More than just cost savings with Patient Plan Direct in 2022
Dentistry.co.uk asks Simon Reynolds why he has returned to Patient Plan Direct (PPD) to head up the company as managing director. We speak about how the plan provider has succeeded throughout the pandemic and why working with PPD in 2022 offers so much more than cost savings.
Simon, what has brought you back to PPD?
Simon Reynolds: Following a move to the Isle of Man a couple of years ago to explore a lifestyle change, I’m delighted to move back to the UK and the dental industry.
I have a close relationship with former managing director, Conrad Broadbent. So when he reached out to share his intentions to step down, but remain fully committed as a majority shareholder and non-executive chair, I jumped at the chance to assume the role of MD to further drive the business forward.
I’m very passionate about the dental industry and the services we offer. It is honed from previously enjoying six years as commercial director with PPD.
I know I’m reuniting with an amazing team that delivers exceptional and personal support to our clients.
It’s an exciting time for us as a plan provider; with low admin fees given the need for practices to keep a close eye on costs and profitability following the strains of the pandemic. Alongside the ever-increasing demand for practices to convert to private.
What has been the focus for PPD throughout the pandemic?
Simon Reynolds: Being a small, well-established and connected team, we were able to adjust our support quickly to meet the needs of the dental teams we work with through the pandemic.
Our key focus was, and remains to be, to work closely with our existing client practices and the challenges they face.
We assisted with client communication and retention strategies in the early stages of the pandemic. We were applying strategies tailored to the individual needs of each practice.
More recently we have worked with practices to help them to grow their plan base further. This results in a record year for patients on plan across our client base! Phenomenal considering the challenges 2021 presented.
I’m very proud to report that we didn’t furlough any of our team throughout the pandemic. Our support remained fully available in line with Covid restrictions. And we were always available for practices and their patients.
We have applied no admin fee increases for the past two years. And we will freeze our fees again in 2022 to further assist practices in managing their costs.
Finally, we launched our new plan administration portal in 2020. This has been very well received by client practices and will develop further in 2022 and beyond in line with feedback.
What plans do you have for next 12 months?
Simon Reynolds: Many practices recognise PPD as a ‘low-cost plan provider’. An alternative cost saving brand to other dental plan providers.
However, in 2022 we will reposition our brand to make it clear that we do not just represent cost savings. We will provide much more detail around the support we offer and showcasing the expertise, technology, resources and training that comes with the PPD proposition.
Moreover, we will roll out further enhancements to our support throughout the year. And we hope to welcome new people to our team with a wealth of experience.
Dentists and their teams will come to realise that our low admin fees are only the cherry on the cake.
We will continue to help new and existing clients with NHS conversions. Strong demand to achieve this objective continues.
We will also shout from the roof tops and educate the industry about the availability of the Bulk Change process. This makes switching plan provider easier than ever before!
Tell us more about the ease of switching plan provider with bulk change.
Simon Reynolds: Where historically a transfer of plan provider was managed by writing to patients and asking them to complete a new direct debit mandate, the Bulk Change process takes away the hassle for patients and any admin or uncertainty for a practice.
We manage transfer of direct debits between providers in the background. That means a simple letter to patients to inform them of the changes is all that you require.
The direct debit Bulk Change process is an established and proven banking process offered by the direct debit scheme provider, Bacs.
Before now, utilising Bulk Change in the dental plan provider marketplace was difficult. Some plan providers might refuse to cooperate.
However, a recent rule change enforced by PayUK and the Payment Systems Regulator (PSR) forces providers to register with Bacs and adopt the scheme, ensuring a fair and level playing field.
PPD has been highly proactive and influential in bringing about these changes. We ensure practices do not feel tied to a provider due to fear of change now that such a simple process is available.
We are highly experienced in managing the process seamlessly. And the majority of our new business over the years has come via practices switching from another provider to PPD. You could say we are the ‘provider transfer experts’.
We will work hard this year to ensure dental practices are fully familiar with what the Bulk Change is and how it makes switching to PPD simpler than ever before.
You can find out more about the Bulk Change and ease of transferring provider here, and also discover how St James Dental found the process when they switched to PPD below.
You mention you also support practices with NHS conversions?
Simon Reynolds: Indeed, we have seen a huge surge in demand from practices looking to ‘go private’ and ditch the NHS. Or at least create less reliance on the NHS.
I need not cover the reasons for this. The rationale and appetite to switch to private is very clear. It is across the dental media from week to week.
Our team is well positioned to support a practice through this transition. From financial analysis to staff training, patient communications and everything in between.
Our head of business development, Janice Charlton, has been there and got the t-shirt when it comes to NHS conversions.
Having undertaken an NHS conversion back in 1991 in her own practice that she co-owned, Janice went on to leave practice and work with several other plan providers. She has been pioneering in supporting literally hundreds of successful conversions over the past 30 years.
To conclude Simon, how would you summarise PPD’s position in the market versus other plan providers?
Simon Reynolds: As we enter our 14th year of trading, we are well and truly an established plan provider. We understand the support dental practices need when it comes to dental plans.
Our admin fees are lower than other major plan providers, which is our primary differentiator. But that’s only a benefit in addition to our award-winning service.
I firmly believe our team has the passion and expertise to offer the necessary support a practice requires to run a successful dental plan.
I encourage practices not to commit to a long term ‘deal’ with their current plan provider. Or be tempted by short-term financial retention incentives. Instead, take the time to understand more about PPD’s proposition and the ease of switching to work with us.
If you would like to find out more about the ease of transferring from your existing plan provider to PPD thanks to Bulk Change or working with PPD to convert from the NHS to private, please visit patientplandirect.com or call 0344 848 6888 to book an exploratory call or meeting at your convenience.