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How Many Registered Dental Hygienists Work on Commission?

Ask the Expert ForumCategory: Insurance CodingHow Many Registered Dental Hygienists Work on Commission?
guestuser asked 10 years ago

I'm curious: how many registered dental hygienists work on commission? I worked for a dentist who said that clinicians who don't or won't are lazy, but my perception is that commission in a healthcare setting is wrong if you are recommending the appropriate levels of care.

1 Answers
Karen Davis, RDH, BSDH answered 5 years ago
This is an interesting subject! I’m not able to provide statistics on the percentage of clinicians who work on commission, but my personal opinion is that it is neither right nor wrong. Just as some hygienists receive benefits as part of their total salary package, others do not. Sometimes, the practice or business offers a salary structure that reflects a particular business culture that may include incentives, bonus, or commission based upon productivity. Of course, there are upsides and downsides to salary structures based upon productivity. An upside to this setup is that procedures demanding greater technical skills, such as tedious root debridement on patients with generalized periodontal infection, generally yield a different salary structure reflective of technicality and fee structure billed. A downside of this structure, however, is unexpected down time due to cancellations and unfilled openings that work against the clinicians’ salary. Remember: dental hygienists have a lot of power. We have the power to probe all teeth or to skip it. We have the power to take the necessary X-rays or to wait until the next visit. We have the power to perform CAMBRA or ignore it. You get the idea. I’d like to believe that clinicians base their decisions on the individual needs of their patients, but, as I have seen as a consultant, this is not always the case. I’ve also had the opportunity to see both types of salary structures work well. As producers in the practice (opposed to administrative support), my opinion is that it is beneficial for dental hygienists to have a stake in the overall business success of daily productivity. KAREN DAVIS, RDH, BSDH

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