Here we are with our bellies full of Halloween candy and the holidays staring us straight in the face. Where did the year go? We are all probably excited that 2022 wasn’t quite the roller coaster that we’ve had in the past couple of years. Let’s keep pushing forward and strive for a strong end of the year. Here are some things that you will want to consider:
1. To finish strong, we will need to make sure our schedule is strong. Ideally, you will want to run a report that will give you the names of patients that have dental benefits remaining AND unscheduled treatment. A gentle reminder to the patients that the insurance will not roll over to the next year. It’s a ‘use it or lose it’ situation.
2. Make sure that all clinical notes were signed, charts have been audited, insurance claims have been submitted and all adjustments have been posted. This is important because we need to know what our final production and collection numbers are for the past year. We can then close out the month of December to lock in those numbers.
3. Reconcile the books for 2022. Make sure that every penny in your software is accounted for in the bank account. All expenses need to be put in the proper category for your accountants. Reconciling throughout the year helps to speed this process up, but it is always a good idea to review all transactions, as a whole, from the previous year.
As part of your ‘checks and balances’, the rule of thumb is: whoever is reconciling the day sheet should not be the same person that is taking the deposit to bank on a daily basis. The final year-end reconciliation should follow the same rule.
4. Schedule vacation time. All too often we see teams that did not schedule their vacation for the year, and when the end of the year comes (one of the busiest times in a dental practice) everyone is trying to use up their vacation time so they don’t lose it. This can leave your office short staffed and everyone scrambling. So be sure to look at your calendar for 2023 and decide when you want to take your vacation(s), and have your team submit their vacations. This will keep the office running smoothly and prevent any surprises at the end of the year.
5. Schedule CE courses. Along with your vacation, schedule when you and your team will take CE courses for the year. As dental professionals, you are required to take CE hours to maintain your licenses. Decide if you need to close the office, book flights, make driving and/or hotel accommodations, etc. Research the courses you want to take and when they are being offered. Nothing is worse than finding a course you want to take only to find out its already full, or you can’t go because your office has a full schedule.
6. Schedule performance reviews. Your office manual probably states when an employee can expect to receive a performance review. This is a fabulous way for you and your staff to grow through communication. It’s the best time to review past performance and set goals for the future. We like to see these reviews put on the calendar for the next year, as the meeting is concluded. This ensures that it is scheduled.
7. Salary reviews often come with the beginning of every New Year. Salary reviews are different than performance reviews since they are determined by the health of the practice. Sometimes they occur in the same meeting, but we prefer these separately.
8. Check your Emergency kit – Make sure that it meets all requirements and specifically check the expiration dates.
9. Dental licenses have expiration dates, whether it be for the doctor, hygienist or assistant. Determine when all your licenses expire; go through your calendar and mark it a month before they expire. This will be a great reminder and will give you plenty of time to fill out the appropriate paperwork. It is extremely unfortunate to file an insurance claim only to be denied because your provider’s license expired. That is a denial you cannot fight and will not be able to collect from the patient(s).
10. Inactive charts – there will be patients that leave your practice. The end of the year is a good time to review who has not been to the office in the past 2-3 years. Prior to inactivating their charts, we recommend that a letter or email be sent out, in the event that the patient is just hanging out there without dental care.
11. Consider your 2023 goals! How many new patients keep your practice growing? What is the amount that you need to produce on a monthly basis? Then break that down by weekly and daily for individual goals.
12. Schedule a meeting in January with the team to Review last year’s numbers - as a team, it’s always nice to look back at all things operational. Did you prep as many crowns as the year before? How about whitening sessions? Do you feel your perio program remains as strong? Get a list of Key Performance Indicators and see how you measure up.
13. Confirm all holidays are blocked for the upcoming year. Since we work in 6-month intervals, it’s important to keep that part of your schedule up-to-date.
14. Plan out all team meetings and team outings for the upcoming year. If you put it on the books now, the opportunity won’t get lost because it wasn’t scheduled out.
The best part about January 1st is that it is a new beginning, however first we have to get through December. You can learn from this past year and gear up for the new year. You will also want to make sure that important things are set in place to keep the practice flowing as smoothly as possible. Take some time to review this list to plan out 2023.
Denise Ciardello, Consultant
Denise is co-founder of Global Team Solutions. A professional speaker and published author, her enthusiasm and knowledge about the dental profession has helped many dental teams. She brings experience, insight, and creativity into her management style, along with a sense of humor. In a profession that can cause anxiety in some dental employees.
Denise’s consulting approach is to partner with doctors and team members to help them realize the dream of creating a thriving, successful practice.
Denise can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org