Friday, December 25, 2009
Friday, December 18, 2009
As an aside this will probably be my last blog of the year. I am working Monday and Tuesday of next week and that is it for the rest of the year. So I probably will not be able to have time to blog next week, considering I have lots to buy and I don't have all my lights up on the house. I mean I did it all but then I went to Lowes yesterday and they had all their Christmas stuff HALF OFF. I bought about 10 boxes of lights. $3 for a box of C-9 lights...are you kidding me. $3 for a strand of those tubes light, oh I had to get 5 boxes of those.
So I want to say Merry Christmas and Happy Chanukah to all of you. Have a great New Year. It has been a tough year for some of us, but let me remind you how blessed we are.
I hope you all of you get some good family time this year and some good eatin'. I will see you next year.
My daughter said a Madisonism this week that I thought you would get a kick out of.
After Thanksgiving, I play nothing but Christmas songs at the house, in the car, and at work. I want to get in the mood.
Well we are in the car and the song Angels We Have Heard on High starts to play. So the lyrics are Glooooooooo-ooooooooooo-ooooooooo-ria, In Excelsis Deo.
So we are singing and Madison says, "How are we suppose to know what we are singing when they write the song in German?" . My wife and I totally busted a gut.
In my book Tim Keller is talking about how Success can be a god, which I can relate to.
Some of us are driven by success and we find our identity in success. Success becomes our god.
He also says that as he had counseled people in life he hears things from the affluent that he never would hear from the less affluent.
Things like, "Life isn't suppose to be this way."
He says he never hears this kind of talk when he is around the poor.
Why do we think that because we have money and we are "successful" s!@#$%t isn't going to happen? Do we think because we work hard and have some means that we are not going to have issues? No, but I think it does mean that we will work hard to persevere.
Okay about our topic.
I have to tell you that I only got one comment from yesterday's blog. I am not going to take it personally. I am not going to think that no one is reading. I am not going to thing that no one likes me.
I am chalking it up to too much eggnog on your behalf.
The one comment....
Word is getting around about what a great guy you are John and people are starting to take advantage of you. I do help certain people out in my office but only the ones I know, not people off the street. What I do to prevent the flood gates of what you are describing from opening is to volunteer at a clinic that is set up to help people in need. This way I help people who need it but it has nothing to do with my office.
I do agree with some of this commentor's comments. I especially like the "great guy" comment. But I get an e-mail (I don't know how they get my personal e-mail) and it asked me to help. What do I do ignore their request? It is 20 minutes out of my day, a day that I might add is NOT stocked full of paying patients at the moment. Maybe I won't help everyone "off the street" but I might help everyone that at least asked me.
Now this person says he helps "the one's he/she knows" but I have to tell you I am helping people I know from church that I don't really like.
Sometimes if you know them, you know that they are in a position that they are in, not being able to pay, because of their lack of drive. They are adults that are stupid and have been fired from their jobs and then their kid falls down while ice skating. Do you punish the kid because their parents are lazy asses?
See sometimes knowing people is worse then not knowing them. You just fill a cavity and let them go. You don't have to know why they lost their job, you don't have to see what kind of car they drive, you don't have to see their new blackberry with the data plan and cringe.
I have told you that I think of my talent as a gift from God. I told you that Jesus talked about us multiplying our talents and he talked about what it would look like if we didn't multiply our talents...not good.
He talked about Feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting prisoners, and if you read between the lines, you might see fix or pull the teeth of the decayed.
"Whatever you do to the least of my brothers you did unto me."
My problem now is I can't stop. I can't say NO.
I know it is terrible business. I know in the long run it is not really helping me (meaning I don't think all of my patients that I don't charge are running out and telling their rich friends all about the gentle dentist they just went to).
I guess what I am going to do is go with the flow. As the economy is crappy, people are going to need me. If the economy gets better then people are going to need me, but this time they might be able to pay.
I will continue to help people with reckless abandon, and I am not going to think about it. If I have openings in the schedule I can either walk around the office and get pissed about seeing my staff huddled around the front talking and laughing and doing nothing or we can help someone in a bind. (This is not a jab at my staff, sometimes there is just nothing to do).
I think this is just how I would wanted to be treated if I was in a bind.
Will some people take advantage of this? Absolutely. Do they take advantage of me? Absolutely. But I try to not think about it. I don't want to not help the masses because one person is a total mooch. (At my Dentistry from the Heart free dental day, someone rolled up in a current model S500 Mercedes).
