and working as your ambassador. We understand that your position is anything but easy. You are handling phone calls, late appointments, missed appointments, cancelled appointments, downtime, demanding and rude patients and 'shoppers'. The list can go on and on and at the same time you deliver a five star level of care. Wow what superstars!

Intro to Facebook Marketing for your Practice Rita Zamora This seminar is ideal for those who have never been on Facebook or who have very little experience with Facebook. Learn what the difference is between a Facebook Profile and a Business Page, and which is best for marketing your practice. Experience a tour of Facebook. Learn about the unique marketing benefits that Facebook has to offer. Leave the program with an understanding of Facebook as well as marketing strategies and tactics you can put into place right away for general or specialty practices. You will learn: • Why Facebook Matters. Learn how traditional advertising and internet marketing has changed and what it means for your dental practice • How Facebook & Facebook Marketing works. Learn how Facebook works, how word of mouth is spread at scale, and how relationships flourish. Understand what the benefits are to your practice • Where To Start. Ensure your Facebook efforts adhere to Facebook guidelines and what best practices you need to be aware of • Which Strategies and Tactics Work Best. Learn the basic keys to create a thriving Facebook community

Gaylord Opryland Resort

• Tracking Insurance claims •F  ollow-up on accounts receivables •S  ending statements •L  earn the federal and state collection laws •P  revent "collections harassment" • Collecting at the time of service

Continued page 16

The Observer | Spring 2011 15

2011 Conference Course Descriptions Continued from page 15

Human Resources Hoe Down – You’ve got the Guts – Let’s Bring on the Glory We’re talking “HORSE SENSE” “The thing a horse has that keeps them from betting on people” —W.C. Fields

Ginny Hegarty

It’s all about the people. Even with top-notch skills, education and state of the art technology, the magic in your practice can’t happen unless your team is fully engaged.

II. No Systems in Hygiene a. Ultimate Hygiene Exam b. Time management c. Calibrate your team for increased enrollment III. Poor Service Mix a. Get out of the prophy trap b. System for adding services c. Getting your hygienists engaged in the growth of the practice d. Selling product without feeling salesy IV. No Accountability/Training a. Accountability = Leadership b. Taking action makes the difference V. Holding On to Old Beliefs and Negative Mindsets a. Helping your hygienists overcome their old clinical beliefs b. Combat negativity on your team c. Increase retention and profitability of new services

Join us for one of the most requested sessions by AADOM Members! We’re covering all topics that are HR, ranging from effective recruitment & selection to training tools, employee performance management, practice leadership, individual accountability, practice culture and overall morale. So put on your most comfortable pair of cowboy books as we help you avoid the HR 2-step. We’re shining the spotlight on the hottest HR topics in the industry and will help you recognize the best HR practices that raise the bar for all of us.

Get Over It - Identify and Clear the 5 Most Common Obstacles to Building a Profitable Hygiene Department Rachel Wall Have you ever gone to a CE course with your team and gotten all fired up? And then when you tried to put what you’d learned into practice it went nowhere? You’re not alone. I’ll show you how to identify and clear the 5 most common barriers that may be keeping you and your team from delivering high level care and reaping the rewards of a profitable hygiene department. Attendees of this course will obtain: •A  system for determining how to use production blocks in hygiene •S  ystems to increase perio and restorative Co-Diagnosis •S  teps to create an empowering environment for all team members •S  kills to achieve ‘buy in’ from hygienists to increase product and treatment enrollment • “ Take Home” tips to implement tomorrow to increase hygiene profitability The 5 Most Common Obstacles: I. A Hygiene Schedule That’s Out of Balance a. Ghost Town vs Grand Central b. Using priority blocks in hygiene c. Creating the ideal hygiene day 16 The Observer | Spring 2011

Gaylord Opryland Resort


Human Resources Panel: The Ultimate Q & A Session We’re Answering YOUR Questions Expert Panel: Ginny Hegarty, Shari Tastad, Fran Pangakis Experience is the greatest teacher of all and we’ve brought together three industry leaders to share their perspective and wisdom from real-world experiences in the dental practice. Our panel will answer specific HR questions from YOU, the office manager that is in the trenches every day! Here are just a few examples of most recent questions we’ve been asked: • Recruiting and Hiring “I just recently hired someone that I thought was the perfect fit for the job. Now that they have been on the job for awhile I’m finding they are very different than what I thought. How could I have missed these issues?” What are your questions regarding your recruiting & hiring process that would help you hire the right person the first time? • Accountability “I have some team members that have made comments like, “it’s not my job” and I think it’s EVERYONE’S job!” or “My employer recently approached me and asked why team goals were not being met, likewise my team asked why we didn’t get

our bonus this year. I know the answer, but I don’t have control to make the changes I want to make.” Think of a situation where you would like more accountability in the practice to make decisions and we’ll help you sort it out. • Leadership “There is no clear leader in our practice. Sometimes it’s the Dentist, sometimes it’s my role, but unfortunately everyone tries to be the leader which makes for very little direction. I just feel like many of the daily fires I deal with could be eliminated if we had stronger leadership in our practice.” Do you feel like there is a lack of leadership in your practice that causes daily confusion? Formulate questions around that and ask away. • Practice Culture “When I started in our practice I worked with my Dentist to establish the long term vision, mission and culture of our practice. I’ve really tried to work with my team to achieve that vision and establish the culture but some of the staff behavior or staffing issues keep holding be back. How can I make a difference?” What questions do you have around how to define, assimilate and live your desired practice vision and culture? Are there other HR issues that jump right to the forefront of your mind? Bring them up in this interactive session!

