In a Q&A, Dr. Paul Fugazzotto, successful periodontal and implant specialist, visiting lecturer at many universities, and Director of the Institute for Comprehensive Implant Therapy, discusses how professional relationships can help bring your practice to a new level.
“If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.” — Henry Ford
Q: Your practice currently enjoys a 98% case acceptance rate. What do you attribute that extraordinary success to?
A: Relationships — that’s how you build a strong, profitable practice. Before you can expect a patient to say “yes,” there needs to be a network of professionals laying the groundwork together.
The tenets that make up any healthy working relationship are mutual respect, open communication, and trust.
Trust is the foundation of a good relationship. For fellow practitioners, this means open communication during every stage of the treatment plan, including the discussion of who’s charging what. My referring doctors and I do this with our patients. The goal is to streamline everything for the patient — the diagnosis, the recommended therapies and a single fee for service. The result is greater patient understanding and increased acceptance of therapy.
Q: A single fee for the entire treatment plan? How do you make that happen? Even if you streamline the referral and scheduling, there are still two offices that need to invoice the patient.
A: Our team relies upon the multi-payment program from Lending Club Patient Solutions. The program helps strengthen practice relationships while allowing patients to consolidate costs for all the providers engaged in their treatment plan — dentist, lab, implant specialist, everyone regardless of location — into one convenient payment plan. The dentist presents one total treatment fee for service to the patient. It’s easier for the patient to understand, and you’re more likely to get a “yes” to the treatment plan.
Under the multi-payment program, Lending Club Patient Solutions distributes funds to the various participating provider locations (minus the applicable practice fees), and the patient makes a single, low, fixed monthly payment through Extended Plans for the entire therapy. One team. One financing application. One total treatment fee for service. One repayment plan that fits the patient’s needs.
Now, patients understand the therapies we’re recommending and how they must meet their needs and budget. Even the most complex procedure can be affordable if you empower patients with more responsible and convenient financing options. That’s why it’s important to include patient-friendly financing. It’s like the third leg of the relationship stool. By working together with a “one-stop” financing process, patients get the care they need, all of our practices streamline workflows, and accounts receivable disappear.
Q: Building a robust network takes commitment. How do you fit everything into your busy schedule?
A: One way we connect is through continuing education. By offering our partnering doctors regular evening and full-day presentations, we have a great tool for getting the team on the same page. The topics range from restorative techniques to treatment planning to advanced therapies to business concepts. These meetings also provide an opportunity to discuss industry tools like the Lending Club Patient Solutions multi-payment program. The majority of the events are at no charge as a way to say thanks. We learn techniques together and can, in turn, improve patient care and all of our businesses.
Q: What about those referring practitioners who prefer to stay independent, to keep it all in-house and offer office financing?
A: I’d say, put yourself in the patients’ shoes. They’re already worried about the procedure: “Will it hurt?” “How will it look?” “How much time will I lose from work?” If they also have to worry about how to pay for the treatment, you will have a harder time getting them to say “yes” to necessary care. By simplifying payment and offering a single fee for service, you remove more of the roadblocks.
As for self-funding or in-office payment plans, we don’t do either. Naturally, we offer patients a 5% “courtesy discount” for immediate payment. But self-funding? No. I’m not a bank. Financing offered through Lending Club Patient Solutions changes my accounts receivable from 30 days to 3 days, and it eliminated the need for my staff to have the tough “your payment is overdue” conversation with patients.
When there is a program like the multi-payment program from Lending Club Patient Solutions, why consider self-funding?
Find out more about Lending Club Patient Solutions at www.lendingclub.com/patientsolutions.