I know it is crazy. It is a terrible business model: to just help someone without any questions, to do it and never think about it again, and go home and feel God's pleasure.
It is in my genes. I just can't stop.
I am glad we had this talk (I feel like it was kind of one sided)
Have a great holiday,
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
The saga with the unhappy patient is over.
Monday, December 14, 2009
Yep, that was Ric's mission, although Ric doesn't recall Ric having a choice about whether or not to accept the mission. Thursday night the Bunco ladies were over to the house for their Christmas festivities (if you have not experienced the suburban dice game, you are really missing out guys). Friday was Ric's office Christmas party at our house, Saturday was our Sunday School Christmas party and Sunday was a Christmas party for the Venue Band (a praise band Ric sings in at church).
In between, Ric met with his banker and accountant for end-o-the-year planning. Ric doesn't want to give it away but Ric thinks Uncle Sam is getting a nice present from Ric this year. But it is on backorder so he won't get it until mid-April. Nonetheless, still a pretty nice present if you can wait for it.
Ric also saw a couple of emergency patients at the office over the weekend. That seems to come in waves. Ric can go months without one and then go several weekends in a row with one.
After all of that, Ric believes he is now ready for the holiday to begin. The air is cold and crisp, Christmas music is playing in the office and the procrastination on buying the kid's presents is well into its 50th week. Aaahhh, Ric loves the prospect of again filling the tree with presents that are purchased from the in-stock leftovers of area stores during frantic lunch-hours and the Friday remaining before the big day. We do it every year and, quite honestly, it is fun. Our kids all have birthdays in November and December so we are getting those presents early and Christmas presents just seem to get put off until later.
Well, today is one of those rare days where Ric is busy but his hygienist isn't so Ric better get back to prepping crowns.
Have a great week.
Thursday, December 10, 2009
Okay I have a couple of short stories that I will turn into a blog.
Nice guy about 70 years old.
I completely understand and I'm sorry about the confusion. There are a lot of people out there who can't afford the real thing so I give them a chance to own a similar item for way less. I would never think of tricking a buyer, that is why I put in my listing that the free item is not a David Yurman. I will retract your bid and all will be fine. Thanks again,
My faith in people restored. I wrote her back telling her I applauded her integrity and I appreciated her letting me off the hook.
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Monday, December 7, 2009
I swear I wasn't like this before starting my business 3 1/2 years ago, and I have never been diagnosed so I don't mean to offend anyone with diagnosed depression ("what's the deal with cancer").
However, the voices are back.
Not the fun happy sarcastic voices.
The "YOU SUCK" voices.
Ever get those? Ever have one of those weeks where you are just worn down? One of those weeks where you are a walking panic attack. An actor who walks around the office smiling but has to hurry back to the privacy of my private office before the true emotions come through. A week where you know you have snapped at your kids and wife when they didn't deserve it. A week where you had unfounded, random fears of being diagnosed with cancer or having a family member die (yeah, I have those voices a lot). Then to cap it all off you hit a weekend where instead of relaxing and recharging you spend 6 hours rebuilding a hard drive in one of your operatory computers (can't wait to get that bill) and then spend Saturday seeing a patient in severe post-frenectomy/extraction pain who can't wear his new denture because of the inflammation.
I don't even know where to begin so if this is stream-of-consciousness and you don't like it - fine, skip to Wednesday. I'm lying on the couch now, ready for the healing to begin.
November was one of the worst collections months in the brief history of this office. It was a month where I am still juggling bills so that everything clears on time. It was a month where you realize that there is no such thing as a "profit margin" in a dental practice with the start-up costs we have. It was one of those months where I felt like Bernie Madoff - is this really a successful business or simply a fancy maxillo-mandibular-ponzi scheme.
It was one of those months where I had to expend all my energy juggling bills and fighting the pressure to "diagnose to help the bottom line". I don't know the technical term, but I don't think non-dentists can appreciate that pressure. Is it only me?? I am extremely conservative on my diagnosis. If a practice manager came in I'm sure the 1st thing they would say is to cut 2 staff members and the 2nd thing they would say is to start diagnosing more crowns. BUT I WILL NOT COMPROMISE, I WILL NOT SETTLE, I WILL NOT STOP FIGHTING. I hate the pressure of having a stack of bills on my desk and still diagnosing as if I am Bill Gates. I don't like leaving an operatory frustrated because the tooth isn't cracked a little more to justify a crown.