No Games!!! Manage Accounts Receivables Your Way Lois Banta Are your accounts receivables out of control? Does your insurance claims report weigh more than your desk? Learn to develop proven systems to track A/R more effectively. Follow up on past due claims more efficiently without creating undue stress! Let us help you devise systems for collecting that won't generate any negative impressions with your patients. Key Topics: • Communication Skills • Identifying Personality Types • Narratives & Other Secrets • Producing The Reports • Tracking Claims & Accounts Receivable • Making Collections Calls

TC IT! (Treatment Coordinate It!) Kathy Metaxas Introduce a Treatment Coordinator (TC) into your Practice and watch your Patient Satisfaction and Case Acceptance soar! •H  igher Case Acceptance • 'YES' language • S.O.L. - Service Orientated Language • Increased Patient comfort and interaction • Dentist and Hygienist / Oral Health Therapist support • Reduction in incomplete treatment cases • Career satisfaction and team retention • Patients as 'Raving Fans'

Advanced Social Media Marketing Strategies Rita Zamora Learn what top dental practices are doing to successfully grow their practices with social media. We’ll focus on specific tips and techniques to boost your Facebook marketing efforts. We’ll also show you how to create a simple—yet powerful—social marketing plan and how to track the ROI from your efforts. This is a non-technical seminar, yet you’ll walk away with secrets to grow your practice with some of the hottest dental marketing techniques today! You will learn: • Where to Focus Your Efforts. Facebook, Twitter or YouTube—Learn how to determine where your practice resources are best spent • How To Grow Your Patient Community On Facebook. What’s hot—and working—in Facebook marketing today. • How To Systemize & Streamline Social Media For Maximum Results. Learn tools and techniques to help make your social marketing efforts faster, better and more effective • How to Measure ROI. Learn which metrics can help you track the effectiveness of your social marketing efforts.

Gaylord Opryland Resort The Observer | Spring 2011 17

Put On A New Hat & Rock Those Boots! |


by Ginny Hegarty, SPHR

ost people think of human resources as a service that becomes necessary as a business grows to employ at least several dozen employees. The human resources (HR) department is responsible for the people in the organization and handle issues such as hiring, compliance, employee benefits, training, professional development, annual appraisals, pay rate adjustments, counseling memos, layoffs and terminations. These same issues exist in every business, The science, technoland while most dental practices don’t em- ogy and materials, ploy several dozen people, the people that along with the deeper are employed still require the same support understanding of the mouth/body connectheir colleagues from the corporate world tion for overall health and wellness have poenjoy. So, while most dental practices don’t sitioned dentists and their teams to provide have a HR department, the office manager an extraordinary level of care and service to can essentially be the HR manager who op- patients. erates in a strategic rather than a service role. Partnered with an HR firm, this strategic alliance strengthens, supThe office manager can ports and protects the practice and the team. essentially be the HR manager

who operates in a strategic

ing to a recent Gallup Poll, the average business has an engaged to actively disengaged ratio of close to 2:1 while in a world-class organizations, engaged employees outnumber actively disengaged employees by more than 9:1. This metric is a critical one when you consider that world-class organizations have nearly 4 times the earning power of an average business. That’s a statistic worth repeating…4 times the earning power!

So, office managers, put on a new rather than a service role. hat and embrace the challenge and Ask a seasoned dental consultant the opportunity in your expanded and they will confirm that there are role. Begin by evaluating your curindeed practices that produce and rent processes and discuss a strategic partner- While adding all of these remarkable ad- collect at 4 times the rate of other practices. ship with your doctors. In my experience, vancements to your office can be very excit- Often these world-class practices are even many doctors feel unprepared and over- ing and sexy, you can’t implement these in- in the same town as the other practices, so whelmed by staff management, development novations until the patient becomes engaged, socioeconomic conditions alone cannot exand compliance. The typical response is to until the patient says ‘Yes’ and accepts treat- plain the disparity and are not necessarily a avoid these issues as long as possible. It is ment. In the end, it’s your team that starts key indicator in how well a practice will do. precisely this avoidance strategy that is prov- the engine and puts your practice into drive. ing problematic to many dentists/employers The only way to have engaged patients is to Now would be a great time for you to write as recent economic challenges have skyrock- have engaged team members. Recently, while down each of your employees’ names and eted the number of employee-related claims discussing team issues with a doctor, I asked note if you find them to be engaged or being brought against dentists resulting in how many of his employees he thought were disengaged. First, you’ll need to define just hefty settlements. By embracing this expand- engaged. When he answered, “None, they what engaged means to you. One major ed role you become an even greater asset to are all married” I knew we had a lot of work criterion for me is to evaluate each person’s your practice, your doctors and your team. to do! results. I find that engaged employees are top performers that meet and exceed expectations The advances in dentistry over the past de- Employee engagement is the illusive force ("New Hat" continued on next page) cade have been, without a doubt, amazing. that drives performance outcomes. AccordGinny Hegarty, SPHR, holds certification as a Senior Professional in Human Resources and is the owner of Dental Practice Development, Inc. As a management strategist, speaker, coach and author, Ginny partners with dentists and office managers to create a strategic alliance to strengthen and support the practice, while also providing asset protection through compliance. Ginny is the Keynote speaker for Patterson’s Human Resource Session at the AADOM Annual Meeting September 8-10, 2011 in Nashville, TN and can be reached at or 610-873-8404. 18 The Observer | Spring 2011

("New Hat" continued from previous page) on a regular basis. High performance is in their DNA. They are not the ones that repeatedly tell me how hard they are working, as their focus is on achievement, not effort. It’s a well-known secret that top performers can do the work of two or three people, so it’s easy to see how and why high performers are so effective and so valued. Does your practice rank at a world-class 9:1 or are you an average 2:1, or somewhere in between?

Your team is your human capital. Invest in the right people, sow the seeds of success, unlock the potential and the rewards are yours to reap. Join us in Nashville as we cover HR topics from recruitment & selection to training, performance management, leadership, accountability, practice culture and morale. We’re shining the spotlight on best practices that develop your team members into your greatest competitive advantage while improving the bottom line.

Thanks to Patterson Dental, our HR Session Sponsor! While you’re trying on your new hat, how about kicking up your heels in some great boots too! We’ve already seen the Facebook photos of the boots that folks will be rockin' in Nashville and we’re offering a special prize for the coolest boots we see at the HR Hoedown.





Top 10 Things


Hear the Music Where Music Lives — We’re proud of the title “Music City”— nowhere else can you hear such diverse sounds as Americana, country, rockabilly, jazz, blues, classical, gospel and rock ’n’ roll. Every honky tonk and club showcases a different songwrit er waiting for the next big break.



Hit the Hall — Visit the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. Do more than hear the music. See it. Live it. Experience it. This isn’t just a museum ; it’s an experience with something for everyone. Rhinestone costumes, seasoned instruments, and tear-stain ed lyric sheets are only the beginning. Don’t miss the Music City Walk of Fame across the street in Walk of Fame Park, where music celebrities who lived, worked and played in Nashvill e are commemorated with sidewalk stars.



fa ce b o o m/n a sh ville mu s ic c ity


Kick Up Your Boots — The Wildhorse Saloon serves up country that kicks! Daily line-dance lessons are free for those adventurous enough to scoot onto the dance floor. Take a break from the dance floor to enjoy the famous barbecue. Music’s brightest stars often perform here, too.


