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 Welcome!
You are reading the first issue of The Art of Practice Management’s newsletter, "Dental Pearls". It is my mission to create an easy source of dental practice management information and tips that can be shared with my readers. I enjoy staying in touch with dental practices and I have found that newsletters offer a unique opportunity to do so. For many of us, it is not always easy to find the time to read all of the dental journals that pass through our offices.
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
May 23, 2008 is the date that all healthcare providers must have obtained and begun using their NPI number(s). This includes all providers who file electronic claims, submit claim attachments electronically, or use the Internet or any other electronic means to verify eligibility, or check claim status. Even if none of these criteria apply to your practice, there may still be insurance carriers who will require that claims be submitted with NPI number(s). If you have not obtained one yet for your practice, you can obtain your NPI(s) from one of the following:

By phone: 1-800-465-3203 (NPI Toll-Free)
1-800-692-2326 (NPI TTY)
By email at:
By mail at: NPI Enumerator
PO Box 6059
Fargo, ND 58108-6059

You will need to provide the healthcare provider’s social security number, the individual tax ID number, the employer ID (EIN or SSN), the provider’s license number and state of licensure, and any other provider ID numbers, in addition to the dental taxonomy number. You can choose your taxonomy number from the list below:
  • General Practice-1223G0001X
  • Dental Public Health-1223D0001X
  • Endodontics-1223E0200X
  • Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology-1223P0106X
  • Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology-1223X0008X
  • Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery-1223S0112X
  • Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics-1223X0400X
  • Pediatric Dentistry-1223P0221X
  • Periodontics-1223P0300X
  • Prosthodontics-1223P0700X
  • Denturist-122400000X
According to the January 2008 issue of “The Friday Letter”, many healthcare providers will need more than one NPI. The following should help you to determine what you need:
  • Sole proprietors who are not incorporated and file taxes under their social security numbers need only obtain a type 1 NPI.
  • A single healthcare provider who is not in a group practice and who files taxes under a TIN other than his personal SSN, requires a Type 1 for himself and at least one Type 2 for the business
  • A group practice filing the business’ taxes under a TIN that is other than any member’s SSN, requires an unique Type 1 for each healthcare provider and at least one Type 2 for the business.

My Favorite Quotes:
"The best way to create a sense of shared meaning is to develop a mission statement that conveys the dental team’s primary goals for the practice.”
Mark Scarbecz, Ph.D.

This quote1 is a favorite of mine because it expresses the importance of creating a mission statement for every practice. What better message can I offer as I launch this first newsletter? The mission statement, which expresses the practice’s values and vision, creates the building blocks to greatness. This mission statement need only have four to six basic values because they are what will make up the basic core of the practice.

In preparation, I suggest that some reading be done in books such as “Good to Great” that show how other businesses have created their visions.
For startup practices, creating the mission statement is as important as all of the other initial steps that must be taken to open a practice. If existing practices have not established their mission statement, it is not too late. In either case, the doctor needs to give in-depth thought to what he/she sees as his/her vision for the practice. The next step is to have staff members give thought to what they perceive to be the practice’s vision. Then a staff meeting should be held where all thoughts can be laid out and discussed, and after much discussion the mission statement can be formulated. By having total team participation, a sense of ownership of this mission will be created for the entire team. This will ensure that the staff has an innate desire for achievement of the mission statement and the resultant success of the practice.

Over the course of time, it can be easy to fall into a complacency trap regarding the practice mission. Evaluation of how the practice is following its mission statement should be done at regular intervals, such as during staff meetings. Measures must be taken if it is determined that the practice is falling short on its mission. New employees should always have an orientation session where the practice’s mission statement is discussed as well as the importance of this employee’s contribution to the success of the mission statement. So don’t delay. The sooner your team is working towards the same goals...
  • ones that will make patients know that your practice is the best
  • ones that will make starting each day a true enjoyment for the team
then the sooner your practice will be on the road to greatness!
1 Scarbecz M. Enhancing relationships among dental team members: The application of research on marital interaction. J Am Dent Assoc 2004 Nov; 135(11):1591-1596. PMID: 15622664

CrossWalking News
Tips for simplifying dental-medical cross coding
Establishing medical necessity is one of the most important parts of filing successful dental-medical cross coded claims. One easy way to help practices determine which patients are dentally/medically compromised is through our patient forms. The new patient registration form needs to have an up to date medical history section. In addition, your practice should develop a recare update form that includes a medical update section. The following should always be included in your list of questions on these forms, as they all are indicators of possible medical necessity:
Patient or family history of:
  • Heart disease or stroke
  • Diabetes
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Osteoporosis
  • Obesity
  • Artificial Joints
  • Periodontal Disease
Lifestyle habits:
  • Tobacco Use
  • Excessive Alcohol Use
  • Stress
  • Snoring
  • Teeth grinding or clenching
          Medications, vitamins, and herbs taken routinely _____________________

With the busy pace in most dental practices, it is hard to be sure that you have questioned the patient completely concerning their dental and medical status and needs. Why not incorporate these into your forms to guarantee that your practice has addressed all of them? In addition, include a question asking if the patient is happy with his/her smile and if there are any changes that your practice can help him/her with. This can open a dialogue with patients that can result in increased production.

As a side note, if your practice accepts assignment of benefits, your recare update form should also have a section for updating the patient’s insurance coverage. Along with this there should be a place for the signature of the patient or parent/guardian that authorizes the release of information to the insurance carrier as well as a signature that authorizes benefits to be paid to the dentist. These signatures are only valid for one year, so recare update forms that require these signatures will keep you compliant.

Dental Humor for the quarter:
Dentist: Just let me finish and you will be another man after these cosmetic procedures.

Patient: Okay doc, but don't forget to send your bill to the other man.

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   •
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