It is the holidays, I want to be generous and happy. I love giving things to people - that is my gift and my curse (thanks granddad). I employ a single mom, a young woman putting herself through college, and 2 new moms (one of whom's husband recently lost his job). I have a responsibility to these people. They have each worked so hard this year, and we are growing but there is just nothing extra. How do you do Christmas bonuses?? I am not going to be able to do much and that just bugs me.
There is an analogy that I use all the time in situations like this. If you enter a strange room and the second after you enter the room all the lights go out, if you continue moving across the room your mind will retain the brief image of the furniture in the room and you can navigate across the room without hitting anything. If, however, you stop, you lose that image and it is more difficult to make it across the room. I can self-diagnose and give myself that advice. It seems dark now but remember your vision, just keep moving forward, stay the course. I know we are doing fine (Mr. Banker if you are reading this - believe me, we are doing fine - promise). That said, it is a hell of a lot easier to cross the room with a freaking light on.
Well, I can't put it off any longer. I have to go through the stack of mail on my desk and start figuring out what bills to pay. Time to put on the iTunes and just do it. Hopefully next week will bring back some of the mania that everyone enjoys so much more.
Have a good week,
Friday, December 4, 2009
All my flag football teams are getting rolled on. The first grade boys are kind of having a hard time focusing (imagine that). We have practice one day, and all we do at practice is this ONE play. Then the very next day, at the game, we go to run this play and half the kids are looking up in the sky doing pirouettes and the other half has no idea where to go. One kid starting running the wrong way with the ball.
My fifth grade team is going pretty good. I think most of the kids are having a good time. We played an undefeated team yesterday, and I think we held our own pretty good. We were down 18-7 at halftime and on the last play before halftime it was our guy running all by himself and somehow got caught from behind. That was a game changer. We lost 38-7, but it was much closer. They scored two quick ones at the end.
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
The Gator Basketball team (I am not talking about the other Gator team) beat #2 Michigan State on Friday night and then beat Rutgers on Saturday. So we moved into the rankings yesterday at #13. We play #5 Syracuse next Thursday. I'll let you know how it goes.
I wanted to talk to you about the phone call. In case you missed the first blog about this call, let me refresh your memory. Well because I am running out of time in the day let me just give you a link to the first blog.
I know sometimes you go in your office and isolate yourself from the phone calls. You isolate yourself from the collecting money. You isolate yourself from conflict up at the front.
How do you get the person to realize they are calling the Ritz-Carlton of dental offices. I am not talking about stick your nose up Ritz-Carlton. I am talking about the five-star service Ritz-Carlton. And if the person is a CEO or some high-flooten job like that it shouldn't take them long to figure out this place is special.
Monday, November 30, 2009
Movie report - I'm not a huge movie guy, I really go for the popcorn and milk duds. This last weekend I went with my wife on a date to movie. Now, I'm too embarrassed to tell you what movie it was but let's just say it is very popular and is an astronomical event that occurs monthly - maybe you have heard of this movie, don't worry I won't spoil it for you (the director did that already).
This movie involves many mythical creatures/monsters and is apparently attempting to recreate a Romeo and Juliet storyline in the Northeast US but instead of Juliet we have a morose, co-dependent, breathy teenage girl. Romeo is a soul-less (literally) bloodsucker, and I guess Mercutio is a 6-pack ripped, shirtless teenage werewolf.
I don't have a problem with the theme, the content, or the double-standard we have with teenage guys being exploited for their bodies (that is an entire blog conversation in itself). What made the movie so frustrating was the fact that in the 200 seat, mostly sold-out theater there were at least 50 children under the age of 10. The 6-year-old boy if front of us was freaking out during the movie and his grandmother (yep grandma brought him) was having to calm him down the entire time, cover his eyes, hold him, etc.
WHO TAKES A 6-YEAR-OLD TO A MOVIE ABOUT WEREWOLVES AND VAMPIRES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I'm sorry, my kids are 12 and under so this falls right in my wheelhouse. They don't belong at this movie. It is not a movie for them. My wife and I were commenting on this on our way out of the movie and the parent in front of us turned around a said, "some kids really like these kind of movies." OK, fair enough. Some kids would really like crack if their parents allowed them to have it - doesn't mean they should. Parents need to be parents and say no sometimes.