Visit the Ryman Auditorium — Sure, it’s called the “Mother Church of Country Music,” but artists as diverse as Jon Bon Jovi and Tony Bennett regularly perfrom on its legendary stage. Since 1892, the world’s greatest stars have headlined the Ryman Auditorium, from Caruso to Cash. You can take a backstage tour and record your own song in the Ryman recording studio.






Ride the Row — Visit historic RCA Studio B by taking a tour of Music Row to the famous recordin g studio where Elvis recorded over 200 songs. Roy Orbison, Dolly Parton, Chet Atkins, Eddy Arnold and many more recorded classic hits here. Not surprisi ngly, the heartbeat of Music City is driven by music— from country to classical. Visit the Home Of the Greek Gods — In Nashville’s Centennial Park, you’ll find the world’s only full-scale reproduction of the ancient Parthenon in Athens, Greece. The Parthenon houses an art gallery and museum as well as Athena Parthenos, created by Nashville artist Alan LeQuire. At almost 42 feet in height, it’s the tallest indoor sculpture in the Western world. Take In a Songwriters-In-the-Round Show — It’s simple. It’s classic. It’s uniquely Nashville. In a city of working musicians and songwriters there’s no better way to hear the music. Typically called a “writers night,” several singer/songwriters sit on stage accompanied only by a


microphone, a guitar and their immense talent. These shows can be found in small, intimate clubs like the famed Bluebird Café all over town.


We invite you to experience for yourself what makes Nashville special. It’s a city that resonates with life and vibrates to the beat of every kind of song. It’s a town that sizzles with American music, Southern hospitality, unbelievable cuisine and a boundless spectrum of nightlife. Come join us and together we will keep the music playing!

w w w.v is itmu m



tw itte r.c o m /v is itmu s ic c ity


Take a Timeless Journey — The stars of the Grand Ole Opry perform every Tuesday, Friday and Saturday night with guest appearances by the biggest names in music. With 85 years under its belt, it’s the world’s longestrunning radio broadcast and shows no signs of slowing down.

Salute — Three U.S. Presidents called Tenness ee home – Andrew Jackson, James K. Polk and Andrew Johnson. You can revisit the past at The Hermitag e, Home of President Andrew Jackson. Polk is buried on the grounds of the historic State Capitol building.

Visit Honky Tonk Highway — Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge, Legends Corner, Second Fiddle, The Stage, Bluegrass Inn and Robert’s Western World are all experts at serving up cool longnecks and hot country music. You never know who you’ll see in these Lower Broadway clubs in the shadow of the Ryman. Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson and other stars began their careers at Tootsie’s.

y o u tu b e .c o m/n a s h v ille mu s ic c ity

The Observer | Spring 2011 19

My great idea?All patients are

different — some hear with their ears and some ‘hear’ with their eyes. So you’ve got to show as much as you tell.

Melissa Meredith

2010 AADOM Office Manager of the Year Offering CareCredit since 2006

“When it comes to paying for dental care, patients need to really understand what care costs and how they can pay. The worst kind of misunderstanding you can have with a patient is about money. That’s why we use visual aids, like CareCredit’s Payment Chart, when we talk about fees and payment options. With visual aids, patients can see what we’re saying as well as hear it.”

Great Ideas? your

Share great idea. Email us at

Yet to add CareCredit as a payment option? AADOM members can get started today for only $20 with no monthly minimum use fee. Simply call 866-247-0158 to get started. Just

for calling, receive this FREE CD SET, Minimizing Failed Appointments, featuring Lois Banta, CEO, Banta Consulting.

Exclusively Endorsed Since 2003 by:

Already offer CareCredit and want more great ideas?

CareCredit, the nation’s leading healthcare credit card, works with 86,000 dental teams who share with us great ideas and practical tools that work for them. And we’d like to share those ideas with you. Call 800-955-7811 to

schedule your free custom Practice Performance Review with your Practice Development Team.

If you already offer CareCredit, visit to access CareCredit’s educational audio library as well as this featured CD. Should you need assistance, call 800-859-9975.

20 The Observer | Spring 2011 Offer Code: AADOM

Do You Collect at Least 96% of Your Production? | by Allen B. Bostrom, CPA


usinesses that grant credit find that payment collection can be tricky. From the paper boy to the mortgage company, all businesses must collect as much as possible to be profitable. Dental practices collect about 88% of what they charge. The average dentist performs approximately $4000 of dental work in one day. $300-400 of that is lost when proper collection procedures are not followed. This adds up to about $8,000 each month, for a total of $96,000 per year. What may seem like a small percentage of daily loss quickly adds up to tens of thousands of dollars. Steven Eckman is an accountant with 27 years experience in the dental industry. Like many service providers, he has found that dentists don’t realize how damaging this is to their businesses. In fact, he worked with one dentist who was charging about $80,000 in dental work each month. When asked if he had a problem with Accounts Receivable, the dentist claimed he was current and showed Eckman a long report listing payments made by everyone on his current patient list. Unfortunately, these patients were making small payments of $15 to $20 while the dentist carried $270,000 in receivables, or outstanding debt.

Allowing patients to make payments after the insurance adjustment is a common practice; however, it lowers a dental practice’s collection percentage. In order for dental practices to collect at least 96% of their production, they must follow two rules:

1. Don’t Start a Procedure Without Knowing How You are Going to be Paid. Patients must be informed of a dental practice’s financial policy at their first appointment, and they should sign and date the document to demonstrate agreement. Without a financial policy, businesses are unable to easily collect payment. DenThis dentist is not alone. Many service tal practices should use the policy to providers have been trained by their aclist acceptable payment options and countants to recognize default accounts stress that payment is required at the after 90 days without payment. However, time of service. This document can be the truth is that an account becomes degiven with the standard paperwork fault the day service is provided without that patients complete before first the collection of a co-payment. Eckman seeing a dentist. The office manager explains, “The hardest dollar to collect is could emphasize main points before the last one, and you want that to come the document is signed and returned. from the insurance company.”

