Cliff's Notes

The Business of Dentistry

Dental Insurance, Year End Taxes & Career Development

Cliff’s Notes for September 12, 2010



Cliff Marsh, Henry Schein ……Cell: 201-321-7494……Fax: 201-262-2210…..E-mail:

“If you make any money, the government shoves you in the creek once a year with it in your pockets, what don’t get wet you can keep.”

  Will Rogers

In This Week’s Issue

  • Have You Sent Out Your Insurance Letters Yet?
  • Don’t Forget IRS Section 179, It’s Part of Year End Tax Planning. Schedule Your 3rd Quarter Review Today!
  • Cliff’s Notes Career Development – Software Users Group


Remember Insurance Letters!……………………………………………………………………….

Do you remember last December when all your patients needed that crown done before the end of the year? If you didn’t have a rush of patients, that’s a different problem and I suggest that we have a different conversation, privately, at a different time. But if you did, it is most likely your own fault. If your patients have dental insurance, they need to use it or lose it and it is your responsibility to notify them, don’t assume that they know. Remember the odd couple episode when the word ASSUME was broken down? When you assume, you make an ASS out of U and ME.

You need to formulate a letter, e-mail & phone text alerting them to the issue. In today’s society, nobody answers the phone and few read the mail so you need to utilize every avenue on a repeated basis. The 1st notice should go out today! By utilizing your manafement software you should be able to identify patients that have insurance available and treatment plans that have not been completed. For those of you that need software up-grades, the insurance letter process alone should more than cover the cost of an up-grade and when you factor in IRS section #179, at this time of year, you are on the positive side of the investment almost immediately. Check with your accountant.

As I travel the area I hear offices complaining about patient compliance and loyalty. You need to stop looking at the world through your dentist eyes and start looking at it from a consumer view point. You are a consumer and you do the same thing every day in your “buying” life. Take off the face mask and think about yourself on the “buyer’s side” of the equation. So many dental practices are penny wise and dollar foolish and then you wonder about a patients motive. The $20.00 co-pay that a patient has to give you is nothing compared to their future overall dental and systemic health. If they don’t come in for their regular hygiene visits and start shopping around for the “cheapest” dentistry they risk gum decease. Many dental office buy goods and services with no regard to licensing, manufacturer authorization or non-counterfeit assurance and they risk litigation as well as massive sales tax implications.  If you start looking at overall value from the organizations you deal with, you will begin to understand what your value can be to your patients and formulate a way to approach it.

You need to become a value. In a patients eyes, dentistry is low on the priority list and insurance companies are usually the bad guys. An insurance information letter needs to be positive and not have a use it or lose it statement. It should talk about how you work with insurance companies to provide better systemic health by prevention and early diagnostics. The statement should be short and pointed so that your message does not get lost. Above all, you need to let the patient know that they have benefits that have been already paid for so a visit before the end of the year is real close to FREE!! Don’t you just love that word? Now you are creating value, you’re not letting your patients lose any money and providing a health related service. Sometimes it takes a professional consultant to create the message. Sure, it cost a few dollars, but the value created could be priceless.

The first notice should go out after Labor Day. The second should be sent the first week in October and a final “use it or lose it” around the second week of November. With most insurance companies, cleanings & exams are covered so the dentistry is almost free. Your patient need to have a reason to move you up on their priority list.

It’s Time to Plan for 2010 Year End Taxes!…………………………………………………………..

We are now approaching the middle of September. If you made any money this year the feds and the state are going to tax it. You are going to have to write a check to someone, so do it to get the biggest bang for your buck. IRS section #179 allows you to use deductions & credits on capital purchases up front. If you need dental equipment, computers, software, communication equipment, etc., Section #179 could save you 30%. As an example, your compressor has been rattling for the past year. You know it’s going, after all its 15 years old and you just found out that it needs to have the oil checked every 3 months. A new unit costs $3k and your Q4 estimated taxes are $20k. By buying the compressor today, you reduce your “profit” so you don’t pay income tax on $3k and sec. #179 will provide a 2011 federal income credit of about $1k. Thank you Uncle Sam because now that compressor cost $2k and you saved another $1k on federal income tax. Wow, a brand new compressor for $1k.

For more information, log onto:

This YouTube video will explain it better so take a look and speak with your tax advisor as to how this type of investment can influence your portfolio. Anyway, after you watch the video, call your accountant and schedule a 3rd Quarter review. At that meeting your advisor should be able to estimate what you will have to pay the feds at year end. As far s the State goes, that a whole other issue. When you have to write the check, and you will have to, you’ll be able to decide in an informed manner where to make that investment.

Cliff Marsh & Cliff’s Notes has no association with Crest Capital. Their video was used as an example and explanation. Please refer to you financial advisor for up-dates regarding section #179.

Cliff’s Notes Career Development……………………………………………………………..

On Friday, October 1st, we will be having part 3 of the Dentrix/EZ Dental Users Group. This session will be held at the NJ Healthcare Professional Development Institute in River Edge, NJ The session will be open to new members and any software user. The subjects covered will be;

  1. Continuing Care Automation.
  2. The Integration of Technology and Cash Flow Management.
  3. Integration and Marketing of Expensive Technology.


The meeting will start with a light breakfast at 8:30 AM and conclude at 11:30 approx. 3 CERP/PACE credit will be issued. Current group members call Cliff to register. New members should contact NJHPDI to register. Their phone number is 201-342-2204 or they can be reached on line

Cliff Marsh

Henry Schein Dental

P.O. Box 663, 45 Rt. 46 East, Suite 605

Pine Brook, NJ 07058

tel. 201-321-7494



September 12, 2010 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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