Beyond that, as the father of a tweener girl, where is the outrage over the presentation of a female that can't exist without a boyfriend?? This is co-dependence at its most basic form. It concerns me that this movie that is so marketed to teenage girls proceeds to present them as shallow, breathy shells of humans whose entire existence is tied to a male figure (alive or undead).
All in all a very frustrating experience at the movie (but a great date).
So in summary, lots of travel, lots of eating, lots of family time, yada yada yada. . .get home and crash in my own bed.
Have I mentioned that I hate when payday falls within 2 days of the 1st of the month. I do payroll every other Monday so many months this does not occur. However, today is payday and tomorrow is the 1st of the month. That is just a lot of money going out of the practice and the voices like to discuss that amongst themselves during the night.
The voices are also happy to say goodbye to November - don't let the door hit you in the tail on the way out. I'm sure that no other practice saw a slowdown in November but we must be missing something. Phone calls were way down, cancellations/reschedules were way up. I'm ready for this recession thing to flatten out and sanity to return. I was reminding the staff today in our monthly staff meeting of the importance of asking for referrals and of pointing out to patients the quality of the work that we do.
Do you realize what goes into a simple periodic exam and cleaning? I think we take it for granted as dentists so you know the patient does not realize it. In our office a periodic exam consists of an oral cancer evaluation, comprehensive periodontal evaluation (including probing), occlusion evaluation, cavity check, scaling, polishing, flossing, fluoride (sometimes), oral hygiene instructions and home-care products. And all of this is "free" to most insurance patients.
Do you include this information on the walk-out statement that you give to the patient? We haven't but are going to start doing it. It is another great way to remind the patient of the value of that service - it is more than just making their teeth feel slippery and clean.
The voices are telling me that I need to run payroll so I better get going. Have a great week, I can't wait to hear how he marathon went for Dr. G.
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
I don't know if I can beat Dr. Ric's blog on Monday, but I will try.
I hope today's won't be a letdown.
I was supposed to follow up on the "How much is a cleaning" phone call, but I will postpone that until next week because I totally didn't realize tomorrow is Thanksgiving.
Can you believe it is Thanksgiving tomorrow?
Before I forget, our flag football team won on Saturday. We are 2-1, and I think we are getting a little better. We haven't played any of the elite teams yet but it feels pretty good to be where we are at right now. I am sleeping a little bit.
I saw The Blind Side on Friday. I loved it. I am biased because I read the book last year, and I have been telling everyone what a great story this was since then. I have been keeping up with Michael Oher's progress since then.
It is a real feel good movie. It made me laugh and cry.
A joke to start this entry.
A monk decides to try to get closer to God and he goes into a monastery. All the monks at this monastery take a vow of silence. He was okay with this as long as he obtains his goal.
So he started and five years went by like nothing.
After his first five years he went into the head monk's office.
The head monk says to the monk, "You have really surprised us with your progress. We have really been impressed with you. And because of this we will allow you to say two words."
The monk said his two words, "Bed hard."
The head monk said, "Great talking to you. We will see what we can do to take care of this problem."
Next thing you know five years have gone by and the head monk brings him into his office and gives him the same schpeel.
The monk this time says, "Cold food."
The head monk says again, "It was great talking to you, and we will see if we can rectify your problem."
Again, five years goes by so fast and the meeting between the monks happens again.
This time the monk again gets two words to say.
He says, "I quit."
The head monk says, "It is just as well. You have been here fifteen years and all you have done was complain."
My name is John Gammichia and I am a complainer.
I don't think I have always been, but I think my personality has eroded to such. My wife is a bit of a complainer (I love you honey), and I think we are breeding complainers too. My kids are complainers.
I don't know if it is because, if you let it, this world gnaws at you. It wears you down.
If you listen to the radio (during this administration) they are all complaining. If you listen to the TV (during the last administration) they are all complaining.
I think it is becoming so much of what we hear and read (oh yeah everything in the newspaper is bad or people complaining).
But in the fog of my thoughts a hint of clarity has shown through.
We have so much to be thankful for, are you kidding me.
Just in the room you are in right now. You have a computer and an Internet connection.
Okay that puts you way better off (that is of course if you don't think the Internet is the Devil) than about 90% of the world's population.
You are sitting in your office or your living room in air-conditioned air (for me it is air conditioned for you it could be heat right now. It was 83 here on Monday) which is better than 90% of the world's population.