In addition to sharing the financial policy, a dental practice should, like any business, estimate the costs of various procedures before they are performed. Imagine that you take your car in for an oil change. Once that’s completed, the mechanic suggests other procedures (new air filter, belt replacements, etc.). You agree, having been convinced that they’re necessary without any explanation of cost. Now imagine your surprise when you see a bill of $1500. Dentists are often guilty of the same communication error. Many of them perform regular check-ups and then suggest vital procedures (crowns, root canals, filings, etc.) without mentioning cost. When patients finally see the bill, after procedures have already been performed, many feel as if they would have foregone them altogether if they had been given more information upfront. This lack of communication causes distrust in the dentists, and as a result, many patients feel justified in withholding payment. ("Collect" continued on page 28)

Allen B. Bostrom, CPA, has been active in accounting for small businesses for over 35 years, including practices in the medical industry. He is the author of In the Black – Nine Principles to Make Your Business Profitable, and Red to Black in 30 Days.  His next book, soon to be released, is In the Black – Nine Principles to Make Your Dental Practice Profitable.  He presently resides in Salt Lake City, Utah.  His wife Sheri and he are the parents of four children, and he is the CEO of Universal Accounting Center, an Inc5000 award recipient for the past six years. The Observer | Spring 2011 21

The Toolbox for a Successful Office Manager | by Rhonda Smith Darnell, Office Manager


here is a long list of characteristics that are required to be a successful office manager. This position calls for someone who is organized, flexible, a creative thinker, an effective delegator, and furthermore, someone who is not afraid of change. After more than 22 years in the dental field, I have seen countless examples of how all of these attributes are necessary, but a willingness to learn and change is one of the most vital.

I joined my current practice, Hillsdale Dental, approximately 10 years ago, and during the past decade I have worked hard to modernize the practice, while still maintaining it as a pleasant place to work and as a relaxing environment for patients. When I joined the practice, there was not even a formal filing system in place; so needless to say, the modernization work was a significant change. The first steps I took as office manager to assist in moving the practice forward included instituting a new filing system, constructing an official office policy, hiring a new accountant, and maximizing the capabilities of the existing practice management software. While the practice already had Patterson Eaglesoft Practice Management Software, it was not utilizing it to its full potential. Having had experience with this software at a previous practice, I was able to quickly put some changes into place that had a big impact on how smoothly and efficiently the entire office ran.

can simply click on their appointment and and account for no-charge visits internally. check them out. With this change, end-ofday processing is simple because all of the Hillsdale Dental has now grown to a nineappointments for patients who have been operatory practice, owned by two dentists, walked out have turned gray on the schedule. with another pair of dentists on staff, as well as four hygienists, two assistants, and two front office staff members. We apply a team concept, and work to make everyone approachable. For example, all staff members are called by their first names, including “Dr. Adam” and “Dr. Jason.” On a typical day, each dentist sees 12 patients while each hygienist sees 10, so being able to process a large number of patients smoothly is vital. I have worked hard to train our front office staff on the policies and procedures for each type of patient visit, and how best to use the practice management software to help things run efficiently.

Simply by beginning to utilize the electronic claims tool, I was able to make the process of filing and tracking insurance claims significantly faster and more organized.

Implementing Change Simply by beginning to utilize the electronic claims tool, I was able to make the process of filing and tracking in- Additional steps were taken to maximize surance claims significantly faster and more the insurance options and to customize the organized. We also instituted changes to the software to work with Medicaid and North scheduling system to take advantage of the Carolina Health Choice, our state’s medical software’s fast walkout feature and color-cod- assistance. I also created custom notes for ing options. With fast walkout, the clinical insurance denials, making it much easier for staff members use the software to post when staff members to identify the reason a denial a patient’s visit is complete, and by the time was issued, and “no-charge” codes, which are the patient reaches the front of the office, we used to help us track

We have worked to modernize our payment processes as well, incorporating a credit card processing system that integrates with Eaglesoft. Patterson provided us with a card reader to use with this system, and now, with one swipe we can capture the payment information and approval code in the patient’s account.

Growing for the Future Under the leadership and vision of “Dr. Adam”, “Dr. Jason,” and I, we have been able to serve high quality one-on-one patient care, deliver a unique product, and have realized significant growth. As a busy practice, we rely on the full service approach Patterson ("Toolbox" continued on page 28)

Office Manager, Rhonda Smith Darnell, has over 22 years of experience in the dental field and has received certifications that include Dental Office Management Program, CDPMA Course Certificate and Intraoral Radiography from Wake Forest University. She has been an active member of the American Association of Dental Office Managers since 2006 seeking constant education seminars. 22 The Observer | Spring 2011


imagine the possibilities

Get SaaS-ier. Get

Group practice management productivity just got SaaS-ier. Next DDS is the next big advance in web-based Software as a Service, providing unparalleled access to the information you need to increase revenue, decrease costs and maximize efficiency. And you’re in touch, and in control, anytime, anywhere, on any web-enabled device– even your iPhone. 800-888-7955

The Observer | Spring 2011 23

Top Myths About Real-Time Processing Forget What You've Heard About Real-Time by Erick Paul, President & CEO, Renaissance Systems & Services, LLC


any people think they know the right way to go about using the service or picking a partner to implement such a powerful capability, but they often wind up selecting a method of implementation that leaves them with a costly “mistake.” Here are ten myths about real-time claims processing along with facts that can help you truly make an informed decision when choosing your e-claims service.

Myth #1:

Myth #4:

Real-Time Claims means getting an “Real-Time Eligibility Verification” is the estimate of payment, not a finalized EOB. same as “Electronic Eligibility Verification.” Actually, it means submitting a claim, and within a few seconds get- The term “Real-Time” in front of any service means the informating a response from the insurance plan that gives you a finalized tion your receive back is displayed in a matter of seconds, so getting Explanation of Benefits (EOB), with enough details that you can perform balance billing of your patient before they leave the office. No more collections or bad debt write-offs, and no headaches trying With instant and accurate to reconcile “estimates” you calculate off static plan designs. We’re information, a dentist and member talking instant, actionable information in your fingertips that let you take action, not give you more work. can jointly evaluate a treatment

