Seemingly Small, But Very Important Tasks in a Transition
Practice Impact advises our buyers and sellers not to ignore the small tasks in a transition because they seem trivial. No matter how small a task seems, if we are telling that it needs to be done it’s because these tasks are crucial to the practice and must be completed to avoid negative repercussions for your business. Many of the tasks seem like they should be automatic in the transition, but we are constantly surprised at how often they are overlooked. Some of these tasks are listed below as a guide for our buying and selling dentists.
Telephone & Internet Transfer:
Every telecommunications company is different so, before the closing, you need to call and find out their policy on transferring accounts. Some companies simply require a joint phone call with the buyer and seller to switch the account; some companies require a letter on company letterhead while others have a standard form that needs signed by both parties.
The buying doctor should also be given a copy of the most recent bill for the phone, internet and other utilities in advance of closing so he or she knows what to expect after the sale. The other utilities should be transferred in the same manner as the telephone and internet. It has been our experience here at Practice Impact that the telephone and internet usually end up being the most complicated and cause the most headaches for our clients so be sure that this does not slip your mind! Can you imagine what the first few weeks in the office would be like if you do not transfer the utilities on time? The power, phones, or internet could be disconnected leaving you helpless to run your business. How will you get in touch with patients to remind them or appointments, make new appointments or field questions without a working phone line? The phone company isn’t going to be sympathetic to your problem if you forget to transfer the account into your name. They have no incentive to rush your order and your first few days or weeks in the office could be a total disaster.
Dental Software Transfer:
The selling doctor needs to call the software company (Dentrix, SoftDent, Eagle Soft, etc.) a few weeks before closing. There is a fee to transfer the software to the buyer and there are forms that will need to be filled out and signed by both the buyer and the seller. The software company will provide the transfer application and send the seller something stating the transfer fee. The seller and buyer need to negotiate who will pay the fee (or if it will be split between the two doctors) and the paperwork should be completed, but not submitted, in advance of the closing. Do not submit the paperwork until after the closing has occurred just in case the closing date changes or if the deal falls through. This should be submitted as soon as possible after closing. The software companies will also require a copy of the bill of sale for the practice acquisition By not transferring the license you will be in violation of the software agreement, could lose access to any updates to the software, access to the company ‘s helpdesk and face possible fees to reinstate the software or to purchase a brand new license.
Insurance and PPO’s
The buying doctor should obtain a list of insurance companies and PPO’s that the seller is credentialed with at the practice being purchased. The buying doctor needs to apply to be a provider with all of these companies by the closing so that he or she can continue to treat all of the practice’s patients immediately.
You must be registered with the State of Ohio to own radiation generating equipment in your practice. Ohio recently changed the process of registering your equipment. When you purchase a dental practice you much do the following to get the equipment registered:
- Set up your business entity and have your tax id number
- Fill out the Application for Radiation Generating Equipment (PI can give you this form). The state wants the application submitted at least 30 days before your take ownership of the equipment. When you submit this application you must also pay a non-refundable fee of $262 to the state.
- Once your application is approved you are allowed to own equipment but still must get the equipment officially registered in your entity name. The selling doctor (or the buyer if he or she has access to the office and equipment) will need to fill out the radiation transfer form (Practice Impact can also provide this form). Information that needs to be included on the form include the seller’s tax id number, seller’s registration number, and manufacturer’s name, model number and serial number for each piece of radiation equipment.
- This form must be submitted to the state via mail or fax during the first 30 days after the closing. If not submitted in this time frame the buyer will risk a fine for each piece of equipment not registered. Again, this should not be sent in until after the closing just in case the closing is delayed.
- Don’t be surprised if someone from the state stops by your office and checks the equipment so be careful and make sure that you fill out the paperwork correctly
Change Provider Numbers in the Dental Software
Before any patients are seen by the new owner or any member of the staff after closing, you should assign everyone in the office a new provider number in the dental software (Dentrix, Soft Dent, Eagle Soft, etc). This includes the selling doctor. By giving everyone a new number there will be absolutely no question as to what treatments were performed with the buyer and seller as owners. This is especially helpful if the seller is staying on as an associate and being paid a percentage of production or collections. Also, it will help with both doctors’ account receivables. By assigning new provider numbers it will be easy to discern on the AR report which doctor owns each account receivable. The most common question or issue that we see between the two doctors after closing is with the AR. Changing the provider numbers reduces the chance of any problems, questions and uncomfortable discussions with each other over this money.
These are all tasks that may seem trivial, but trust Practice Impact when we tell you they are not. Each task listed here is something that should not be put off for a future date. Without properly completing each one, you as the buyer or seller, may encounter loss of crucial services to your practice causing a loss of business and patient trust. You may also encounter fines or problems with your collections and ill will between you and the buying or selling doctor. Practice Impact has been a part of hundreds of transitions so trust us when we say that even the most menial task can be vital to your practice and livelihood.