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 Summer has arrived!
Summer always seems to be the time for employee and patient vacations and a general slow down of business. What better time to take a close look at your practice and evaluate where you are now and where you would like to be in the future. Are you following your practice vision and goals? Perhaps a staff retreat that concentrates on practice vision and goals should be scheduled? Perhaps the practice needs the help of an impartial and objective individual such as a practice management consultant to moderate the meeting and help the dentist and staff find the answers needed? So, take advantage of this slower season to take the steps necessary to increase practice greatness.
My aim is to provide a short emailed newsletter that can provide valued information in a quick read.

This newsletter is for you - to help make your practice run more efficiently and to make you happy that you are part of a practice that grows beyond good and advances to great. I look forward to hearing from you concerning what you would like to see presented in this newsletter. So look for "Dental Pearls" in your email every quarter.
Time Line
Medical Coding
For those up-to-date practices that are helping both their patients and the practice by filing medical claims for many different dental procedures, keep in mind that the medical diagnosis codes (ICD-9-CM) will update as of October 1, 2008. As of that date, medical insurance carriers will not accept codes that have been deleted. In addition, it will be important to know and understand the revisions that have been made to the diagnosis codes. For my medical coding customers, we will be notifying you in September about how to order the updates for your manuals. For those who are not customers, you will need to obtain the new ICD-9-CM manual.

Patient Financing

  • The ADA Newsletter of June 10, 2008 provided some great news about CareCredit. It stated the following:
    “CareCredit recently asked dentists just like you from across the country what we could do to make our patient financing program even more attractive and help them get started. Overwhelmingly, the dentists we spoke with requested we eliminate the monthly minimum use fee. And we did. We're pleased to announce that as of January 1, 2008, CareCredit eliminated the monthly minimum use fee. And, as we continue to celebrate our 20th Anniversary, it's still only $20* to get started.”

  • This notice by the ADA came in part because of some negative publicity in the July issue of “Consumer Reports”. An article in that issue deals with credit card financing for health and dental care. The ADA newsletter stated “The Consumer Reports article focused on several examples of patients who may not have understood or were unable to fulfill the terms of their financing agreement and then experienced a dramatic increase in their interest rates (in some cases up to 27.99 percent). But GE Money notes that nearly 80 percent of CareCredit customers do pay within the promotional period - meaning they gained access to low interest loans, allowing them to finance dental procedures that otherwise may have been delayed or put off entirely.” I, as well as the ADA, strongly suggest that dental practices need to stress to patients that they need to carefully review the terms of CareCredit’s offerings before committing to them. CareCredit and other dental financing companies offer a valued service that enables patients to manage the cost of their dental care and, at the same time, provide prompt payment of services to the practice. Just help your patients understand the terms so that it stays a win-win situation.

My Favorite Quotes:
"Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success." Henry Ford

In my opinion, Mr. Ford had a strong message that can be applied to dental practices. Working together in our practices is not always easy and is often a lot of work. A dynamic practice is composed of team members who work together, not so much for individual benefits and glory, but for the success of the practice as a whole.

Dental-Medical CrossWalking News
Electronic Filing
Filing dental-medical cross coded claims has been a challenge for many dental practices. Filing medical claims is more complicated than filing our dental claims. As an example, we have to research the diagnosis codes (ICD-9-CM) to choose the best diagnosis or diagnoses for the procedure(s). This is how we prove the medical necessity of each procedure. There are additional codes over and above the procedure codes that we must be familiar with, too. One additional challenge has been the actual filing of the claim. Many of the dental practice management software programs offer a medical insurance component. However, we have been unable to file those claims electronically, so snail mail was our only option. I have been informed that Dentrix software now offers electronic filing of the medical cross coded claims. If you use Dentrix and file dental-medical cross coded claims, check with Dentrix to set this up for your practice.

For our patients
Healthful ideas to pass on to our patients:
  • Benefits of green tea – The April 2008 issue of “Modern Hygienist” (page 38), published by Advanstar Dental Media publication, reported on the many dental benefits of green tea. Green tea contains polyphenols that are potent antioxidants. On top of that, green tea also contains a natural source of fluoride. One cup of brewed green tea provides about .05 mg of fluoride. Green tea also has an antibacterial effect on microorganisms that are usually associated with dental caries. Lastly, green tea has lots of catechins that help to keep bacteria from adhering to teeth and also helps eliminate bad breath.

Insurance Filing
Real Time Services
  • Would you like to be able to press a button to determine patient eligibility and benefits or to check the status of a claim instead of making a lengthy phone call to obtain that information? Real time services, that can handle these jobs, is now a reality with some software vendors. There is a fee to use this service but there is also a cost to the time that it takes to make those phone calls. Help your practice become more efficient by checking into this great service with your software vendor.

Dental Humor for the quarter:
Patient: How much to have this tooth pulled?

Dentist: $200

Patient: $200 for just a few minutes work???

Dentist: I can extract it very slowly, if you like.


If you have enjoyed “Dental Pearls Newsletter”, please share it with other practices that could benefit from it.

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