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When it’s time to say goodbye (to PITA patients)

Have you ever noticed that your PITA (aka pain in the ying yang) patients cause you and your team to lose stomach lining and cost you time and money in the process? They come in several shapes and sizes and sometimes it’s the kindest thing for you, your team and the patient to cut them loose with grace. I know that, especially if you can’t afford to let go of any patients, this may be a difficult decision but, in the end, it can be the best decision.

Let’s take a look at some scenarios:

Patients who break their appointments (the most common amongst the offenders): I’m frequently astonished when teams tell me their patient just broke their appointment for the umpteenth time. Seriously, at some point it becomes no longer worthwhile to grace them with an appointment in your schedule. Put them on a same-day call list and, if you have any unexpected openings in the schedule and you’re desperate, give them a call. Cut these guys loose, they’ll bleed you dry, cost you time and untold dollars and make your admin team crazy as they frantically try to fill last minute openings.
Patients who are rude to your team: These patients are usually the ones who are as sweet as pie to you but grouchy and rude to your team. I even had one client fire a patient for telling inappropriate jokes to his team. When you stand behind your team and ask these clueless people to seek their dental happiness elsewhere, you are making a big statement of the behavior you will not tolerate. Your team will thank you.
Patients who don’t pay their bills: This one’s a no brainer so no further comment here.
Patients who don’t follow through with your treatment recommendations: And then have the nerve to call you on a Sunday evening to help them out or call you at 2:00 am for pain medications. Fill your schedule with patients who appreciate your clinical expertise and excellence and don’t expect you to be a miracle worker.

In the final analysis, both you, your team and your practice would be well served to say a graceful farewell to that small percentage of your practice that causes you and your team to groan in your huddle.

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