You have to think of the big picture. It is all about perspective.
I have 4 awesome kids (okay I have 3 awesome kids and one that cries and poops all the time) that think I am the best (okay 3 of them think I am the best and one of thinks he got robbed).
I have a wife that I love and she loves the snot out of me and still laughs at my jokes.
I have a job that I love.
I have a staff that I love.
I have patients that I have built relationships with that I cherish (well most of them).
I have a God that knows every hair on my head and promises never to let go of me.
I have friends that are so great.
I have food to eat and then some.
I have clothes on my back.
I have an awesome house in a great neighborhood.
I won't bore you with all the stuff I have.
But I was trying to make a point.
What the hell do I have to complain about?
Do things have warts? Are things sucky sometimes? Yes.
Are people mean sometimes? Yes.
Do money problems get to me sometimes? Yes.
Do I have kid problems sometimes? Yes
Do I have wife problems sometimes? NEVER (I love you honey)
But let me repeat...LOOK AROUND. How can we complain?
We need to be more thankful. I need to be more thankful.
Why can't Thanksgiving be every day?
In closing, I am thankful to the AGD for letting me write this blog.
I am thankful for the peeps behind the scenes...Jason, Lindsey, the Cathys that make this thing happen.
I am thankful for all of you that read this blog. I am thankful for your comments (most of them), and I hope I have made an impression in your lives. I hope I am staying current and continue to talk about things that are relevant in your lives.
Have an awesome Thanksgiving.
Make this a day you look around and see the glass half full. Look around and count your blessings.
ps I am not talking about the Gators, but if I was I would tell you that it is Tim Tebow's last home game. I would tell you that we are playing FSwho this weekend.
Very emotional for me.
Marathon in 5 days. My knees are knocking and I am getting butterflies. Think of me on Sunday.
Monday, November 23, 2009
Thank you Mom and Dad for being patient with me as a child, for allowing me to learn hard lessons under your protection and care. For equipping me with the desire to be an entrepreneur. For giving me such a good example of Christian parents and business owners.
Thank you Mel and Kay for raising a wonderful daughter and allowing me to marry her 16 years ago. Thank you for giving her the opportunities that I know required many sacrifices on your parts over the years.
Thank you Susan for being an incredible wife, mother and friend. Thank you for being a woman of faith. Thank you for allowing me to move from a legal career to a dental career without batting an eye. Thanks for putting up with the sleepless nights, financial tightrope walking, an a moody husband. Thanks for pretending that I am both funny and handsome. Most of all, thank you for giving me 3 amazing children.
Thank you Kayla, Brennan and Madeline for letting me be the tickle monster. For letting me hug you and cry even when you don't know why I need to. Thanks for making me laugh as you dress up like munchkins or create dances and skits that you perform. Thanks for singing songs. Thanks for promising me that I could be your prom date/live with you/work with you. Thanks for making me so proud to be called your daddy.
Thank you to the men and women who let me sit comfortably in my office and type this blog. Thank you for being the tip of the spear and protecting me and my family.
Thank you to the many AGD colleagues around the country who so patiently have answered my questions and given me instruction as I continue to grow as a dentist.
Thank you to all of my patients for trusting me with your smile.
Thank you to my staff for working so hard growing a business and being my cheerleader when you know I am down.
Thank you Jerry, George, Elaine and Cosmo for giving me so many reasons to laugh.
Thank you Dr. Gammichia and readers for allowing my voices to visit the blog once a week.
Thank you voices for letting me sleep well the past couple of weeks.
Have a Happy Thanksgiving and a safe holiday season.
Friday, November 20, 2009
How would you answer this question?
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Well, football season if officially underway.
There comes a time in a season when the coach understands that his team is not as good as he thought and his coaching ability is not good enough to change the above.
I am at this point. One game and I am at this point.
OUR BLOG HAS FINALLY BEEN RANKED
You know, give us a call. And do the best work he could do. Yeah...right.
Does anyone have any crazy barter stories to tell?
Does anyone have a system?
Has anyone been on the wrong end of a barter deal that you want to mention?
I would like to know. If we get some good stories then I will post them.
Hope you are having a good week,
Just think two more days until Friday.
Today is my 14th year anniversary. We are going to try to get away for a couple of hours tonight. Our poor neighbor has agreed to watch the baby.
Wish us luck.
