Friday, September 16, 2011

Swiss cheese


Yesterday was Luke's first football game. I told you that he was the starting defensive back. Well, things went surprisingly well. Two sacks, nine solo tackles, three tipped passes. No, I am just kidding! He did have his first game and he did have one tackle (they said his name on the loud speaker!), and he was all smiles.

The other team was small, but they were much faster and obviously had been doing this much longer than us. We were on the wrong end of a 38-0 score.

Speaking of football, I am going to Gainesville tomorrow for the University of Florida vs University of Tennessee game. A 3:30 p.m. start time. Yesterday it was 93 degrees at 3:30 p.m. I guess I will just have to stay hydrated....if you know what I mean.

Also, I recently watched a movie called "Casino Jack." Fairly fascinating how people can get so crooked and then get blind to their own depravity. But overall, not a very good movie.

Okay, onto the topic.

I was talking to a friend of mine this morning and he asked me how it was going. I mean, we all kind of know how it is in the back of our minds, but when someone asks you and you have to verbalize it, it is different. I told him my schedule was busy. Good people. Good work. Things were really good. But the weird thing is, my hygiene schedule is not good.

Since I have been working hygiene has been slow, but now it seems different. Usually if there is a problem it is the day of. What I mean is that the day is full when we have the huddle in the morning, but then people "get sick" or make a schedule change on that same day. And it was months ahead too. Meaning, we schedule people before they leave, and that means everyone who is coming has an appointment. So then six months from now, there really aren't any openings. So you might be booked and it would be hard to get anyone in unless someone cancels.

But lately, it is different problem. We come to work and there are eight openings in the hygiene schedule (for three hygienists). This is a problem. I know what you are thinking, "Well, you just need to let someone go". Well, and I know we all are in the same boat—I like the people I work with. Each one has their own niche in our office. But our situation is a bit different.I have a hygienist that is 7.5 months pregnant. So, it is going to be four more weeks or so until she is going to go on leave. Then things will be okay.

Until then, I have begun to communicate my concerns to everyone. I have told her that if she is miserable and not feeling up to it, just let the front know and they will move all her patients to the other openings (I mean they all see it and they all know that there is a lot of pressure on everyone). The hygienist has been very understanding.

We are all working our butts off to fill the hygiene schedule. Everytime there is an opening I see the hygienist working on the schedule. It is like a sales room here. We have a bell that we ring and they yell out "Got one," and we all cheer when they have booked a teeth cleaning.

But boy, have things changed! I don't know if this hygienist being gone for four months is going to bring many changes. I don't really see it getting better. I am seeing that this is going to be a struggle for a bit. But I am sure hoping.

I keep track of how many openings there are in the hygiene schedule monthly. I track how many openings there are at the start of the day and how many cancellations/reschedules there have been. It ain't pretty. I don't know what else to do. As the penguins say in the movie "Madagascar,"—smile and wave boys!

How is it with you? I would love to hear it....misery loves company. See that is the thing, I am not miserable. I am busy, and while I am running around I see a bunch of hygienists on the phone. It doesn't get me miserable because I know I can make up for it. But instead of my profit going to me it is just going to them. And that stinks.

Have a great weekend.



drtomas said...

Very slow. Things are very slow. I'm an associate in a small Medicaid based practice and there is a lot of ebb and flow, but more ebb these days. Par for the course and patient mind-set. I've try to over-educate the patient on why it is so important to get all of their work done before things get worse and they still no show. I also work in another mixed insurance practice and the patients lately are the same way. It's a money-thing and it's a non-money-thing. few perceive the need for treatment if "it don't hurt". Do you find it frustrating when you explain the need for treatment both proactive and reactive and you get the whatever look/reaction. I do. Take care.

also - nice article in AGD.

Anonymous said...

My father told me that after 30+ years of practice, September is always a ghost town around his office. I'm feeling the same...guess it might be due to school and kid activities starting. Did have one mom call and tell me that her kids tooth was now hurting. I recommended tx over a month ago and they told me they would call later to schedule the pulpotomy. Now the kid has fever and a toothache and she wants to know why I didn't prescribe antibiotics at the last appointment. Guess it's my fault...right? Good article.


gatordmd said...


Lets hope it is a seasonal thing.

Don't you know that everything that happens, to any of your patients regardless of when the last time you saw them, is YOUR FAULT.

Just like everything that happened to our economy, after 2000, is George Bush's fault.

Thanks for writing,
Have a great week.

Anonymous said...

I would stop scheduling the pts recalls when they leave unless it is 3mth recall. Have them on your list and 1 mth before they are due call and set up an appointment. It will cut down your cancellations and free up the schedule to be more flexible.

Jen said...

I practice in Wisconsin with my Dad who has been practicing for 33 years- 1) he says it's always slowest in sept when kids go back to school and 2) we've also seen a lot of day before/day of hygiene cancellations (!) I would say 98% of our patients schedule their next 6 mos appt when they leave. We send them a post card a few weeks beforehand to remind them, we call them the night before.. it doesn't matter... my dad thinks there has been a shift in mentality amongst patients... it is really frustrating. Add to it that we are in a smaller town (about 11k residents) and no one in the area charges for failed appointments, so we can't even make that threat. The other dentists in the area are seeing the same thing with their hygiene appts.
Anyway, just wanted to pass along that it seems to be going on all over... good luck!


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