With more than 700 dentists graduating from California dental schools recently, there is a wave of newly licensed professionals surfing the web and hitting the streets in search of job opportunities as associates in dental practices around the state. Simultaneously, more experienced CDA members may be expanding their practices by bringing in associate dentists as part of their long-term strategic plan. The issues surrounding dental benefit plan billing can become more confusing for the dentist(s) and office teams due to the new addition of a dentist to a practice.
There are many ways to make a difference in the lives of others and the CDA Foundation’s Legacy Giving Program is one. Through the Legacy Giving Program, dentists can incorporate a charitable donation to the Foundation in their will through estate planning. Dentists who agree to be a part of the CDA Foundation’s Legacy Giving Program are recognized by the organization. A donation of $100,000 or more in a dentist’s will is considered a “legacy gift.”
Attendees of CDA Presents The Art and Science of Dentistry in San Francisco can save money by registering early and booking their hotels early. Nonmember dentists, dentists from out of state and others also can save by registering for CDA Presents by Aug. 6. Below is a pricing structure for those who register for the convention by Aug. 6 and those who register between Aug. 7 and Sept. 6.
The Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry’s new 395,000-square-foot building in San Francisco held its first classes on July 14. The seven-story building (155 Fifth Street) underwent two years of renovation to be turned into the campus that now houses all academic programs and dental clinics.
To help new dentists start their careers off on the right path, CDA hosted a New Dentist Career Launch at its headquarters. The three-day program held from July 9-11 provided new dentists extensive and intense training intended to increase their understanding of the nuances of a career in dentistry and guide them toward achieving professional success. The 50 new dentists in attendance learned about topics such as reducing student loan debt, contract and lease negotiation strategies for practice start-up or acquisition and understanding their credit and personal financial resume.
In August 2013, CDA and several individual dentists filed a legal action against Delta Dental challenging, in part, its attempt to change Premier provider agreements. In response to this action, Delta filed a motion to dismiss the entire matter. After considering the motion, the arbitrators rejected Delta Dental's recent motion to dismiss the entire action, and found that there was sufficient evidence to allow the individual dentists to proceed on their claims that Delta's attempt to change key provisions of its participating dentist agreements violated the legal doctrine of "good faith and fair dealing." The decision will allow the arbitration to proceed.
Dentists should make sure that their air tanks and compressors meet the requirements under state law. California requires a permit for any air tank that is 1.5 cubic feet in volume or larger, or when the safety valve is set greater than 150 psi. A permit is valid for five years. Dentists can have inspectors from the Cal/OSHA Pressure Vessel Unit conduct safety checks on tanks and compressors for the purpose of issuing and renewing permits.
The ballot measure that would quadruple the cap on non-economic damages under the Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act (MICRA) has been assigned a number, Proposition 46, for the upcoming November election, while the campaign against it is gaining more powerful allies. CDA and an expanding coalition of health care organizations and others are working to defeat Prop. 46 because it would have devastating effects on California’s health care system, increasing costs by billions of dollars annually.
CDA has been engaged on multiple legislative issues at the state Capitol in Sacramento. Here are a few of the recent issues CDA worked on before the Legislature adjourned for a one month recess. It will reconvene Aug. 4 for work on bills before final adjournment at the end of the month.
TDIC is offering the seminar to help dentists correctly identify and handle patients who exhibit dental fear. Beyond the Science: Patient Emotions in Dentistry presents real case studies to dentists and staff members to help them recognize when, and how to dismiss a patient without placing them at risk; establish trust in the doctor-patient relationship to encourage treatment compliance; create office protocols to instill confidence in the dentist and staff.
Continuing education (C.E.) is an important aspect of being a dentist, and while it can take up time and resources to make sure the appropriate amount of C.E. units are taken, dentists should use it as an opportunity to improve their practice on the business side as well as the clinical side. Developing a business plan is a fundamental step dentists should take if they want to make their practices run more efficiently. Make sure you align your C.E. planning with your business plan.
Whether a dentist is building a new practice or renovating his or her current office, there are specific laws that come in to play for office design. One of the most important things dentists should consider is the state and federal requirements under the Americans with Disabilities Act (AwDA). Outside of the AwDA, state codes affecting office design include electrical, fire, mechanical, building, plumbing, energy and historical building codes, according to CDA’s Legal Reference Guide.
The download numbers for Toothsavers, the free mobile gaming app created by the Ad Council and the Partnership for Healthy Mouths, Healthy Lives, continue to grow. Through May, the app, which teaches kids ages 3-6 about the importance of oral health, had been downloaded in iTunes a total of 95,545 times worldwide, with 53,482 of those downloads coming in the U.S. What’s more, 81 percent of the sessions on the app are return users and the average session duration was three minutes and 27 seconds.
Although federally required adult dental services have been available to beneficiaries of Medi-Cal, adult optional Medi-Cal dental benefits were eliminated in July 2009, except for beneficiaries who are pregnant or residing in a skilled nursing facility or intermediate care facility. With many benefits for adults restored May 1, the recent CDA Presents lecture in Anaheim titled Adult Denti-Cal Services: Navigating the Renewal Program explained the treatment options and requirements of newly reestablished Denti-Cal benefits for adults. Presenters Tom Holloway, DDS, Nagaraja Murthy, DDS, and Nirmala Prabhu, DMD, offered valuable information concerning common denial codes in treatment authorization requests and claims, ways to reduce unnecessary denials and specific criteria for common restored procedures.
With the passing of Major League Baseball great Tony Gwynn from mouth cancer, CDA reminds dentists that there are many resources available to help their patients stop using tobacco and smokeless tobacco products. Though Gwynn's mouth cancer was never medically linked to the use of smokeless tobacco, he believed it was related to his cancer diagnosis. Experience shows that an oral cancer lesion, which often grows slowly and may be painless, can easily be overlooked by a patient who has "had this spot forever."
Volunteer registration is now open for the CDA Cares Pomona and Sacramento dental clinics. CDA Cares Pomona will be held on Nov. 21-22 at the Pomona Fairplex in Pomona. CDA Cares Sacramento will be held on March 27-28, 2015, at Cal Expo. Dentists and dental professionals are needed in areas throughout the clinic.
Dental licensure fees are on the rise as the Dental Board of California struggles with rising costs that have led to a significant budget deficit. An increase in initial licensure and biennial renewal fees from $365 to $450 took effect July 1, the current maximum allowed under law, which the Dental Board approved last fall. However, the board still projects a deficit even with the increase to $450. Consequently, the board sponsored SB 1416 (Block) this year, which was signed into law last month and raises the fee to $525 effective Jan. 1, 2015 - the amount the Department of Consumer Affairs has determined the board needs to remain financially solvent.
Cigna Dental recently notified contracted providers across the country about upcoming PPO network structure changes and directory enhancements. A May 22 correspondence outlines Cigna's intent to streamline the names of its networks by moving to two network names, rather than the four that currently exist. CDA has expressed concerns with the proposed cost effectiveness designation of dentists to Cigna and is currently working with the ADA and Cigna to learn more about the program and the plan's methodology.