Monday, November 16, 2009
I am speaking, of course, of "Wicked" the story of the Wizard of Oz told from the perspective of the Wicked Witch of the West. So clever and funny. The musical score is phenomenal, and I don't want to give anything away but the entire community of Oz is destroyed when they try to replicate the big bang using a Hadron-like particle accelerator. OK so I made that up but I don't get many comments so I just wanted to make sure you were still reading 3 sentences in. In all seriousness, if you have a chance - go see it.
In world news.
On the dental front I have had to hire a new front desk/patient care coordinator.
I hate having to bring on a new team-member because it interrupts the flow of the office and you are never quite sure how it will work out. That front desk voice/face is so key in the growth of an office and it is the person that I have the least observation of in a normal day (I can overhear things in our small office but not like I can with my hygienists or assistants). Luckily I have found someone that I think will be awesome and she starts right after Thanksgiving so all should be well.
My point in bringing up the hiring, however, is not to talk about the people I hired. Rather it is to talk about the other applicants that were not interviewed. Quick background, I placed an ad online for the position. I did no print advertising at all. We are a paperless, digital office, and if you cannot use a computer to find a job posting and email a resume you will not survive in my office. I am also an insurance-based practice - I'm not ashamed of it, I love providing phenomenal dental care to patients that couldn't afford it without some sort of insurance coverage.
Because of that, however, the front desk position must know how to file insurance, pre-determinations, etc. Since I am a 3-year-old practice I need someone with experience up front. I am not opposed to hiring no-experience employees - I have done it several times with great success. This is not one of those times though. I need someone with experience and I made that very clear in the job posting - 2 years DENTAL experience.
As of today (3 weeks after the posting) I have received 150 resumes. One-Hundred and Fifty. Of those - 20 (twenty) had any dental experience. I got handwritten resumes, resumes that had nothing other than the person's name and phone number, resumes that never explained why they felt their 20 years of experience as an assistant to the traveling secretary would help them in a dental office setting. Resumes that broke your heart because they were willing to learn on their own time the things they needed.
How does a small dental office get that many resumes off of one posting for a front-desk position. I don't care what the pundits say, the recession is not over and the economy is not better - people are still losing jobs, finances are still tight. I wish I could help more than the 5 1/2 employees that I have but I can't.
I'm glad the search is over because it was emotionally draining to read those resumes every day.
The voices have spoken, now they want to go do some dentistry.
Have a great week.
Friday, November 13, 2009
I am feeling a little better today.
All in all it has been a real tough week outside of work. Work, however, is going pretty good.
I think our team is really settling in. It was tough after the 3 lay-offs and everyone was pretty down. But time is healing this wound and our team is working very well together. You can just feel it. And this really does change the feel of the office. And I know patients can feel it.
I finished my book Born to Run. It was about ultra marathoners. These are people that run more than marathons. Like 50-100 miles. And they race. Crazy people.
It was a pretty easy read. It was an okay book (sorry Chip).
I watched a movie called State of Play on Monday. Russell Crowe and Ben Affleck. I got to tell you, I think in real life I wouldn't like Russell Crowe but he is a really good actor. I like every one of his movies. This was no exception.
Baby David is getting bigger and is sleeping a little better. My wife is like a walking zombie, because when he does sleep you are worried something is wrong. He is sleeping like a baby and you jump out of bed thinking, "why haven't I heard from him?"
But I think we are almost out of the weeds. I will tell you what... with every kid the first two months are so hard. So if you are pregnant or wanting to get pregnant remember what I am telling you now. The first two months are tough. You continually want to put this thing back in the womb.
Okay enough trivia.
I am eating lunch and a front desk person comes to me and tells me there is a Dr. So And So on the phone and he wants to talk to you.
I say, "Do I know him?" and she says I didn't.
Damn, I hate getting interrupted at lunch for people I don't know.
Anyway, I get on the phone.
This dentist is on the phone, and he is kind of a fast talker.
From what I get he is a dentist in Illinois. He has a patient that lives in my town. He is going to be doing anterior esthetics on this patient sometime after Thanksgiving.
The dentist says he does a lot of work with DaVinci labs and that he got my name from DaVinci. (Now I have never in my life done anything with DaVinci, so I don't know how they got my name. Even though I am world famous. I had two people from Egypt read my blog last week. World conqueror, that's me)
He was wondering if I wouldn't mind taking study models and a bite registration on this patient for him.
