Stephanie Calon is the office manager for Stillwater Dental Associates in Stillwater, OK.
Stephanie and Dr. Zach McNickle, who owns the practice, worked with Solutions 101 to audit their insurance contract and reimbursement data. The results of that audit lead to Dr. McNickle deciding to work with S101 to reengineer their insurance involvement. The S101 team was not only able to increase the reimbursement fees they receive from their patients’ plans, but also how often they’re able to collect their full fee instead of writing off large portions of their production.
I spoke to Stephanie about the details of their case, her experience working with S101, and the results of the project.
What do you love about working in dentistry?
I love helping people. I think I have a big heart, so I feel for people with tooth pain and dental issues. I also like building relationships with our patients and working with them.
How did you get into this career?
I was actually working for another company as a sales rep, and I didn’t like my job at all. I was taking resumes around to any place that was hiring. When I walked into this office, I just sort of felt like I was at home. I didn’t have any prior experience and it took them a while to find the right position for me, but now I’ve been here almost nine years.
Describe the problems that you had that you needed to fix before working with S101?
Basically we just wanted to know if we were handling our insurance networks the right way. We were in network with a few companies, we were never one of those offices who are in network with every single company out there. I think Dr. McNickle found out about Solutions 101 from a friend who also worked with them, and said he was making a lot more money than he was before. And he wasn’t kidding about that. So we started with the initial consultation, and after learning so much more about how insurance works, all the different PPOs, it just made sense.
Was there anything specific that convinced you to work with S101?
It was the money we could make by leaving certain networks we were in. It took us a while to figure out the logistics of that, particularly how to tell our patients what was going on. But the S101 team just really knew what they were talking about, we felt very confident going forward with their plan.
Was there anything you were skeptical or worried about?
Potentially losing patients was the biggest thing we were worried about. We thought it was going to be a tough process at first. But S101 helped us communicate with our patients, we posted a sign up at our desk and sent a letter out to them. It turned out to be a pretty seamless transition.
What impact did working with Solutions 101 have on your business, besides just increasing revenue? In terms of how you manage insurance and work with patients day-to-day.
We have more confidence when we’re explaining our patients’ insurance policies to them. We can show them what our fees are and where they’re coming from, and we know if their plans are going to accept our fees or not. So we can give them a really accurate prediction of their out-of-pocket that way.
Also, just knowing that we can call S101 if we need to whenever we have questions. Different insurance companies have tried to get us to go back in network with them plenty of times, and there’s so much that changes with different policies all the time. We actually had S101 come in and help us out last year. We went through our book a second time, and we didn’t really make any big changes at that time. But just having them available to look at our contracts and make sure everything looks good, that’s a huge benefit for us.
What would you say to another office manager or a dentist or practice owner if they ask you about Solutions 101?
I would definitely recommend S101, but it is a pretty expensive process. When you look at the big picture, it’s obviously worth it. It ends up paying for itself many times over, so it’s really a no-brainer. Working with S101 made all the difference in the world for us.