Myth #2:

plan prior to even beginning the

The term “Real-Time” means the same work, helping pave the way for a thing from all vendors. Vendors in the EDI industry sometimes do not provide adequate mutual understanding and support presentation to the term “real-time”, leaving it up to the office to for the services being proposed. decipher what is being offered. The terms “real-time CLAIMS” does not mean the same thing as “Real-Time ELIGIBILITY”, which is very different than the term “Real-Time Status”. With “Real-Time Claims”, an office is getting back an “instant EOB” within seconds “Real-Time Eligibility” about a patient means the information supthat contains the finalized response about a claim. The term “Real- plied is accurate to the second you requested and received a response. Time Eligibility” actually means an instant response about a patient’s Regular electronic eligibility verification is often times a few days old, eligibility to receive services, but has no value in terms of knowing and is susceptible to misinformation being supplied to a dental office how much an insurance plan will pay for a service rendered. And the because of “timing” issues that may occur between an insurance plan term “Real-Time Status” actually refers to the ability to see the latest and the employer groups they represent. status about the processing of a claim at the insurance carrier. Real-Time Claims is a new phenomenon When vendors say “Real-Time” without clarifying whether they and only available in the medical industry. mean claims, eligibility or claim status, they confuse offices and cre- Actually, the processing of a claim and return of a finalized EOB ate yet more barriers to understanding the values of getting a finalized within seconds was first offered in 1991, and it was actually launched EOB before a patient leaves an office. in the DENTAL market first, then the medical industry. Today, there are over 50+ dental insurance plans that offer “Real-Time Real-Time Claims means I get paid Claims” capabilities, including Met Life, United Concordia, numerinstantly. ous BlueCross & Blue Shield and Delta Dental Plans, and even some Unfortunately, that is not true. To get paid “instantly”, offices need smaller Third Party Administrators and Employer Groups. The list to sign up for a service called “Electronic Funds Transfer”, or EFT as of plans offering this capability is growing very fast with the help it is commonly known. Using EFT means an office completes a reg- of newer and more flexible technology, and you should see a rapid istration process and provides an insurance company access to their growth of plans eligible to provide this type of “instant response” bank account so the plan can issue an electronic wire transfer in place about a claim in the coming year. of receiving a paper check.

Myth #5:

Myth #3:

("Myths" continued on next page)

Renaissance Systems and Services, LLC (RSS) is dedicated to providing electronic solutions that add value to the dental community by lowering the cost of doing business through the promotion of e-commerce. Please visit for more information. 24 The Observer | Spring 2011

("Myths" continued from previous page)

Myth #6:

Real-Time Claims cost a provider more to process than a regular batch claim. Not true. Real-Time claims are often times offered for FREE ($0) by many leading EDI processing vendors, since the plans are already paying a premium to deliver the advanced service to a submitting provider.

Myth #7:

Real-Time Claims are no good if I have to send x-rays. Actually, many plans offer “Real-Time Pre-Determinations”, or “Real-Time Pre-Estimates”, that can benefit a provider and member greatly, even if the finalized EOB is not available at the time of service. With instant and accurate information, a dentist and member can jointly evaluate a treatment plan prior to even beginning the work, helping pave the way for a mutual understanding and support for the services being proposed.

Myth #8:

There are not a lot of dentists using RealTime Claims processing today. You would be shocked to know that there are over 25 million dental claims processed in “Real-Time” every year and growing. In fact, there are tens of thousands of dentists using “Real-Time Claims Processing” every month, and many are doing it right inside their own practice management software (PMS) systems, or using a third party solution vendor.

Myth #9:

I use a Mac computer and programs so Real-Time Claims is not available to me. There are many existing and new Macintosh-based software vendors in the EDI market today that have the capability, or will be offering it, very shortly. If implemented correctly, “Real-Time Claims” should be platform independent, software system independent and universally flexible to the submitter market.

Myth #10:

I tried “Real-Time Claims Processing” once and it didn’t work, so I’m better off using paper or batch claims transmission. It’s true that there have been rumors of horrible experiences by dental offices trying to submit “Real-Time Claims” over the last two decades. However, much like we hear stories about bad experiences with new technologies and the services that use those capabilities (i.e. new generation iPhones, internet shopping during the holidays; identity theft and more), everyone has a different and unique situation when they interact with technology. In fact, it’s those stories that have actually helped make the service more stable, reliable and affordable, as everyone involved in delivering the capability have worked hard to prevent those things from continuing or morphing into new problems. If you are serious about running a highly efficient and profitable practice – like most small business owners are in today’s economy – you need to learn more about this amazing capability. Who knows, maybe your experience will help give input to develop the next evolution (or revolution) in the world of EDI.

("Transformational" continued from page 12)

participants teach their partner the new Test. There are many kinds of testing We can all recall at least one teacher in skill as if they had not heard it before. mechanisms such as written “fill in the our lives that had a tremendous impact For the second topic section you might blank” reviews with group-designed ques- on our learning. Most likely they were have each participant go to the board tions based on the material, skills practice different from the rest. They somehow and add a possible question that might exercises, or even taping yourself or hir- made the material come alive for you be good to ask a patient on the phone, ing a “mystery patient” service. It is in the and helped and encouraged you to concreating a practice list of great questions. fourth and final piece that you not only tinue to struggle until you had that feelFor the third topic section, create ing of accomplishment when you a “triad” with three participants finally succeeded. Help your team Help your team get their hands in each group. One will act as a (your students) get their hands on on the material more often and patient, one as the team member, the material more often and more more quickly. Stop doing the data and one as an observer. quickly. Stop doing the data dump and help the material come alive dump and help the material They role-play an easy scenario and for them. Encourage them through come alive for them. rotate. This allows for a triple rethe struggle of learning something view and everyone gets the hot seat new. If you want inspired learnonce. For the last topic section, use a “dice test the learning of the participants but, ing, don’t just look to your students to roll” where participants role a die and re- more importantly, the effectiveness of the become better learners, become a more call things that they have learned or will trainer. If your group continues to struggle inspired trainer and teacher. You’ll find commit to doing better for every number and fail at passing the test, it is likely that you’re actually both looking forward to they roll. In this formula, everyone has you should look harder at your ability to those team trainings and meetings! fun, learns, actively participates, and is train, relay, and teach the information. engaged in mind and body. The Observer | Spring 2011 25

("Triage" continued from page 4)

priority of patients’ treatments based on the severity of their condition. Put another way, triage is the initial assessment of a situation in order to determine the patient’s need and which course of action to follow.

