Keep Calm and Keep Collecting

Amidst the chaos of a recent cyber-attack, mastering collections management is crucial for regaining control and securing financial stability.


About Shelly VanEpps

Shelly is the VP of Business Development & a Mastery Coach with All-Star Dental Academy. By aiding in the growth and expansion of All-Star, Shelly’s passion for dentistry allows the company to focus on guiding dentists and their teams towards achieving their vision of a successful dental practice. Because each office has their own definition of “success” Shelly focuses her attention on customized coaching by applying her 21 years in the dental field to each department within the office. In addition, as a John Maxwell Certified Leadership Coach, Shelly enjoys working with doctors and office managers on shifting their approach from a managerial approach to a more effective leadership style.

About Alex Nottingham JD MBA

Alex is the CEO and Founder of All-Star Dental Academy®. He is a former Tony Robbins top coach and consultant, having worked with companies upwards of $100 million. His passion is to help others create personal wealth and make a positive impact on the people around them. Alex received his Juris Doctor (JD) and Master of Business Administration (MBA) from Florida International University.

Episode Transcript

Transcript performed by A.I. Please excuse the typos.


Welcome to Dental All-Stars. I’m Alex Nottingham, Founder and CEO of All-Star Dental Academy. And with me is Shelly Van Epps, VP of Business Development and Mastery Coach here at All-Star Dental Academy. And we’re talking about keeping calm and to keep collecting, essentially, bouncing back from cyber attacks and collections management. Please welcome Shelly. Thank you very much for having me. Yes, so today we had a quick call. And you’re telling me about



something that happened in dentistry, a big cyber breach. And I don’t know where I’ve been hiding under a cave or something, and I’m like, what are you talking about? And you’re like, and you and your team put together all the mastery coaches here at All-Star. This is what’s great. You guys lead the company. I do what you tell me to do. I do the podcast. I stay out of your way. You guys are doing amazing work. And apparently all of you are working on this ebook to get out.



and to provide some tools to help dental offices deal with what happened. And so really impressive the work that all of you are doing and to try to help dentistry. So many dentists know what’s going on, I’m sure. But for those that aren’t or those that are listening that aren’t dentists or consultants or whatever, let’s get up to speed.



What happened? What’s going on here with this data breach or cyber breach? Yeah, so back February 21st, evidently there was a pretty big cyber attack, ransomware that happened, and Change Healthcare was hacked. And because of that, it’s basically ceased majority, if not all, electronic claims processing. And so there are very few, I only know of one personally, that was not impacted, that can still submit electronic claims.



But even their claims are being delayed significantly because of all of the different insurance companies being impacted. And so what we’re seeing and why this came up is a lot of our offices are struggling and panicking to some extent because their AR is all of a sudden inflating and their collection rate is dropping drastically because all of their claims are just sitting in cyberspace.



And so they’re asking us, what can we do? How can we get ahead of this? How can we bounce back? And so that’s where all of our coaches came together and we have curated an amazing ebook that we’re super excited to be able to get out there to you guys so that you can bounce back and hopefully prevent this from ever happening again. Maybe not the attack, but prevent having these issues where your AR is impacted in such a way where…



you know, your team efforts are being focused on insurance. And that’s not where we want our team focus. We want our team focus on our patients. And this is drastically impacting that right now. It was interesting. We were speaking about this before, and I’m like, tell me what happened. And you’re like, well, I can tell you what I know within my limits of understanding this type of stuff. I know the computer stuff is not your favorite thing,



I like what you said. Look, it doesn’t matter because I see the impact that’s happening to our offices. And that’s why we’re acting. We’re not cybersecurity experts. That’s going to be after Lauren Levine. And I was trying to give him a shout out to this podcast. He’s amazing at that just for your general practice, but these big institutions got hacked. And so again, tell me more about what impact you were seeing. You alluded a little bit more, but some examples are.



