CDA to host member Dental Benefits Workshop

To help improve members’ understanding of the shifting landscape of the dental benefits marketplace, CDA will host a Dental Benefits Workshop in 2014, one of several Smart Dentist Trainings offered through the CDA Practice Support Center.

The extensive program will provide participants the opportunity to earn C.E. credits through a “Dental Benefits 101 Webinar” as well as a two-day, in-person seminar held at the CDA headquarters in Sacramento (1201 K Street, 15th Floor) on March 20-21, 2014. Registration for the workshop is now open.  

Included in the workshop subject matter will be information on the California dental benefit plan marketplace and its impact on the profession, how to select and manage a dental plan practice model, how to improve claims payments and more.

Dental benefit/plan research conducted by Edge Research in 2010 revealed dentists are extremely frustrated with the dental benefit world and consider this their No. 1 “pain point.” The research also identified that much of this frustration is related to claims denial, down coding, benefit exclusions and a number of other procedural matters that oftentimes could be avoided through better training and education of dental office staff responsible for filing claims. Additionally, many dentists are unaware of the nuances of the contracts they have signed with the dental plans and their rights, limitations and obligations under those contracts.

Through education and training, the Dental Benefits Workshop will attempt to relieve some of these frustration points.

The structure of the workshop will include the following:

  • Two full days of training for dentists and key staff to include classes as a combined group and breakout sessions directed at the dentist or the benefit administrator.
  • CDA will provide after-course phone support and webinars to workshop participants to ensure they are implementing the information from the training appropriately.
  • Internal as well as external presenters/trainers will be utilized.

“The categories of products and the dental benefits marketshare has shifted quite a bit in recent years and I think our members are having a difficult time deciding whether to contract with certain dental plans and how to determine plan profitability,” said Michael Perry, DDS, chair of the Practice Support Center Task Force, member of the Dental Benefits Research Task Force and founder and president of Momentum Dental Business Consulting. “These issues are larger than they used to be in our profession and that is why this workshop will be valuable for dentists.”

Perry is one of many experts and CDA professionals who will lead both the webinar and the in-person seminar. The presenters will include: Charles Stewart, DDS, dental director of Aetna’s West dental territory; Gary Dougan, DDS, national dental director for Liberty Dental Plan; and Scott Wellwood, president of CDA Endorsed Program DentalXchange and former board president of NDEDIC.

The preliminary webinar, which will be held a few weeks prior to the two-day workshop, will feature its own learning objectives with an opportunity to earn C.E. The webinar will provide a baseline of information for the workshop participants on the evolving dental benefits market from the lens of the dental profession as well as that of the dental plans. 

When attendees make their way to the CDA headquarters a few weeks later for the in-person workshop, they will gain firsthand knowledge of practice model selection, contractual analysis, legal implications and misrepresentations of claims, patient and staff education and communication regarding dental benefit plans and more.

“This workshop will allow dentists to understand the workings of the dental benefits industry and help them understand that dental plans want to be partners in the provision of care for their patients. They need us and we need them. We want to establish a consensus,” Stewart said.

“There is a lot of confusion out there in the profession related to this topic (dental benefits). Some dentists sign up for an HMO plan when they think they signed up for a PPO plan,” Stewart continued. “They are signing contracts without reading them and the key is making sure you know what you are signing and having basic knowledge of the differences in these plans.”

Perry will delve into the ways the marketplace has changed in the last 10-20 years, including the demise of the high-end PPOs and how the dental plan models have morphed.

“Doctors are out there operating within dental benefit practice models and they don’t even know what model they are in. They are trying to operate as a larger PPO or low-fee dentistry model, but their mentality is that they should be able to operate as though they have no dental plan contracts,” Perry said. “That isn’t realistic in today’s day and age and that is what I hope to get across.”

Dentists who would like to participate in the Dental Benefits Workshop can apply here. Participation is limited for this pilot workshop, only two people from each practice will be accepted (one dentist and one staff member). The course will include follow-up webinars and questions. The workshop will cost $189 per practice, which includes breakfast, lunch and a social event. Attendees are responsible for travel and lodging costs.

For more information, visit cda.org/compass.