Recently, a front page article in our local newspaper (the AJC) expressed great disappointment that the “Affordable Care Act” did not substantially improve access to dental care. Further, it highlighted the comments made by several individuals that they could not afford even routine care because they had no dental insurance. One even stated that “dental care had become a luxury!”
It has often been said that you can easily determine what one values by examining one’s calendar and checkbook! Why is it, then, that we – as a profession – generally fail to illustrate our value to much of the population? Indeed, Fred Joyal, CEO of Futuredontics, stated that his company’s research has found that many view dental services as a commodity, not a valued service!
I’ll never forget the day a wonderful couple for whom I provided restorative and preventive services for many years thanked me, and told me that they would be leaving the practice. When I asked why, I was stunned to learn that it was because the husband was retiring, and they would lose their dental insurance!
At $80/month (or nearly $1,000/year), they maintained they could not afford continued coverage. When I asked how much they thought preventive care would cost, they indicated they had no idea. So I grabbed a sheet of paper and a pen, and listed our fees for routine examination, prophylaxis, and annual bitewing radiographs. Multiplying that total by two, I quickly illustrated that their annual out-of-pocket expense would be less than half the annual insurance premium!
In minutes, I was able to demonstrate our value to them, and proved why they did not need “insurance” to access routine dental care. Ultimately, they even decided to continue their routine regimen of two visits each year.
While there are those in our society without the financial means to access even routine dental care, there are many others who can, but choose not to. For those who cannot, many do receive needed basic services through charitable facilities sponsored by numerous organizations. For those who can, however, we need to help them “do the math,” and understand what a health-care bargain we are!
Dentists are typically well prepared to care for their patients through excellent clinical training, but are grossly underprepared to own or operate a small business in today’s changing and challenging marketplace. Learn valuable real life lessons in this dynamic and fast-paced program which will touch on many of the factors necessary to operate your practice successfully.
“Values give rise to attitudes… your values are not merely those things you talk about in church or refer to when someone asks you what you believe in. Your values are deeply held beliefs about what is important, precious, or sacred to you.”