The Dental Support Organization world is expanding and evolving constantly. There has been a surge of new groups that have come into the space this year to plant their flag and grow their vision of a DSO. There have also been a handful of large acquisitions, like Mid-Atlantic Dental Partners becoming a part of the Sonrava Health organization; consolidators of individual dental practices consolidating with other DSOs. Dental executives and leaders are realizing that the processes that turn production into realized revenue are becoming more complex and difficult to manage. It takes “a village” of people, often distributed & remote, each accountable for their step in the revenue cycle to ensure success. The more you scale, the more interdependencies and handoffs there are. Managing a revenue cycle process requires focused leadership.
Revenue cycle teams take on many different shapes and structures depending on the DSO’s business model, personnel, and maturity. The three most common RCM models are centralized, decentralized, and hybrid. These teams are often led by a regional manager, someone in operations, or a more distant finance executive. The leader usually has a list of responsibilities and teams reporting to them outside of the RCM team. Sometimes, they don’t have RCM or claims management specific experience. This is challenging because from the outside looking in, the claims lifecycle seems like it should be straightforward. Anyone doing the job knows that insurance is anything but straightforward. This can create friction when leaders are looking to improve their revenue realization performance, but don’t fully understand why their collections aren’t increasing.
Enter the much needed and necessary revenue cycle leader. This is a vital member to the team that brings claim and revenue specific knowledge. They help to bridge the gap between your frontline employees and your senior leadership. The need for and importance of a designated revenue cycle leader has never been greater than today. They know how to organize the team to optimize for maximum revenue collection. They have the experience to know what to look for in a successful RCM technology solution. Your RCM leader also will understand the importance of visibility on their team’s work to deploy resources effectively. This leader will also know that KPI’s like “90+ days collection” or “revenue realization rate” are going to have the largest impact on increasing collections. These differences produce immediate outcomes that determine whether your team realizes 70% of dollars owed or 95% of dollars owed. Having someone specifically designated to oversee and guide the department that, as mentioned previously, brings in the revenue for the company is an absolute necessity. Most DSO’s have “someone”, but that person needs to be a revenue cycle leader with experience to effectively move the needle. DSO leaders are realizing the importance of this position and should be one of the top priorities going into 2023 if it doesn’t exist in their organization today.