Closer Look: A Financial Solution Helps Patients Help Themselves
Sunbit’s Smile Now, Pay Over Time program is enabling 2 Nevada practices to assist more clients by offering them the flexibility to pay for dental services over a period of 6, 12, 18, 24, and even up to 72 months.
Kevin Behjat is not a dentist. He leaves that part of the business to his wife, Shiva Keshmiri, DDS. But that’s not to say Behjat isn’t all about helping patients—and the 2 practices he and his wife run—thrive. Behjat has helped a variety of businesses grow, but now he’s experiencing increased success at their 2 dental locations in Las Vegas, Nevada, which includes Sahara Dental Center. One factor for the newfound success has been the practices’ switch to Sunbit’s Smile Now, Pay Over Time solution, allowing more patients to get the oral care they need but could not always afford to have done.
Behjat’s group previously had 3 practices, but around 2018 decided to sell the most successful one to focus primarily on building up the 2 remaining practices.
After years of working with dental practices and hearing from a variety of consultants, Behjat noticed that a common message kept resurfacing—money is the biggest obstacle when it comes to getting dental patients to commit to their needed treatments.
With the help of Sunbit’s patient financing programs, Behjat’s practices in Nevada are experiencing great growth, even while many others are slow to fully rebound after the COVID-19 pandemic. The platform offers near real-time reporting so that practice owners, office managers, and treatment coordinators can review financial performance at the coordinator, office or dental service organization level.
“Sunbit is by far the best because they make this process of third-party financing much easier for us,” says Behjat. “The patients that need the most care are often the ones who can least afford to pay for it. So we have to be able—in order to provide the service—to come up with ways for them to…finance their treatments.”
Dental care consists of both elective and necessary treatments, which oftentimes overlap, Behjat explains. That’s why it’s critical for patients to get the financing help they need to pay for treatments that can prevent bigger oral health issues down the road. Extracting a tooth, for instance, may solve one patient’s pain problem, but a more expensive treatment like a root canal and a crown may actually be a better long-term solution. With Sunbit financing, more patients have more options.
“Having third-party financing, which is more accommodating, is very useful,” he adds. “When we sold the most profitable practice and decided to focus on the other 2, we wanted to concentrate on improving the system. If you think about any business, for it to be efficient, productive, profitable, and then sustainable and scalable, it needs to have systems.”
When a patient calls to make an appointment, they’re asked: “Would you be interested in hearing about great rates for third-party financing? We work with this great company. Would you like information on them?”
If the dental patient says yes, you just send a link to the patient. If they’re interested, they can click on the link. It’s a very quick process to determine whether someone qualifies for financing. It’s a soft hit on their credit. And the advantage for practices is if the patient qualifies, the practice gets an email from Sunbit saying a patient coming in has been approved for “X” amount.
So now the practice knows that patients, especially those who don’t have insurance, are prepared when the office tells them what treatments are being offered to improve their oral health.
“The practice tells the patient what they’re qualified for and how they can work with them,” Behjat says. “The process is smooth. In the morning when our front office team comes in, the first thing they look at on the dashboard is to see if somebody coming in has been approved, and then they can build things in and talk about it in the morning huddle.”
Sunbit’s solution makes automation and systemization simple. The ease of use and high rate of approval are also a big hit with the patients, Behjat says. The 2 locations implemented Sunbit last fall and are thrilled with the results, reporting a solid uptick in earnings since making the switch from another patient financing program.
It helps that Sunbit offers a variety of terms to assist patients. The company’s payment term lengths extend past 24 months (up to 72 months)— that is they offer 6, 12, 18, 24, 36, 48, 60, and 72 months.
“I just looked at the numbers and our growth has been phenomenal,” he says. “Also, some of the other companies were charging the patients high fees and interest rates. It’s just not right to put a patient in situations where they’re hit with such high APRs [annual percentage rates].”
There have been plenty of happy patient stories since the practices went with Sunbit, but one in particular stands out to Behjat.
“We had this one lady who wanted to go to her daughter’s wedding, and she was just very shy about her teeth and she was panicking,” he says. “She was rejected by one lender, but Sunbit managed to get enough money. It was just a brilliant story. You don’t always think about just how important teeth are to people. This treatment made a big difference to this woman at a very important time in her life.”
Sahara Dental Center is quite involved in its community, and with Sunbit’s help, it now can assist more patients.
“We try and do our best for the community. It’s not just about [making] money,” says Behjat, noting that they have hosted Thanksgiving dinners for those in need and have conducted free dental care days for veterans. “We try to work with positive core values to do better for the community. Having a system like Sunbit to help provide care for more patients is just another way to help out.”