Where did you go to dental school?
I went to the University of Detroit Dental School and graduated in 1974. I opened up my own practice in 1975 and then added a number of additional practices — pretty quickly. I wound up selling some of them eventually to focus on other things, including teaching at the University of Detroit Dental School for about six years while my daughter matriculated there.
I now have two offices, one in Redford, MI (where I’ve been for 18 years) and one in Madison Heights, MI.
What were the main stresses or problems you ran into over the years?
Just about any issue you could name, we experienced it. The primary one was just collecting enough to pay myself!
While I always felt multiple offices was the right idea, we just didn’t know what we were doing in terms of managing them. Luckily, I found a great office manager, Francine Parks, who helped me a lot, so we did okay for awhile.
Eventually, though, we realized we were producing the same numbers y ear after year (no growth) and we knew something was wrong. Income was inconsistent and we had trouble managing the staff efficiently. It seemed like we were micromanaging and working really hard just to get by. We started to ask, “Where do we go form here?”
Did you work with any consultants or practice management solutions prior to MGE?
We tried many of the big names in the industry for consulting. Some of them were helpful in certain aspects, but for whatever reason they didn’t seem to make a real, lasting change in the condition of my practice.
When did things change?
In 2013, though, we decided to attend a free seminar MGE was giving in Detroit. We’d actually heard of MGE over the years, but didn’t think it would be much different from all the others. At this seminar we learned a lot of great information! The subjects they taught were fascinating — things we had never even considered before. We wanted to know more so we also attended the MGE New Patient Workshop and MGE Communication & Sales Seminars.
Every time we went to an MGE seminar, production would go up immediately when we got back to the office. I mean every time we went to MGE. We would always learn somethign new that was completely relevant to what was happening at the office, and we’d be able to implement it immediately.
Total collections have more than doubled and we run far more efficiently. We’re not working nearly as hard now, but we’re getting mroe done and helping mroe patients. Customer service has also improved. MGE really showed us how to organize our office in such a way that we can work smarter — not harder.
Can you share some specifics about how you achieved this?
Well, one of the first things we did with MGE was the MGE New Patient Workshop to try to increase the number of fee-for-service new patients. We had already been doing some marketing at the time (particularly newspaper, TV, and internet), and at the workshop we found out what we were missing in that marketing. There were certain key points to include in our marketing that we had just been missing. So we adjusted our marketing campaigns to be more effective — without spending more.
As a result, we increased the number of new patients by about 20 per month. That number is actually bigger than it sounds if you consider that over the same time we stopped accepting discounted state insurance plans. So our fee-for-service new patients have really doubled.
Now our new patients are 100% fee-for-service and many accept more comprehensive treatment. We wouldn’t have been able to do that without the MGE New Patient Workshop.
Then we did the MGE Communication & Sales Seminars. I never considered that I had trouble with case presentation or acceptance before, but after doing these seminars I can see that my communication with patients is much better. I’m much more focused and able to see where my patients are coming from and how I can get through to them.
The seminars showed us that there are a series of specific steps (whether you realize it or not) that lead up to a patient accepting a treatment plan. We made sure those steps are followed correctly in our practice and it’s made a tremendous difference for us. Our case acceptance has increased dramatically; a lot more full cases are being accepted. This is great because, yes, it increases our production, but more importantly we’re completing their full treatment plans and getting more patients fully healthy (from a dental perspective). Before, we’d present the full plan but most patients would only accept partial treatment (that insurance covered) or opted to do nothing at all.
So we saw immediate results from these seminars and were doing very well. But every time I came to MGE I would meet these dentists who were doing the MGE Power Program (which voers all organizational and management aspects of running a dental practice) and had these incredible stories of doubling and tripling their offices and working less with more profit. Eventually I told my Francine (my office manager), “You know, we’ve got to do that Power Program.”
We signed up for the MGE Power Program and it’s really indescribable how big of a difference it’s made for us. The biggest thing I gained is knowledge — knowledge of the technology of systems and of how to really manage a dental practice. I’ve taken lots of other practice management programs, but nothing like this. We’ve learned to manage our staff effectively, see mroe patients and actually maintain a high level of organization as we go about our daily journey of practicing dentistry.
This is a program that I think gives you a clear path and when you get to the end of it as we now have done, you look back at it and say “Oh my gosh! This is life changing.” What has happened to me is totally different that what I’d ever dreamed of.
What advice would you give to other dentists?
I love the MGE program so much that I’m always telling my friends and colleagues to do it. I think people just don’t know what is available here at MGE. If they did, they’d already be at MGE. So I feel like an ambassador for MGE and I want to be a beacon of the success that can be achieved, because I feel that there is a major need for the things they teach especially in my home state of Michigan. I see a lot of practitioners suffering, whose economics are poor and don’t have an understanding of “How do I overcome this>” or “How do I get to where I want to be?” I was in that spot myself for many years. I look at these practices and think “Oh they just dont’ know what to do. If they only knew, they wouldn’t have to worry about these issues.”
If you believe in your ability to practice as a dentist, then you owe it to yourself to get this technology to gain that same level of ability as a business owner.