Dr. Val's no holds barred lecture for O Tee on how Dentist's fees are set.
Dental fees are insane. We are in 2018, yet our problems date back 90 + years. At that time dentists would get together in a town or region and decide on fair fees. When a new dentist came to town the older dentists would give the new guy the fees. There was no consideration of the costs that a new dentist had to set up his office or buy new technology.
In the late 1960's and early 1970's there was a movement to actually have fees reflect costs (this was the last time there was a chance that ALL dental fees would reflect overhead costs). This was also an important movement because what had been going on was price fixing and against the anti-trust laws of our country.
Before this smart movement took hold, insurance companies came on the scene. The insurance companies liked the old guys' fees. They dated back over 40 years and the fees had not been properly adjusted for inflation. SO the insurance companies concretized those fees forever in insurance fee schedules. The old fees for procedures dating back years: cleanings, crowns, dentures, extractions(pulling teeth), et cetera are included in these insurance fee schedules to this day with sub-par inflation rates.
NOW HERE IS WHERE THE REAL INSANITY BEGAN:
Two things you need to know, O Tee. One is that dentists are very good at dentistry and Two is that they are lousy at business (AND TAKE BAD ADVISE). Dentists as a group don't use their brains. Part of the not using their brains come from the fact that as a group they tend to act like lemmings...which, if they could talk to each other might stop. BUT THEY ARE GAGGED by federal non-compete laws that stop them from talking to each other about fees AND prevent them from coming together to legally fight insurance companies...they can be fined or go to jail if they do either of those things.
SO lacking courage individually, they just go along with insurance companies because (a.) to fight alone is unthinkable to most dentists and( b.) their self image is so poor they are afraid patients will not come to them if they don't join every bad deal insurance plan. This is why most dentists sign insane contracts, cutting their non - representive fees by 30% without even being aware of what their own over head is.
Yes, Yes I know O Tee how can they stay in business...believe me it is not easy. But, hey, the dentists got themselves into this problem. Our issue is the consumer.
BUT even the above is not the real insanity...perhaps you heard me muttering this afternoon about "idiots"? Yes...yelling is a better term.
Get this: an economic advise magazine for dentist written by dentists or people who sell dentists stuff BUT NOT BUSINESS OR ECONOMIC EXPERTS...wrote an article on how to price new procedures.
Get this: the cost of the material you buy for that procedure and what you want as your pay for the two hours it takes you to do the procedure is the fee.
DO YOU SEE WHAT IS MISSING?! Of course you do. NO WHERE do they talk about OVERHEAD. How much the rent, electricity, water, assistants' pay, goods to clean the room, costs to sterilize instruments, costs to keep equipment running, et cetera...no where. This is me being nasty, O Tee... But If you got 100 average dentist in a room and asked them what their own overhead per hour was to run their dental office ( which is really a dental hospital operating room) less than a quarter would know what you're talking about and I doubt 10% would know the figure for their office. I am being harsh...very harsh.
On so many levels this is insane. The real costs to produce a service needs to be reflected in the fee charged AND paid by insurance companies.That is basic business 101 and basic fairness to all..especially consumers who need fair fees!
Yet even fees for services begun after 1975 do not reflect the real costs to do the service/ procedure.
SOON. I Hope. The dentists will realize that sending crowns to China to be made (not acceptable...but some of the low cost American based labs are still doing it and not revealing what it happening) AND more and more competition for patients (as volume is one of the ways to bring in more fees) are both bad. Did you know the dental societies actually had to remind dentists it is unethical to pay patients to send them more patients...that is how desperate these guys are getting.
O Tee, your job and mine is to help and protect consumers while all this is going on. To let consumers know they have rights. They need to ask questions. Consumers need to know where products and materials used in their mouths originate. Our job is going to get harder...because just when I think the insanity cannot get worse...it does.
O Tee, I am so glad you are on board. And , yes, it is insane, but it is the reality we need to deal with...
(c) ohp4c/ 2018
OLD MARKETING STORY:
I have heard this marketing story told for years.There are many versions but all have the same underlying facts.
Many years ago in the early days of marketing a new, very talented graduate wanted to get a good job.
He heard about a shampoo company that had saturated the market and had no increase in sales for two years. This shampoo company was looking for a smart marketing expert to increase sales. The young, very talented, marketing graduate (the kid) saw this as his chance to shine. He got an interview with the shampoo company president. He told the shampoo company president "if you hire me I can double your sales immediately by adding one word to your shampoo label.." The president didn't believe the kid but decided to hire him on the condition that he did double sales.
Botton Line: The kid doubled sales.
How did he do it? What was the word? The word was "repeat' placed after the phrase
"apply shampoo to wet hair, massage into lather, rinse" REPEAT
Check out your shampoo label..it is 2017.."repeat" has been changed to "follow with our CONDITIONER"
There is a TV/print ad visual version of this marketing tool. The ad shows three or more times the needed product being used. Example: Only use a pea size amount of toothpaste on your brush. (see 3/2017, 2/2017 and 1/2017 articles on this website...these articles will save you money and time in the dental chair AND GIVE YOU A HEALTHY MOUTH)
(c) Dental POSSE, LLC 2/2017
ORAL HEALTH POSSE FOR CONSUMERS, LLCr
education, advocacy, consultation
© 2015 Dental POSSE, LLC/OralHealthPosse for Consumers
(c) 2015 photographs ValentinaPW
PO BOX 1417
Concord MA 01742
SEE 2/2017 ARTICLE
MANUAL vs ELECTRIC TOOTHBRUSHES
Too much tooth paste. WRONG!.
(c) Dental POSSE, LLC 2/2017
On this page is an overview of correct brushing from the American Dental Hygienist Association. This overview has been amended by the OHP4C 2-3-2017
It is important that you have YOUR DENTIST/HYGIENIST show you how to brush IN YOUR MOUTH. We are each unique individuals.
NOTE; YOUR ORAL HEALTH TOOTHBRUSH should NOT be used to clean your tongue. Tongue cleaning is important and will be covered in a future article. Here it is important to remember that in ORAL HEALTHBRUSHING and FLOSSING the goal is to thoroughly clean and disperse bacteria from all the sides of all the teeth once every twenty four hours.
Once you learn how to clean your teeth properly with a toothbrush and floss the whole process should take you only 2 minutes per day...an easy way to avoid poor heath and hours in a dental chair. Saves LOTS of money, too.
HOW TO BRUSH PAGE
TOOTHPASTE AMOUNTS: Toothpaste is recommended here only for use in social brushing..
Pea sized amount of toothpaste only: CORRECT!!