Why The John Fornetti Dental Center Relies on Software to Grow Their Membership Plan

By Michelle Maddox June 4, 2021 5 min read

When I started at Dr. John’s practice, they were managing the in-house membership plan by hand in an excel spreadsheet. It was cumbersome and time consuming and we knew we weren’t maximizing what a dental membership plan could really do for a practice. We made the decision to partner with Plan Forward and use their software platform and expertise to move our membership to the next level. Now we are growing the plan and the practice faster than we ever could have imagined.

Ashley Lozada, Registered Dental Hygienist

Plan Launch Date with Plan Forward: July 2020
Current Members: 137
Annual Recurring Revenue: $53,072

Speaking with Ashley from the Dr. John Fornetti Dental Center you can certainly see why they are so successful with their membership plan. Ashley is a straight shooter, let-me-break-it-down-for-you kind of lady and it works well for her! We had no problems diving right into what she loves about their membership plan and why it works so well for them. As the dedicated point person, Ashely knew that finding the right software was going to be a major part of her research when deciding what company choose.

“As soon as I called I got a real person and someone that was willing to talk to me. There were other companies that I made meetings with who never showed! They lost my attention immediately. With Plan Forward, the information was clear and easy to understand. I was able to see what the dashboard of the software looked like and that was very important to me. It was extremely user friendly.”

Not only was Ashley comparing software, she was comparing cost. “The pricing at Plan Forward was very reasonable. Some of the other companies wanted a lot of money right off the start and it was unrealistic for us. Everything was just perfect with Plan Forward. It’s worked out well!”

The John Fornetti Dental Center is unique.

For a long time, they had a dedicated marketing person on staff which is unusual for most practices. One of the main selling points for them was Plan Forward’s ability to not only offer memberships for individuals and families, but business owners as well. “We had a really great marketing director who, unfortunately just moved away, but she really saw an opportunity to market not only to our patients but businesses in the area. We really liked that Plan Forward already had something like that lined up and ready to implement.”

The team at the John Fornetti Dental Center knows that employee benefit programs are changing. Membership plans are a great way for employers to offer dental benefits to their employees. Membership plans cover services that will actually be used and are affordable for everyone involved, unlike many traditional insurance plans.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, video is worth a million.

With a dedicated marketer on staff, the John Fornetti Dental Center has been able to be more aggressive with their marketing strategy. They created a great video that explains what a dental membership plan is and the patient benefits (watch it here). Ashley believes that this and Dr. John’s overall approach to membership has been really instrumental in the success that they are having.

Dr. John strongly believes that when you have a plan in place like this, it makes people want to keep their recall appointments. If they’re uninsured and are not a member, then they’re really only coming in for problems which is never a good thing. The membership keeps them coming in the door for their preventative appointments and in the long run saves them money and from having a tooth ache!

One of the main reasons practices who are manually managing an in-house plan choose to move to a software platform, is the ability to offer not only annual but monthly payment options. “When we managed the plan ourselves we couldn’t allow for monthly payments but with software we can! That’s really opened up our membership plan to so many more patients.”

What Ashley is describing is very common in practices all across the country.

Membership plans are not a solution to an income based problem, they are a solution to an insurance problem in this country. “Our number one goal was to get our uninsured patients onto the membership plan. Those who just don’t have it, young people leaving their parents insurance or our retiree patients. We have a road sheet with all our patient’s info and anytime I don’t see insurance I bring up the membership plan.”

This was the best part of the conversation with Ashely. She quickly went into performance mode and acted out a common scenario for me.

“If I don’t see any insurance on the paperwork I will say something like this, ‘Dr. has prescribed you these four x-rays today and I see you don’t have dental insurance?’ The patient responds, ‘no…..’, to which Ashley follows up with, ‘Have we talked about our VIP program?’ And the patient says, ‘well I don’t think so!’ So then I break it down for them, I tell them what is covered and on top of all that they get an emergency exam and an additional 10% off all treatment. Very rarely do people say no. And when they do, sometimes I want to tell them it’s kind of foolish not to! Duh, it just makes so much sense.”

Best. Response. Ever.

Ashley spends the day working with patients, so it was important that after the plan was setup in the platform, she could hand the keys over to the team. “Once I got it implemented, I was able to hand it off easily to my front office team. It’s extremely user friendly, adding patients in is fast and simple. From the reports side, it’s nice to have the emails of what is coming in, sent right to our people in accounting. Our front office manager set a pretty high goal of 175 members by the end of the year. At the time we didn’t have that many and some of us thought it was a little too ambitious. But she is very determined and now we are all very pleasantly surprised. I don’t think we will have any trouble hitting that goal well before the end of the year.”

When I asked Ashley what her favorite part of the membership plan was she answered with the typical, “we love having an option for our patients and that it’s so easy to use.” But after a few minutes she offered up this unexpected gem.

“We all wear headsets in the office to communicate. And when I would walk down the hall and hear one of the team talking about out plan, I’d always give them a “way to go” on the headsets. And they do it for me too! I get lots of “hoo-rah’s”. It’s nice to encourage each other and through that we’ve really been able to build that confidence to be able to comfortably talk about the plan. It’s been a really fun part of the experience.”

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