Friday, November 21, 2008

My associate

Hi all,
I hope you had a good weekend.
Thanksgiving is only 3 days away.
Wow do we have a lot to be thankful for. Lets talk about this on Wednesday.

I started this blog on Friday and never was able to finish it because I had a physical therapy appointment on my Achilles. It is still hurting real bad. Every time it starts feeling better I go for a long run and it starts to kill. I ran out the door and never sent this. So here it is Monday and I am starting over.

First let me get some preliminary stuff out of the way.
Our football team got creamed. 42-6 (on Tuesday) . The half time score was 14-6. But after half-time they opened it up on us.
I am starting to think it is coaching (present company included). The kids don't listen really well. Some of them just don't care. Some of them just want to have fun (God forbid). I think they are having fun and really that is the important thing. I don't think one of them can tell us what are record it. The only time they are not having fun is when they are on the field getting creamed.
(We won on Saturday. We played a team with all third graders, but we played much better).

I finished the book, Beautiful Boy and I will be writing about it next week.

Well I had a weird week.
My father was on vacation this week.
So usually the poop hits the fan when he is gone. I am not saying things are always hectic but I am just saying that when he is here he is handling his issues and I am handling mine.
When he is gone there are twice the issues that seem to make your already hard day harder.
Our practice really is a two dentist practice and there are too many patients for one.
For instance, when he is gone I am doing 27 hygiene checks a day.
This kind of makes for a busy day.

I wanted to talk to you about my associate. I mean my past associate.
We talked last week and decided to end our professional relationship.
One year ago it was the perfect time to bring in someone. It was busy. We were bringing in new patients, we were generating production out of hygiene, people were asking us for treatment.
As I have told you before we interviewed a lot of people and we felt like the we hired the best dentist/person for the job. At the beginning things were looking real good. She was so nice. She got along great with the staff and our patients. And she was a good dentist to boot.
But, like I told you, things are slow.
After a couple of months after she started we discussed pushing her to hourly. She felt like if she sat around the office for 6 hours and worked for 3 it was unfair (I told you she was good like this).
But then the New Patient Exams were drying up, patients weren't asking for dentistry anymore. So anything that was coming in was being put on my dad and my schedule.
There was nothing for her to do.
At the beginning we spoke about her going to get her own patients. Well this turned out to be harder to do than expected.
You think that if you join the Chamber of Commerce, the Rotary and the Woman's Club people don't start flocking in right away. You have to build relationships. These relationships still don't equal immediate response. Most people have dentists. Most people are comfortable in their present situation. But you want to be the guy/gal that is there if something goes south in that relationship.
So it may take a couple of years.
So a week or so ago, we sat down together. She sees the schedule, I see the schedule and we look at each other.
I tell her I really like our relationship but I realize I am probably holding you back from finding a job that is more lucrative.
She said she was seeing the writing on the wall. She also said she like our relationship and loved our office but that ain't paying the bills for her.

She was awesome and she will continue to be part of our family. But in the end we concurred that we couldn't work together any more. We left it at that and we agreed to revisit each other when things get busier.

It sucks...totally sucks.

I will talk to you on Wednesday (maybe),


Anonymous said...

You are not responsible for marketing conditions beyond your control. Letting people go when $$ aren't coming in makes sense. When you say that 'people already have their dentist..', what are you really saying?

Relying on assumptions to make real-time decisions is risky. What can you do differently, right now, that would get you business? If you assume that all people who want or need a dentist have a dentist, aren't you defeating yourself today and tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

I'm assuming that your office normally books that much hygiene when both you and your dad are working? If that's so, it doesn't make sense that they'd book the same amount when just you are working.

Please correct me if I'm wrong because if I'm not wrong, I have no sympathy for you or your office.

gatordmd said...

First of all, I don't remember asking for sympathy.
And if I do correct you and if you are wrong would you sympathize with me?
And of course you would know the plight of the general dentist being an endodontist and all. is the problem.
We book our schedule for hygiene 6 months in advance. My father plans his vacation 3 weeks in advance (I exaggerate for color, but you get what I mean). Can you see where the problem is?
I would say we are not spontaneous but we sure don't think 6 months in advance. I mean with kids schedules and wifes schedules it is really tough. So instead the other partner just works a little harder for 4 days.
Now do you sympathize with me? I didn't think so.

ps I read your blog...its very good.

Anonymous said...

Your phrasing is deconstructively defensive so in order to not send this thread spiraling into insult hell I'm going to try to be as political as possible.

1. You didn't ask for sympathy so don't worry I won't supply any regardless of whether you correct me or not.

2. If you are already working your butt off on a regular day and then have to take on extra load this can become a physical impossibility. Unfortunately, a well-oiled business will and must book vacations 6 months in advance if necessary to maintain appropriate flow in the appointment book. My office, which is only decently-oiled, does.

I quote you, "Our practice really is a two dentist practice and there are too many patients for one."

3. I don't understand how my being an endodontist leaves me ignorant of the workings of a general office. Your statement is argumentative and inflammatory.

Again, it is physically impossible to provide the same quality of care to your patients if their appointments are compressed from the length of time that you usually need. You have not indicated that you see more hygiene but do less operative work when your dad is away. As a patient, I would not want to visit your office while either you or your dad are on vacation.


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