• I s it a problem with a denture? If so, is it broken, loose, causing a sore spot or what? •D  oes the problem involve a crown or bridge? If so, is it loose? Is the porcelain fractured? What is the extent of the fracture?

The triage process in a dental office begins •H  as the patient experienced some when a patient calls with a dental emertrauma? If so, what was the extent gency. The more information that the of the trauma? front office staff gathers during the initial telephone conversation with the patient, the more efficient the patient’s treatment 2. Is the patient in pain? will be managed. The goal should be to • When did the pain start? learn and record adequate information so • I s the pain getting better, staying the that the appointment coordinator knows same or getting worse? where best to schedule the patient and the • What is the intensity of the pain? (1dentist and the clinical staff know what to 10 scale) expect when the patient arrives. Information that we need includes: • I s the pain spontaneous? 1.  The nature of the patient’s dental problem: • Does the problem involve a tooth? If so, where is it located? Is the tooth fractured? If so, what is the extent of the fracture? • Does the problem involve the tissue around the tooth? Is there any bleeding?

• What causes the pain? (hot, cold, sweets, biting pressure, etc) • Does the pain go away right away or does it linger? • What, if any, medication is the patient taking to relieve the pain? 3. Is there any swelling? If so, what is the extent of it?

The goal should be to learn and record adequate information so that the appointment coordinator knows where best to schedule the patient and the dentist and staff know what to expect when the patient arrives. 4. Is this a cosmetic problem? 5. Does the patient require premedication prior to dental treatment? 6. What is the patient’s dental history in the problem area? (review chart) Expecting a front office person to be proficient at initiating the triage process without adequate training would be unreasonable. Doctors think to ask these questions and understand why this information is necessary because that’s how we were trained and we experience patient’s symptoms and problems on a daily basis.

Let’s assume that the scheduling coordinator triaged Mrs. Jones and Mr. Davis during their emergency telephone calls. The AM huddle meeting might have gone something like this: Appointment coordinator: “Doctor, there are two emergency patients in your schedule today. Mrs. Jones had a small piece of tooth fracture yesterday on her lower right molar area. She says it is the second tooth from the back and she doesn’t have a third molar so I believe it is tooth #30. That tooth has a MOD amalgam restoration that is 15 years old. She doesn’t have any pain but it is sharp to her tongue. I advised her that you would be able to smooth the sharp spot for her and that you would discuss the best way to permanently restore that tooth. I believe that Mr. Davis might need a root canal started. He is having sharp, throbbing pain (about 8 on a 1-10 scale) spontaneously that increases whenever he drinks hot liquids. There is no swelling at this time but the pain seems to be worsening. I advised Mr. Davis that you would have your second assistant take an x-ray and then you would do a clinical exam to determine the cause of his pain and the treatment needed. He knows that if a root canal is needed that he will be referred to a specialist today. That’s why he is in your schedule first thing this morning. Doctor: “OK, great work! Let’s review the needs of the other scheduled patients.”

When a patient calls our offices with a dental emergency, they need and deserve to be reassured by a knowledgeable staff person who has some basic understanding of their dental problem. Patients can lose confidence in the office if their ”emergency” is not handled in a professional manner by the staff person that they are conversing with. This conversation can be perceived by the patient as a reflection of the level of competence that they will experience throughout the dental office. Successfully treated emergency patients are very appreciative and often become great referral sources. Yes. Triage is a front office responsibility. 26 The Observer | Spring 2011

("Emergencies" continued from page 11)

better source of access? This type of issue should be considered in advance of the event.

The first component of the written plan is to have pre-assigned tasks for everyone in the Secondly, the business staff is responsible for office during an emergency. Business staff managing everyone else in the office. In this often feels removed from the clinical aspects case, it was a hysterical mother. However, of the practice. However, during a medical in a different situation, it may be a patient emergency, everyone in the office has a pre- that is abandoned in the hygiene room who assigned role. comes and tries to assist. The business staff needs to attend to the individual concerns of For example, in the situation above, the others on the premises. first step that should have occurred was for the doctors to page everyone to the Finally, the business staff needs to aid EMS’s treatment area. Some office paging systems arrival. It is often helpful to have someone actually have a designated tone for “special outside to greet the ambulance. For examcircumstances.” ple, I practice a complex of 4 identical office buildings. The buildings are numbered Once the declaration of the medical emer- in the order they were built and I practice gency has been established, the business staff in building no. 3. However, my building is (not the doctor) should have called EMS. nearest the road and many people assume it A written script should have been followed is Building 1. In an emergency, especially a providing the EMS dispatcher with appro- respiratory crisis, time should not be wasted priate information. Remember, the medics as EMS searches for the correct suite numare bringing in a 7 foot cot. Is the front door ber. Perhaps, your practice is in a multi-story DOS120001a:Layout 1 5/4/11 3:56 PM Page 1 the best means of entry, or is a side door a building. Time can be saved if someone is

designated to hold the elevator. To learn more about The Six Links of Survival™ and how they can help prepare your office for a medical emergency go to www. Download the free reference guide that provides step-by-step instructions on preparing all aspects of your office. Given time, every office will encounter some type of medical emergency. The question is not, “If,” but “When.” The issue your office needs to consider is how prepared you will be when that event occurs. RMBF is a 501 (c) 3 charity named in honor of 8-year old Raven who died of respiratory arrest during a routine dental check-up in 2007. The foundation is committed to helping dental offices be better prepared to manage any medical emergency they may face. The Six Links of Survival Reference Guide is available free online at Their mailing address is Nicole Cunha, Executive Director, Raven Maria Blanco Foundation, Inc., P. O. Box 65581, Virginia Beach, VA 23467

EAGLESOFT 16 FEATURES AN ARRAY OF NEW FEATURES TO HELP YOUR PRACTICE BECOME MORE PRODUCTIVE AND PROFITABLE. For more information on Eaglesoft 16, contact your Patterson representative, local branch or call 800.294.8504.


at the Conference on

THU., SEPT. 8, 2011



DOS120001a (5/11)

for Advanced User Training!