How long has this been going on? When did it get to your did you start seeing it being an issue started in February? Or now in April give me a little bit of some case studies. What’s happening with your offices? Yeah, so just for example offices that are normally running at 98 to 100 percent collection rates are dropping down to the 50 percent collection rate So there might be producing a hundred hundred and fifty thousand dollars, but they’re only collecting 50 to 75 and when you have your overhead



at a good majority of that, all of a sudden doctors start to panic a little, and rightfully so. And so in doing that, we know eventually that money will come in, but when is eventually? And at first it seemed like things were going to bounce back fairly quickly, and now here we are a month and a half later and offices are still struggling. And so that’s when we decided, okay, enough’s enough, we need to provide some support for these offices to hopefully avoid…



having this to continue, but also how do they get these claims in the hands of the insurance companies now, rather than waiting for the electronic clearinghouses to bounce back and be ready to submit these claims? As I was saying to you about the situation, like, well, we have a lot of fee for service doctors and network doctors. And like, I was saying, like, why are we even addressing this? Because most of our practices don’t deal with this stuff.



We do have some, maybe about 40% are in network, 60% are not, but they’re still out of network and still working with it. Explain to me, this still is an issue for our dentists that are out of network. I like what Larry said, we never work with a practice to get them in network, we help to get out of network. Even the out of network practices are feeling it too. Tell me.



So even if you’re out of network, you are still submitting claims on behalf of your patient, whether it be printing the claim and handing it off to them, they are going to have a delay in their reimbursement. So we need to be able to communicate that to them if we’re fee for service. If we’re not fee for service and we’re still collecting the insurance portion, we need to know there’s going to be a delay on getting that payment back to us. And if you’re using a clearing house or we’re attempting to use a clearing house, that patient portion…



is still going to be significantly delayed in getting that back to your hands. So your AR will be impacted, even though you’re not contracted with that insurance company. Okay, that makes sense. And tell me, so I’ll put the URL right away for those that are interested. So it’s alls backslash keep collecting one word, keep collecting one word, and we’ll put it in the show notes.



So what’s something, why should I download this? What can I learn? What do I do? Yeah, so we’ve got the different tips and tricks of how to get these insurance claims in the insurance company’s hands, number one. You do still need to do that, but even more so, a lot of our offices are stuck on the whole pre-authorization process. And if you can imagine all of the actual claims being delayed, just imagine where the pre-authorizations are going. And if you are really,



hung up on, I have to do pre-authorizations for my patients. It used to be as simple as push a button, send it, fine, get it back, still not a guarantee of benefits. But now you’re pushing that button, it’s going nowhere. So now that patient who’s in need of dentistry is just sitting there waiting and waiting and waiting and their condition is potentially getting worse and worse. And so in this ebook, we have tips and tricks of how to overcome that with your case presentation.



How do you get away from even needing to do pre-authorizations in the first place, which we always coach on in our coaching program. So it’s something that some of you may not be privy to. You may not have some of these different tips and tricks and verbal skills to be able to get past that. And so our ebook gives some of those tips and tricks for you to be able to take these and implement in your practice.



certainly highlights the benefit of working with a coach. Because I always say with every dentist I meet, unless you’re not coachable, which most dentists are, it’s great to have a coach in hand. Like we have accountants. We have business professionals that we align with that help us, even when things are kind of calm, then just incrementally improving situations. Because we get the specialized knowledge that they have. They see gaps in our business, no pun intended. They have a unique perspective. It’s very helpful.



And we know from the Fortune 500 research that coaching provides a 600% return on that initial investment that you’re doing, minimum. And we’re all about self-funding coaching. We have an e-book coming out in the future about that as well. We love e-books. But I think also when it comes to the situation here, when there’s this crazy situation that’s where you need help, it’s nice to have more help.



