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Treating All Patients Like Family
Kessler offers a Kleer membership plan to help patients get the treatment they deserve
Lon Kessler, DMD,does not put much stock in advertising and marketing to patients. He believes that a patient base should be built by becoming established in the community, and that strategy has served him well.
"Relationships are more important than anything," Kessler says. "The patients that we want are the ones who come to their dentist because they have confidence that they will receive the best treatment."
Kessler has plenty of those patients. His practice has been established for more than 40 years. He joined it after his residency, became a partner after a few years, and eventually bought it when his partner was preparing to retire. Today, Kessler employs three general dentist associates, three hygienists, two periodontists, and one orthodontist. Because the business continues to grow, he recently acquired an additional building, and Philadelphia and Main Line Today magazines have recognized the practice for having top dentists in the area.
"We are very patient-focused and have built strong relationships in the community throughout the years," Kessler says. "Many of our patients are third-generation; it is really neat to see my original patients' grandchildren. It says a lot that most of our growth has occurred in this way."
To provide the best possible treatment, Kessler uses state-of-the-art equipment, and his dentists all take continuing education courses. "People feel comfortable coming here," he says.
However, although his patients feel comfortable, it was not always easy for them to pay for the treatments they needed-especially his uninsured patients. A membership plan through Kleer helped to alleviate that problem. Kleer's platform enables dentists to create their own customized membership plans and offer affordable, comprehensive dental coverage directly to their uninsured patients without the cost and hassle of a middleman.
Kessler had previously offered a membership plan of his own, but it was tedious for his staff to maintain. So when Kleer approached him, he was open to trying their platform. "Due to the increasing cost of dentistry, our uninsured patients needed and wanted special payment arrangements, but we had a difficult time managing a program," Kessler says. "The biggest advantage of the Kleer plan is that it involves less work for my staff. Kleer makes it much easier to manage the plan."
Among the patients who have benefited the most are older individuals who have been with the practice for many years. Kessler has always offered a senior discount, but being able to offer special fees as part of a membership plan for seniors who have lost their insurance upon retirement has been a great improvement. "Kleer enables these patients to get the dental work they need in a shorter period of time," he says. "In particular, implant treatment acceptance has increased because many of the patients for whom we recommend implants are older and do not have insurance."
The plan is also helpful, he says, for small business owners who cannot afford insurance for their employees as well as for uninsured young people. "It is easy for patients to access, and they can join the plan on any day of the year," he says.
Kessler promotes the Kleer plan prominently on his practice's website, but true to his philosophy, the most effective marketing has been through word of mouth (ie, telling his existing patients about this new opportunity, patients being pleased with the plan and telling family members, friends, etc).
Part of that patient satisfaction is due to the fact that Kleer has been easy to work with for both the practice and its patients. "They are very responsive when we need assistance," Kessler says.
Another significant benefit is that Kleer plans do not require any approvals to move forward with treatment, as insurance often does. "We do not need to worry about denials," Kessler says. "Oftentimes, an insurance company does a predetermination and says it will pay for a procedure, but then ends up denying coverage later on. With Kleer, we are in control, so we can tell patients upfront that nothing will change in the future."
As a result, Kessler believes that the playing field has been leveled for his uninsured patients. "I want to offer the best options for all of my patients," he says, "and this helps me do that."