The Observer | Spring 2011 27

("Toolbox" from page 22)

process a walkout for everyone at once, and Dental provides. Patterson offers first class issue one receipt for the family. A line-item “big picture” support to meet our entire of- accounting feature has also been added to fice needs to include software, digital imag- the new version, which gives staff members ing and technology, equipment, merchan- the ability to apply a payment directly to a dise, office supplies, and technical service. It specific line item. is truly a partnership and they are dedicated to meeting our office goals and expectations. With our new office, we are looking forward to continuing to serve the community and to Recently we broke ground on a 13 operatory adopting new technologies to help us in this facility and have consulted Patterson to make endeavor. I feel confident that Eaglesoft will this big and important step. In addition to a continue to grow with us, and I always look large facility increase, we have executed on forward to incorporating a new version to see plans to go chartless during this process. what they have come up with to make things easier and to save time in the office. Additionally, we plan to use this opportunity to upgrade to Eaglesoft 16, which gives of- As mentioned previously, willingness to learn fice managers a number of important new and openness to change are critical to the sucfeatures. I look forward to implementing the cess of our practice. I will continue to learn “family walkout” feature, which will do away and challenge my doctors and staff with that with the need to process separate appoint- task. My software partner has helped me fuel ments one at a time when a family visits the our office growth and I am very confident as office. With this change, the front desk can we move forward and advance as a practice.

("Collect" continued from page 21)

For years most dental practices have ofTo clarify expectations with patients, the fered 90-day interest-free loans for those dentist must first explain the procedure who cannot pay with cash or credit card. and why it’s important. If the patient However, to achieve a 96% collection chooses to continue, he/she must then rate, this practice must be stopped. Intalk to the financial manager about cost stead, the office manager should suggest estimates and payment options. payment options that are good for the dental practice--cash, credit card, or a 2.  Make Payment Arrangements debit payment—before saying, “Your with Every Patient. As a general charges for the procedure will be aprule, dentists are great with teeth and proximately $X. How will you be paying bad with financial policy. For this rea- for that?” The financial manager should son, it’s important that all payment then allow the patient to respond, even arrangements be made with a finan- if it creates an uncomfortable silence. In cial and/or office manager. Luckily, at waiting for a reply, the patient is more this point patients are already famil- likely to select one of those options. iar with the practice’s financial policy; they should be aware that payment is If a payment plan is requested, the firequired at the time of service. They nancial manager can suggest the patient should also be familiar with the prac- apply for a dental credit card, like Care tice’s acceptable payment options. Credit. In this, the dentist is paid instantly while the credit agency manages individual payments.

28 The Observer | Spring 2011

Once the patient agrees to an acceptable payment option, the next appointment can be scheduled. Once the procedure is performed, the office manager can simply confirm, “You agreed to pay for this procedure with a credit card. Is that still correct?” Payment can then be received and/or another acceptable option selected, according to the financial policy. Summary A dental practice is a potentially profitable business, however, only when best efforts are made to secure payment. Outstanding debt accumulates quickly when practices do not adhere to a clear financial policy. These two strategies clarify payment expectations and ensure that a greater percentage of charges are collected following each and every appointment, enabling dental practices to collect at least 96% of production.

DANB. Helping To Build Stronger DANB. Helping To Build Stronger Dental Office Managers. Dental Office Managers.

The Dental National Board, several Course! Enhance YourAssisting Career With DANB’s ABCP:Inc. HR offers Fundamentals resources for dental managers. “DANB’s HR office Fundamentals course was challenging and • Continue

informative. I definitely encourage others to take it!” Your Education.-Inge Purchase DANB’s e-learning courses for Carosello, AADOM Member

dental office managers. • Continue Your Education. The course covers topics such as planning for current • Earn CE. Successful completion of DANB’s e-learning courses earns you and future staff, analyzing staffing needs as they relate to office structure, developing Continuing Educationrecognizing credits. components in the interviewing and hiring process, clear job descriptions, helping you to assist the dental officeDANB’s in maintaining compliance with state dental • Professional Recognition. e-learning courses help you to meet regulations, and more.requirements. AADOM Fellowship • Increase Your Marketability. Possessing strongand office management • Stay Informed. DANB’s state publications website help skills you can to stay position you as a valuable employee at your current job, or make you a stand-out up-to-date on state and federal compliance issues for dental assistants. candidate when interviewing for a new job. • Hire a DANB Certified Dental Assistant. DANB offers free mailing • Professional Successful completion of DANB’s ABCP: HR lists of CDAs in Recognition. your area if your dental office is hiring. Fundamentals and DANB’s ABCP: Accounts Receivable courses fulfill one of the requirements toward earning AADOM Fellowship.

Visit purchase today! Visit or callto1-800-FOR-DANB TODAY!

One Team at a Time.

One Team at a Time. • 1-800-FOR-DANB • 1-800-FOR-DANB The Observer

| Spring 2011 29

“This award was an affirmation of all I try to accomplish for my team and my practice. It was an honor to know that I am working with people that respect and take the time to take notice of all I do.” —Connie Elwell, Former AADOM Office Manager of the Year “Just a note to thank you for your work with AADOM. I was thrilled to finally see an organization for us managers. I’ve enjoyed the newsletter and forum on-line.” —Jennifer B., Atlanta, GA “Thank you and AADOM for the scholarship to attend the “Get Organized Fast” course last week. I received a wealth of information that I have been able to use immediately.” —Rosalind P., Chicago, IL

Apply online or complete this membership form. P 732-842-9977 • F 732-842-0085 • E MEMBERSHIP FORM

Your Name Name of Dental Practice Practice Address State



Office Phone Fax

Your Email

Practice Website Address (if available) For Member Forum, create: Username Type of Practice:


General Dentistry Specialized (please specify specialty)

Membership Term:

2 Years — $299 (best value)

Please check one:

New Member

1 Year — $155

Lifetime Member — $750

Renewing Member

Payment: Enclosed is my payment made payable to AADOM for my annual membership dues. I understand my membership is non-transferable and is valid for 12 months from date of issue. Method of payment:




MasterCard Exp Date

Name on Credit Card Credit Card Billing Address Card Number

Type of Credit Card 3-digit Security Code


Today’s Date

Please return this form by fax to 732-842-0085 or by mail to: AADOM, 125 Half Mile Road, Suite 200, Red Bank, NJ 07760. Visit our website at for more information on the American Association of Dental Office Managers. 30 The Observer | Spring 2011

