CDA member-only programs help boost practice success

Dentists are busy in their day-to-day work providing the best care they can to patients. With that comes the need to run an effective business and understand practice management, regulations, budgets, marketing and more.

CDA provides members with two services to help with this aspect of owning a dental practice. First, there’s CDA Practice Support, which is an exclusive member benefit and includes hundreds of online resources geared toward the dentist who needs general support with running the business side of a practice. Second, there’s Practice Advising, an in-office consulting fee-for-service that provides dentists guidance to reach individual business goals.

“When you think about running a dental practice, you have to consider everything from the pressure to reduce costs, the increasing costs of dental education, the level of dental insurance remunerations that vary significantly between insurance plans, understanding your cost of goods sold and calculating gross versus net profit, just to name a few,” said CDA President Walt Weber, DDS. “It’s a lot to juggle, and that is why CDA has both Practice Support and Practice Advising available as member benefits.”

For basic guidance, members can turn to CDA Practice Support, which has more than 600 up-to-date resources available online. Practice Support is chock-full of valuable information to help dentists with everything from starting a new practice to creating their own employee manual. There’s even insight to help them choose the right dental benefit plans.

“Practice Support is essentially your first line of defense in managing the business side of your practice,” Weber said. “If you have a simple question you can call a practice analyst for information, or search for the resource that will fit your needs.”

CDA Practice Support has resources in the following areas:

Practice Management – Sample business plans to help detail and document a dentist’s vision for their practice as well as step-by-step checklists for opening, transferring ownership of or closing a practice. Dentists also can get tips on marketing their practice, patient education tools and more.

Employment Practices – Resources in this area help dentists hire and keep staff productive and happy. Get advice on how to write job descriptions, create applications, place help-wanted ads, set meal breaks, establish alternative work schedules and terminate an employee. In addition, all of this is supported by a Sample Employee Manual, which can be customized to a practice.

Dental Benefit Plans – Coverage through dental benefit plans is one of the primary ways patient care is funded, and being able to navigate the dynamic world of dental benefit plans is one key to managing a smart practice. Utilizing the resources included here, dentists will learn how to navigate the unique requirements of provider agreements, manage and file dental claims efficiently and effectively, improve understanding of appeal rights as a dentist and much more.

Regulatory Compliance – The Dental Board of California and Cal/OSHA are not the only entities that regulate a dental practice. Find out about these other entities and how they can impact a practice. Dentists can start their Cal/OSHA compliance process by downloading the Regulatory Compliance Manual and customizing it for use in their office.

The Ask an Expert section of cda.org/practicesupport is another resource where dentists can ask questions to a CDA Practice Support expert such as: How do I create a cellphone policy for my office, or where can I find the latest OSHA posters to post in my break room?

If dentists need help beyond these resources, Practice Advising is available.

“The business side of running a dental practice is similar to assessing a dental patient who has complex needs,” said Practice Advisor Shaun Pryor. “If a dentist has a patient with complex needs then they will need more data on that patient to make a proper diagnosis. This is very much the case for how your practice functions as well.”

Practice Advising is in-office consulting designed to provide dentists guidance they need to reach their individual business goals. The question becomes, what are those business goals: Increasing production? Maximizing hygiene? Decreasing overhead?

“Practice Advising can analyze what’s happening in your practice and help you develop a plan to get the results you want,” Pryor said. “In other words, Practice Advising is different, and that's a good thing.”

Practice Advising offers CDA members  personalized, in-office visits by a practice advisor, monthly one-hour scheduled calls with the client and/or appropriate staff person, help developing a vision statement and creating a customized action plan that the dentist will review and modify with an advisor during their first in-office visit. Since there are no long-term contracts, dentists can use the service just as long as they need it.

Practice advisors have expertise in leadership, patient scheduling, treatment planning, financial policy, case presentation, overhead control, marketing and hygiene department management.

“We take pride in offering this hands-on service only to CDA members because you are getting guidance from a trusted source — an organization that understands dentists and the business side of the profession,” Weber said.

For more information on CDA Practice Support, visit cda.org/practicesupport.

For more information on Practice Advising, visit cda.org/practiceadvising.

While CDA Practice Advising is focused on helping our members develop and improve their business practices, patient care must always be a primary focus. Any business change that we recommend will not affect the treatment that patients receive from their dentist. Patients should receive care and a treatment plan that meets their dental needs regardless of payer source. Remember, all patients should be treated fairly, consistently and ethically, as more fully described in the Patient Bill of Rights.