After Years of Hesitation, Waterloo Family Dentistry Achieves Ideal Patient Care with a Membership Plan

By Megan Lohman October 3, 2023 5 min read

From vet tech and small business owner, to co-running a dental practice, Dianna Payne has a unique business background. And it’s served her well over the last 30 years. Together, she and her husband have been operating a successful dental practice for over 27 years.

More than 5 years ago Dianna began hearing more and more about the benefits a dental membership plan offers. Dianna and Dr. Payne did have concerns about implementing a plan in their practice. Dr. Payne was worried they would lose money but Dianna knew if they plan was setup correctly and managed appropriately, they would not only make money but they’d be able to reach their real goal. They wanted to be able to offer ideal dental care to their patients, rather than just what they could afford. They wanted their patients to come to the practice more regularly to maintain their oral care rather than always trying to repair.

For more than 4 years, Dianna researched and considered her options. Every few months, she would pull out her DMP folder intent on getting a plan started. But for one reason or another it never worked out and the folder was put back on the shelf. Dianna’s concerns centered on time and complexity. She and her team already worked long hours and were not interested in working more. They needed something to make the whole process easier. Dianna wanted a partner that would be there with her from creation and implementation all the way through managing and growing the plan.

When she learned about Plan Forward, something spoke to her and she knew the time was right.

“When I met you guys, I knew the heart was the same. You want to make money in business, but you don’t want to gouge anybody! We don’t want to take advantage of anyone and we don’t want to lose money. With Plan Forward we knew we were going to get that balance. And the plan is so good that we’ve even got patients switching off of their traditional insurance to join the membership plan. Dental insurance plans are the worst because most do not cover ideal care and barely reimburse the dentist. And what’s really awful is that everyone knows it!”

ideal patient care

Many of their retired patients look at their options and know the membership plan is better.

They’re dropping the insurance plans more and more to make the switch. The team at Waterloo loves being able to offer ideal care to their patients. They love having options for their patients, letting them decide what works best for themselves and their families. Waterloo Family Dentistry has based their plan on Dr. Payne’s ideal level of care and it’s really working for their patients!

They’re also seeing the same trend in benefit dollars that other practices are seeing. Many employers are looking at different ways to provide benefits without offering traditional insurance. Patients are using their HSA dollars for membership plans more and more in their practice. Younger people and young families are more savvy than ever before and are much more comfortable with a membership or subscription fee structure. And that’s translating into more membership patients.

Like many of the Plan Forward practices, Dianna doesn’t “sell” her plan. She lets the numbers speak for themselves. She knows that if she can show the value to the patients and combine it with, “Doctor based this on your ideal care,” then they have a very good chance of signing up a new member. And while they know the membership plan might not be right for everyone, it’s right for many and having the option is priceless to Dianna and her team.

And speaking of the team.

Not only are their patients responding, their team is happier! The workload is simplified more and more every time someone joins the plan. It’s one less phone call to the insurance company, it’s one less coverage verification to perform or prior authorization to get. Many of them feel personally invested in the membership. Since many of them have worked for the Payne’s for years, they’ve seen the determination and dedication that Dianna has put into the plan. Everyone in the office is excited about the growth they’ve already seen and the potential of what could be. It’s been a great bonding experience for the team as well and Dianna attributes a lot of their plan’s growth to her team.

Each night, Dianna goes through the next days schedule and marks those who do not have insurance. The front desk person will mention it to the patient but for Waterloo, it’s more effective to have the hygienists primarily talk about the plan. Very rarely does Dr. Payne bring it up to his patients. Instead, they offer the facts and present the option and let the patient make the decision. They’re even willing to put a note in the patient’s chart to remind them next time if they are not ready to sign up today.

Many patients are talking to others they know, and it’s paying off! More new patients are coming to the practice specifically because they offer a membership plan. By offering monthly and annual billing options, the Payne’s practice caters to any budget. It’s something that their patients truly appreciate and are happy to tell others about.

And what about those initial concerns?

From the start, Waterloo was most concerned about losing money. They already worked with many government programs and the benefits and reimbursements were constantly declining. Dr. Payne felt like they were already giving away so much with those plans. He didn’t want to get into another situation like that. Dianna knew that similar to the idea of insurance, with a membership plan you could give and little and get a lot. But the difference was that the membership plans delivered on the benefits while insurance really did not. She used this thought process and her research to convince him to give it a try.

And she was right!

They’ve given the patients a little and gotten so much back in return. Patients are thankful and accept treatment at a much higher rate. They know exactly what is covered on their plan and that any other treatment needed beyond that will automatically be discounted. Their patients are achieving ideal care because they are coming in routinely. They have bought into their health and prioritized their oral care.

Plan Forward can help you create a profitable plan that’s valuable for your patients. We do the hard work for you – taking your patients and your fees into consideration. Creation, implementation and expansion might be big words that sound complicated but we make it easy! Schedule a call today.

Interested in learning more? GREAT!

📚 Why I Left the Competition for Plan Forward’s Dental Membership Solution

👀 Am I Ready to Implement a Membership Plan?

📺 How can a dental membership plan impact revenue, treatment plans and acceptance?

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