The Art of Practice Management's Dental Pearls
The Art of Practice Management
Insurance Alert
Time Line
Favorite Quotes
Dental Humor
Previous Newsletter
Perio Therapeutics and Beyond
Together we will create a Practice Masterpiece
  Exciting News
“Dental Pearls” was created as a means to share important dental practice information with its readers in a quick read newsletter format.  It is my hope that “Dental Pearls” has done just that and been a help in making your practice one of the best.  In looking at ways to make this newsletter even more informative and beneficial to its readers, I am very excited to announce collaboration with Colleen Rutledge, RDH.  Colleen Rutledge, RDH is a consultant, national speaker, and owner of Perio-Therapeutics & Beyond, a hygiene coaching firm based in the suburbs of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  Colleen also provides “over-the-shoulder” training in contemporary periodontal therapeutics.  To read more about Colleen, please visit her website:  This issue of “Dental Pearls” is the first that will include contributions from Colleen.  In addition, the newsletter will be sent out bi-monthly, thereby providing more information in a timelier manner.  We look forward to hearing from you about the newsletter.  Please let us know your thoughts and we always welcome suggestions on topics that you would like to see addressed in “Dental Pearls”.
Marianne Harper Cross-Training How to Prevent Practice

Does an employee calling in sick create a melt-down in your practice?  And what happens when your insurance coordinator informs you that she will be leaving for two weeks due to a family emergency?  These are just two examples of situations that can create a meltdown in your practice. If you can “feel the pain”, you are
probably not cross-training your staff.  Let’s look at the why of cross-training.
Cross training provides the following:
A cohesive team – Cross-training allows for the opportunity for staff members to see the full picture. They are basically walking in each other’s shoes. This improves understanding of the different roles and the varied problems connected with each role. There will be far less of “the grass is always greener” attitude and that will create a more tolerant posture throughout the office.
You will have a smarter and more efficient team – When a staff member has to train another staff member, the trainer has to really think about what he/she does. This close job analysis can lead to more efficiency for the trainer because he/she will have to look at all aspects of his/her job while teaching it. The trainee is in the position to evaluate the job with a fresh set of eyes and offer new ideas. Communication will increase, problem solving will occur, and a sense of trust will develop. This, in turn, leads to more self confidence, greater knowledge, new skills, and a staff that feels more valued.
Reducing boredom – Performing the same duties day after day, even when staff members enjoy their jobs, can often lead to a sense of boredom. Cross-training provides variety: a change of pace, a new set of problems to deal with, interaction with different staff members, and it fires up their creativity which allows the staff members to stretch. If you implement a cross-training program where cross-training takes place at periodic intervals, you will allow this process to happen more frequently and you will be letting those creative juices flow.
Practice flexibility – In Jim Collins’ book “Good to Great”, he talks about the importance of having the right people in the right seats on the bus. Presuming that this is the case in your practice (and it should be), you need to be prepared for the empty seat. Cross-training gives practices the flexibility to keep the seat filled. When an employee must be out due to sickness, vacation, etc., or if the position is terminated, there will be another staff member who is prepared to handle the duties of that job. If a key employee terminates, you will not be completely at a loss when cross-training is in place. Although understaffed, you will still be able to function while managing to keep your patients happy and your bottom line in good shape.
The next question that presents itself is  - “how should a practice implement a cross-training program?”.  Read the next issue of “Dental Pearls” to find answers to that question.
  Insurance Alert
Are you checking the benefits of your patients’ dental plans?  You should be!  Some dental plans have increased the age limit on sealants to age 16 and some plans have increased the number of prophylaxis benefits from two to four per year.  Checking on patient benefits can be a win-win situation for your patients and your practice.

Dental-Medical Cross Coding:
Have you been wondering how to indicate tooth numbers on a medical claim?  There is an easy way to do that.  In the shaded area of the medical claim form above where CPT/HCPCS codes are entered, you can use the following system:

JP is the code to use to indicate that you are entering a tooth number and then the tooth number is entered after JP (e.g. JP3 is tooth #3)
Multiple teeth are entered with JP and the specific teeth numbers (e.g. JP1 16 17 32)
JO is the quadrant indicator. Use JO with 10 for upper right, 20 for upper left, 30 for lower left, and 40 for lower right (e.g. JO10 is UR)
Multiple quadrants are entered with JO (e.g. JO30 40)
  Time Line
October 1, 2010 – ICD-9 (medical diagnosis codes) annual update
January 1, 2011 - The latest deadline for a decision from the FTC on whether dental practices will be required to enforce the Red Flags Rule
January 1, 2011 – CDT code biennial update
January 1, 2011 – Medical CPT code (procedure codes) annual update
January 1, 2014 – The date that the US government has chosen for requiring all dental and medical practices to be paperless

Favorite Quotes:
“Each day is given to us as a new season of spring. The thoughts, deeds, dreams and efforts of today will provide tomorrow's harvest. To neglect the opportunity given to us this day is to delay our better future. Do not use today to mentally re-live yesterday or to await the arrival of tomorrow, for tomorrow—when it arrives—will be called today. There will be no better day, no better opportunity, no better springtime, no better time to begin than the current moment. Seize the moments as you find them and mold them into your own better future. Today's procrastination will surely be tomorrow's regret.”
Jim Rohn

Hygiene Department Clinical Tips from Colleen
The Importance of Magnification
Hygienists utilizing magnification loupes are better equipped to see subtle bruxing anomalies, tiny wear facets, and open margins easily - not to mention the demarcations on the probe! Besides the obvious ergonomic advantages, loupes assist in early diagnosis and impress upon patients that your office is on the cutting edge. Incorporating loupes also fosters increased credibility - which in turn promotes greater patient compliance.
Business Office Tips from Marianne
How Does Your Office Handle the All Important New Patient Phone Call?
It is a fact that the first phone call made by a potential new patient is one of the most important phone calls that will be made. The way that call is handled will set the tone for establishing how that patient will view your practice. Do you wonder how your practice is measuring up with these very important calls? You should! Have you considered calling your practice? Have you considered asking someone to call your office who can give you an honest opinion as to how the call was handled? I encourage you to consider one of these methods and then take action on any of the negatives that you might discover. Don’t let poor phone techniques be responsible for losing patients and reducing profits!

Dental Humor:
What does the dentist of the year get?
...A little plaque

Is there someone you think would be interested in this newsletter?
Please feel free to forward this email to them. Thank you!

The Art of Practice Management
2217 Fox Horn Road  •  New Bern, NC 28562  •  Phone: 1-252-637-6259   •
Perio-Therapeutics & Beyond
724 Fitzwatertown Road  •  Glenside, PA 19038  •  Phone: 267-241-5833   •
Please do not reply to this message.
If you have any questions, please contact us by clicking the following link: Contact Us.
About us   |   Privacy policy © Copyright 2010 - Marianne Harper
The contents of this publication reflect the opinion of the authors only. This publication is for informational purposes only.
Any reference to a company or product is done only to provide information about the same and does not reflect any connection between the authors and the company.