AADOM Lifetime Members ARKANSAS Melissa Meredith ARIZONA Terry Barnes Diana Wiggins CALIFORNIA Mandana Abedini Sally Adams Tina Brown Joyce Carter Elizabeth Conway Vera Frailey Van T. Le Rebecca Marcotte Joanne Miles, FAADOM Adele Reische Dinora Rivera Kirk Sweigard Kim Thomas Donna Tripp, FAADOM Thelma Wright Louis Tieu COLORADO Mindy Otto, FAADOM CONNECTICUT Greg Gibson Milagros Mercado-Shashok Angelina Santa Maria Mellisa Volo DELAWARE Kathleen Manuel FLORIDA Anita Altschuler Lottie Descallar, FAADOM Linda Drevenstedt Kristin Grow Debbie Riley Robyn Rossetter, FAADOM Kristen Stephenson Barber, FAADOM Cindi Thomas, FAADOM Cindy Thompson Laura Toadvine Pamela Wilkening GEORGIA Darlene Clark Kari Montgomery

IOWA Melanie Duncan, FAADOM Carrmann Uhl IDAHO Elaine Hansen Christine Taylor ILLINOIS Roz Fulmer Cynthia Keller Linda Kleindienst Patti Krueger Joann Mamica Adrianna Manning, FAADOM Rosiland Palmer Blaney, FAADOM Mark Schinler Xichel Woods INDIANA Kay Valentine, FAADOM Ellen Sue Vandercar KANSAS Lisa Echols Gina Haskett, FAADOM Linda Hunter Jennifer Russell, FAADOM Sarrah Schneider Robert Wood MASSACHUSETTS Virginia Armstrong Doreen Davitt Lisa Field Leslie Hannigan Michelle Kratt, FAADOM Steven Larue Phuong Le Linda Mckim Nancy Nardi-Chicklowski Ann Marie Santos Tao Shen MARYLAND Caroline Blackwell Vicki Collier Danielle Dailey, FAADOM Mitos Edejer Ana Lopez Gwen Tennant Martha Westman, FAADOM

MAINE Kelly Lynch MICHIGAN Deanna Alexander, FAADOM Janie Begeman Cyndy Cohen Mary Govoni A. Knizner Monica Koles Lorraine Portenga Sherry Regiani Lisa Woollard MINNESOTA Debra Avery Jana Berghoff Cristen Manthe Lorie Streeter, FAADOM Heather Stromsodt Robert Tyler MISSOURI Pauletta Adams Kim Caracci Jill Donahue MISSISSIPPI Lisa Spradley MONTANA Tammie Hodge NEBRASKA Linda Lutmer, FAADOM Marsha McBratney Jennifer Warren NEW HAMPSHIRE Antonio Butura Lydia Howard NEW JERSEY Rose DiFazio Connie Elwell, FAADOM Renata Gedzior Julie Mitchell Isabel Mitzen Elizabeth Oehlberg Natalin Po Nathalia Reinstein Sandra Thompson NEW YORK Cindy Cooper

(continued on page 32) The Observer | Spring 2011 31

AADOM Lifetime Members (continued)

  NEW YORK (continued) Amy Ells Christine Esposito Karen Faulkner Rachel Gabari Christine Kearns Rebecca McGuire-Merkle Julie Mongal Sharon Noel Christine Taxin Lisa Torres Elizabeth Worthman NORTH CAROLINA Christi Bintliff Sandy Callison Jane Collins Janet Corbley Joe Mayes Amy Russell NORTH DAKOTA Stacy Cossette, FAADOM NOVA SCOTIA Beth Misner OHIO Amber Campbell Inge Carosello, FAADOM Chia-En Chen OKLAHOMA Ellen Chidester  ONTARIO Peter Hamilton

 OREGON Catherine Bartleson, FAADOM Kim Dole, FAADOM Pattie Grove Cassie Kogut PENNSYLVANIA Elizabeth Anderson Veronica Benton, FAADOM Emilyn DeNofa Judith Doskicz, FAADOM Jan Keller Tammy Solorio RHODE ISLAND Christine Lague   SOUTH CAROLINA Nicole Berkowitz Jodie March Stephanie Pittman Floretta Sutton SOUTH DAKOTA Cara Hull TENNESSEE Andrea Bowlin Lynda Davenport Penny Limoli Lynn Witkowski TEXAS Lilson Curl Mikki Daniel Veronica LaChapelle Tammy Mayo

TEXAS (continued) Dana Moss Cindy Schilhab Vivian Slack VIRGINIA Heidi Barnett Jane Chang Teresa Duncan, FAADOM Angela Hailemariam Jennifer McRee Barbara Rector Terrie Reeves Jo Warrick-Drum Beverly Wilburn VICTORIA Veronica Manoa-Hofbauer WASHINGTON Deborah Gowan, FAADOM Valerie Martin Wendy Mazzuca, FAADOM Gary Pedersen Erin Pope Krista Smith, FAADOM Elizabeth Whipple WISCONSIN Wanda Craft Roxanne Fassbender, FAADOM Amy Friberg-Wyckoff MSM Katie Smith, FAADOM

AADOM Fellowship Program AADOM Fellows are among the most esteemed and successful dental industry professionals who have achieved the highest level of dedication to their education and their profession.

To learn more about the AADOM Fellowship Program, please visit:

Don't miss the deadline! All 2011 applications must be completed and submitted by July 15th, 2011.

32 The Observer | Spring 2011

The Observer | Spring 2011 33

American Association of Dental Office Managers 125 Half Mile Road, Suite 200 Red Bank, NJ 07701

7 th Annual

Dental Office Managers Conference

International Keynote Speaker

Join our SUPERSTAR line-up of speakers for the premier educational and networking event in the country…just for YOU! 2011 Course Line-Up


*Discount codes cannot be combined.

■ Practice Administrator as “In House” Consultant ■ AADOM’s Introduction to Dental Office Management ■ Getting the DOLLAR$ Off the Books ■ Front Office Superstar ■ Intro to Facebook Marketing for your Practice ■ Get Over It: Build a Profitable Hygiene Dept ■ HR HoeDown—The Guts AND the Glory ■ TC IT! (Treatment Coordinate It)

“My office manager Adriana celebrated her 15 year anniversary with my practice. As part of my appreciation, I gave her a lifetime membership to AADOM. After attending the conference and realizing its benefits, I have informed Adriana that I will send her every year along with travel, meal and expenses as well as compensation for her time. I am confident that the return on my investment will be substantial.” —Dr. William Simon, City Smiles, Chicago

Observer - Spring 2011 - Volume 7 - Issue 1  

The official magazine for dental office managers

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you