Right. Nice to have that professionalism. And what’s so great seeing the culture here at All-Star Dental Academy, our coaching. And I don’t want to take credit for it. It’s not it’s you guys, you coaching, you coaches, you do it on your own. Yes, you have a president of coaching who’s amazing that guide you. But you guys care so much about the dentist that you’re working and sharing ideas to solve a problem. So it’s not like you have one coach. You have a whole multitude of coaches are working to solve this situation. I remember



back when COVID happened, all of us came together to find solutions to it. So we don’t wanna put our head in the sand. We wanna be proactive and having that intellectual capital that is a coach. So it’s great to have that situation. So what I’m hearing is through coaching, through some of the tips in the ebook, this will help dentists be able to function better until resolution is complete with these insurance companies.



and hopefully beyond. And it will set the stage and basically encourage their team to focus and solidify some of their verbal skills and really focus on their case presentation so that in the future, this isn’t an issue. Your case presentation is stronger. Your patients are buying into the urgency that you’ve set, not buying your dental treatment. They understand their conditions and therefore they want to have your treatment that you’re able to provide.



It’s not that they need it, they want it. And we speak about that all the time and that that’s where the healthy practices live is in the getting to know your patient, understanding what it is that’s important to them. And so this is helping to set the stage for that and supporting it with regards to collections. Just happens to be right now, that’s where the need is. And we see that this is gonna benefit for offices. We also went into an area about claim status.



Normally, we have an extended period of time you wait 15 plus days before you start calling the insurance company and finding out where the claim is. We need to be more proactive than that right now. You need to be checking to make sure it’s in their hands sooner and verifying that they have these different insurance claims. So just know that your admin efforts are going to be more intense right now.



they’re going to need to really be on top of some of these things in order to keep your collections healthy, which then is the last part of our ebook is how do you have healthy collections? What does that process look like? How do you get to where patients are always paying at the time of service? When are you supposed to send statements? When do you call? What verbiage do you use if you call? All of those types of things. And they’re all in this ebook ready to go for you to be able to go over with your teams.



hand this book to your teams, tell them we’re all in this together. It does take the entire team to make this work, but with the right tips and tools and tricks, we know that things will bounce back just fine for you. It’s interesting in crisis, we see the need to improve certain areas. And I think what I’m hearing from you is, yes, we have to be able to resolve the crisis, but at the same time, see what are areas that I can continue to be improving on.



and that I want to be proactive about it. I had a dentist that is coming to our growth summit and we’ve asked them in the past to come, I like it but they weren’t coming. But this year they’re coming because, oh, I’m seeing a dip in my practice, but now I’m coming. Which is great, but I think that it should be not wait for the dip, not wait. So the practices that we’re seeing that are doing well in this crisis of cyber attack.



have strong verbal skills and have coaching are able to respond quicker. And responding quicker means better collections, higher conversion rates, things like that. They’re not impacted as much because they can respond. So I think this is a call to action from those listening. Yes, we want to solve this situation, but we also want to think for the future, how can I get better with crisis? How do I handle crisis and thrive in those situations? And that’s training.



Essentially training your team training in multiple facets. It’s like an insurance policy, you know insurance We’re dealing with but that you you have that set up that you know an emergency fund if you will. Yeah Cool Anything else you want to comment? I mean right to the point the web URL is also dental Academy calm backslash keep collecting all one word no no-keep collecting and short and sweet



I think we addressed the issue. You’ll find tips and tricks in the manual that the coaches put together here at All-Star to kind of help you through the situation. But I think a big plea that Shelley and the coaches are saying is, yes, here’s some ways to fix the problem here. We’re going to get through it, absolutely. But it also highlights we can get better with verbal skills, case presentation. We have links in the book to 95.5 eBook. That was a great eBook.



about case presentation done by our president of coaching. There’s a webinar that I do called Dental Practice Excellence. If you haven’t seen it, it is our manifesto here at All-Star what we stand for, going in phone skills, scheduling, broken appointments, turnover, reducing turnover. All those are resources that you have to be, have a strong foundation. And if you have the great luxury to work with a coach, especially wonderful coaches here at All-Star Dental Academy, it’s a great.



tool to have is always be training, always be coaching. Can’t go wrong if you do that. Right, absolutely. Awesome. Thank you, Shelley Vanneps, VP of Business Development, Master Coach at All-Star Dental Academy. Remember to follow us on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, YouTube, get episodes as they are released, share with your friends, and until next time, go out there and be an All-Star. We hope you enjoyed this episode of Dental All-Stars. Visit us online at


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