He goes on to say that this patient is going to be looking for a dentist so after he is done with all his work so he promises to tell the guy to come to me (for those of you not paying attention this is called "blowing smoke up my @#$%@!).
So how does someone interpret this request? Well let me tell you how I interpreted it.
"Hi, I am a dentist so much better than you, I am this awesome cosmetic dentist somewhere other than your poe dunk town. I have this patient that lives in your poe dunk town that would rather spend zillions of dollars in my office flying back in forth than come to you as a dentist. But he lives in your poe dunk town so you can handle doing a cleaning can't you?"
Or something like that. This is how I felt. So as the dentist is talking to me this is what I am thinking.
I am kind of in shock. So I agree to help a brother out. I didn't think about it. I didn't question him. I didn't anything. I just was going to do it.
I was a little hurt, I was belittled a bit, but I didn't question.
We called this fella and set him up to take study models and a bite.
He comes in on Wednesday and I wasn't here (I had to leave early for the funeral) so my assistant did it.
She tells me about the appointment the next morning. She told me she sat him down and started to grill him about what all this is about.
Because I think she kind of felt the same way as me. I mean you have a guy in your town that does very nice work and you are flying half way across the country to get your work done. She wanted to know the scoop.
So she starts to get the 411. She tells me, "GET THIS!"
Turns out this patient HAS NEVER BEEN TO THIS GUYS OFFICE. Turns out that this dentist got some work done at this patients company and couldn't pay him.
So they decide to barter off the remaining debt by doing veneers.
Are you kidding me?
Yeah, so the patient is scheduled in Illinois for all of Monday after Thanksgiving, all day.
He has never had an exam. He has never had x-rays. He has never had his teeth cleaned.
He has never had an esthetic evaluation.
Now that I think about it, why would this guy be calling me for study models? Why would he have not already had photos, models, and all the stuff you need for anterior esthetics.
My assistant actually said this to this patient, "Are you crazy?"
"You haven't even had your teeth cleaned. Your gums are not healthy. You have discolored lower teeth that can be bleach to get an accurate color for the top."
And she started giving him the business (not over the top, but making him think about his teeth and about his dentist for the first time).
This is the craziest story. I mean is this kind of stuff happening to you too or is all this crazy stuff only happening to me?
Don't get me wrong. I don't have any problem with bartering. In fact, I love bartering with people.
But I barter tree trimmers. I barter painters.
Would I barter health or dental care? I don't think I would.
Do people think about dental care the way I think of tree trimming?
Do people think that all dentists are alike?
I recognize the fact that all painters are not the same. I realize there is probably a very wide range of quality of painters.
If I would get a quote to paint my house you could get a range of $2000-$8500.
Now are the $8500 guys just ripping you off?
No! They are doing the job $6500 better than the other guy. They are sandblasting off the old coat, they are priming, they are caulking, they are using superior paint, they are meticulous about the job. They are cleaning up after themselves. They are not getting high before or during the job.
But if you just want your house painted and you don't care about how long it lasts or if you don't care if water comes in your house after it rains or if you have to clean up paint cans when the painters are done then by all means go with the $2000 guy.
Is that what patients think of dentists?
Tell me they don't.
Tell me that when they are leaving a quality-oriented office to go to the dentist that is "on their insurance list" (not that some of these dentists are not quality) they recognize they are giving up stuff.
Tell me they don't think that all veneers are the same or all cleanings are the same or all fillings are the same.
Tell me people recognize the difference between dentists.
Every patient that walks in the door I ask them how they got here. How did you find out about us?
When they answer "Your office is just up the street from my house" I know I have so much more work to make this patient understand who we are.
I know he knows that he can get a paint job for $2000.
But when they leave and say, "That was the most thorough exam I have ever had." I know that I am on my way of impressing on this patient what we are all about.
How about when people call your office and ask how much you charge for a cleaning.
Do you say, "$85"?
Then they say, "Thank you" and hang up.
They are not comparing offices they are comparing prices.
Kind of like we do when we are getting tree trimmers.
This phone call has just given me an idea of another blog. We will get into this call later.
I can write a whole series on this phone call.
I have given you much to think about this weekend.
I am going to talk about the way I barter next week.
But I would like your thoughts if you have any before next week.
Have a great weekend.
First flag football game this weekend.
Marathon is two weeks from Sunday.
The statements expressed on this blog to include the bloggers postings do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD), nor do they imply endorsement by the AGD.