How Many Hygiene Appointments in a Full Care Plan?

How providing access to multiple hygiene appointments will destroy your profit margins

Unfortunately, some plan providers are not helpful when they advise patients they can have as many hygiene appointments as they want when they are a member of a Full Care Plan. Treatments provided under Full Care are subject to clinical necessity and multiple hygiene appointments should only be available for those patients who require periodontal treatment. This requirement would be factored in when completing the patient’s oral health assessment and place them in the most appropriate band to receive access to this type of treatment.

The issue of permitting patients in low bands to have multiple hygiene appointments can undermine your revenue and profit. Many practices elect to pay dental hygienists an hourly rate. This can be in excess of £30 per hour. If this is the case in your practice you can see how patient on plan will impact your profitability:

Example:

Hygiene pay per hour £32.00

Patient on Band A pays £17.00 per month on Full Care. This provides the practice with £204.00 of gross income before the plan provider takes their admin fee. In this example the admin fee is £2.50 per month, reducing practice income to £174.00 per year. The patient receives 2 examinations (£80.00) and 4 hygiene (£200). The patient has received £280.00 worth of treatment but only paid the practice £174.00. Plus, the dental hygienist has been paid for 2 hours of work costing £64.00.

In this example the practice has “lost” £170.00.

What to do:
1. Establish a policy of how many hygiene appointments should be available to patients in each band and ensure cosmetic hygiene appointments are excluded from plan entitlements
2. Review patients who are in low bands to establish if multiple hygiene appointments are clinically required, and if so, this suggests they may require reassessing into a higher band.
3. Ensure dental hygienists are aware of what should be excluded ie additional scale and polish for cosmetic reasons.