The Art of Practice Management's Dental Pearls
The Art of Practice Management
A dental practice management consulting company that focuses on revenue and collection systems, front desk systems and forms, dental insurance processing, medical/dental cross-coding systems and employment-law compliance.
Marianne Harper Do you ever get frustrated when you receive those short notice appointment cancellations?  It’s often tough to reach other patients to alert them to an open time on your schedule. Yes, you can and should keep a list of the patients who would like to be contacted on short notice but it is time consuming to make those phone calls and it is frustrating when you are unable to reach those patients.  It is also costly to your practice to have staff members drop their work to make these time consuming phone calls and also very costly when
the time slot remains open on the schedule. But what else can be done, you may ask.

Dental practices need to be willing to step outside of the box to solve their problems and to do so in smart and efficient ways.  What I am going to suggest is just such an idea.  Have you considered social media?  This may sound a bit far fetched but more and more of our patients are using networking sites such as Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn both for business purposes and for social connections.

So you may wonder how social media could be used by dental practices.  I would like to suggest that your practice open an account with at least one of these sites. Social networking sites can be used as communication tools. To do this, you will need to post a notice in your office that you can be followed through whatever sites you have set up accounts with and also remind patients when you are checking them out that they can watch for alerts on these sites. When you need to fill a short notice cancellation, post a notice of this on your page.  These sites are so well followed that it makes it much easier to successfully fill those open appointment slots.  In addition, your practice can post educational facts and other practice information on these sites.

These social media sites can also be of great service to the dental staff.  They provide an easy and quick way to share questions and answers about issues that dental practices deal with.  They are also great tools for inter-office communications.

Your patients who enjoy using these sites will be thankful that you have provided them with a great new tool to stay in touch with the practice.  The dental staff will feel more linked to the worldwide dental community. Your practice can really benefit from that.
Time Line
Already in effect:
Form I-9
Part of the orientation process for new employees is to have them complete certain mandatory employment forms.  One such form is the I-9 which is how employers can verify an employee’s identity and to then establish that the employee is eligible to work in the United States. This form must be completed within the first three days of employment. These forms must be retained in the employee’s file as long as the person is employed or, when an employment is terminated, either three years after the employee is hired or one year after the employment is terminated (whichever is later).

As of April 3, 2009, the new version of the I-9 was required.  There are penalties for improper filing of these forms so it is very important to use the new form, complete it correctly and on a timely basis, and obtain all of the proper documentation that the new form calls for.  When ordering new forms or obtaining them online, be sure that you choose the new form that shows a revision date of 2/2/09 on the bottom right.

Effective May 1, 2009
Red Flag

Let this newsletter be a huge red flag to catch your attention because a very important deadline is approaching.  In my last newsletter I alerted you to the fact that many dental practices are probably subject to the Red Flag Rule because the Red Flag Rule applies to any business that offers credit. The ADA is attempting to exempt dental practices from the Red Flag Rule but so far has been unsuccessful. May 1, 2009 is the deadline for being in compliance with the regulations.  Compliance requires a written plan for your practice. You may want to review my last newsletter to update yourself on exactly what the Red Flag Rule is all about.  If you have not received the prior newsletter in January 2009, please contact me at to request a copy.


Dental-Medical CrossWalking News
  • Sleep Apnea is an area in dentistry where we have had good success with dental-medical cross coded claims. For those practices that perform those procedures, I have authored an eBook, the first in my medical coding eBook series titled “Abra-Code-Dabra”, that strictly addresses sleep apnea and shows how easy it is to complete these claims. For information on this eBook, please check my website,
  • If you have filed a sleep apnea appliance claim and received a request for a modifier from the insurance carrier, they may be requiring the modifier –NU.  This modifier represents a purchased supply.  Some insurance carriers consider the appliance to be a supply that requires a modifier. 

For patients:
There is help for our patients who suffer from mouth ulcers (apthus ulcers). According to the March 2009 issue of “Dental Tribune”, a study was performed by the physicians at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev that dealt with the treatment of apthous ulcers (Canker Sores).  Their study involved two groups: one took 1,000 mcg of B12 by mouth at bedtime each night and the other group took a placebo.  After five to six months there was a significant reduction in the duration of the outbreaks, the number of outbreaks, and the level of pain for the treated group.  During the last month, a significant number of the treated group reached a “no apthous ulcers status”.  We can inform our patients who deal with apthus ulcers of this study and suggest that they give vitamin B12 a try.

For staff:
Dentists and clinical staff members in dental practices have a unique opportunity to monitor their patients’ overall body health in addition to their oral health.  You may be just the person who can spot a symptom of a systemic problem and be responsible for identifying the problem and being proactive in referring the patient to his or her primary care physician. This is a huge responsibility that requires staying current with the latest information that is available through courses and online sites.  I suggest three great sources of online information or tools to accomplish the same. 
  • PubMed - is the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) free digital archive of biomedical and life sciences journal literature.  It is an online library of medical data.  According to PubMed, “The value of PubMed Central, in addition to its role as an archive, lies in what can be done when data from diverse sources is stored in a common format in a single repository. GenBank has proven the advantages of collecting DNA sequences in a central repository with a common format. You get more rapid searching, manipulation, and cross-linking of the complete collection, and all the benefits that derive from that. Similarly, with PubMed Central, one can quickly search the entire body of full-text articles and locate relevant material regardless of its source.”
  • Florida Probe – Florida Probe is probably known to many of you as a company that has produced a state-of-the-art computerized probing station.  What you may not realize is that the Florida Probe website offers valuable continuing education information in the form of articles and news of upcoming seminars.  In addition, they offer a very informative newsletter.
  • PreViser is a great tool for assessing oral disease risk.  PreViser states that “PreViser risk and disease scores are easy to understand, so your patients can see the beneficial effects of your interventions, and the importance of their compliance with your treatment plan.”  In addition, their website provides research information such as peer reviewed scientific papers, PreViser research, and power point presentations.
I offer these suggestions, not because I have any connection with these companies, but only because I see the true value to these sites for dental practices in their efforts to stay up-to-date on the latest news in dentistry and medicine.In addition, with our growing litigious society, we need to do all that we can to prevent claims such as those of negligent lack of care.  This, as well as what I have already mentioned, are strong reasons to take an active part in continuing education.

Dental Humor for the quarter:

 What's the difference between a dentist and a New York
      Yankee fan?
A:  One yanks for the roots and the other roots for the Yanks.

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The Art of Practice Management
2217 Fox Horn Road  •  New Bern, NC 28562  •  Phone: 1-252-637-6259   •
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