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Washington State Dental Association

Consultant's Advice - John Barrett, DDS

I read with interest a recent article passed on by a Sullivan/Schein sales rep. In it, the management consultant wrote at length about math and demographic exercises you should apply to decide whether to join or stay in a PPO. What interested me the most and I found glaringly lacking was that there was no mention whatsoever of the need to eveluate the past practices of the PPO - has this PPO been improving the offers either to the patients or to the provider? Let me call this “track record”. It should be viewed as a forecast of what’s in store. If you discern a postitive trend, then perhaps you can take the numbers generated from following the advice of the consultant at face value, but if the track record is negative, you will be wise to introduce a modifier for this effect. Maybe 10% cut in your income projections would be wise for a PPO that has a mild negative track record and for one that has a moderate negative track record it might be better to apply 25% or greater cut in future income. Probably you would do well to increase your modifier significantly for situations where the track record is severely negative.

If you could rely upon your numbers generated from today’s decree from the PPO, the consultant’s advice might be relevant. If history tells you this would be risky and foolish, it probably is.

I’ve heard and seen advice from other consultants in addition to the one mentioned. This includes those commissioned by our WSDA recently for a webinar. Some of these I have known and admired over the years and in some cases decades. I have not seen any of them introduce or mention this concept or factor, if you will. It tells me we have our collective heads buried in the sand. We need to wake up!

-John Barrett, DDS
Port Hadlock, WA


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