CDA and local dental advocacy efforts in recent weeks have prompted action from the state, led by Sen. President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg and the Department of Health Care Services, to ensure access to dental care performed under anesthesia when medically necessary. Inadequate Medi-Cal reimbursement rates for facility, anesthesia and dental services have forced many facilities statewide to either reduce or discontinue dental services for patients who need to be treated under general anesthesia.
The Department of Health and Human Services recently released its "Annual Report to Congress on HIPAA Privacy, Security and Breach Notification Rule Compliance." In the report, the HHS detailed the number of complaints received for the calendar years 2011-12, the number of complaints resolved, the number of subpoenas or inquiries issued and more. The HITECH Act requires HHS to conduct the report, which found that during 2011 and 2012, the U.S. Office for Civil Rights (OCR) received 19,476 complaints, which was a significant increase over each respective year prior.
Do you know the rules as it relates to waivers for meal and rest breaks? Employers must provide nonexempt employees an opportunity to take a 10-minute paid rest break for every four hours worked. You cannot schedule an employee to work more than five hours per day without providing a 30-minute meal break, which is unpaid. A waiver can only be signed if the employee works no more than six hours. Read more tips here.
There is considerable information about the ethical implications and risks of dentists dating a patient of record, but the fact remains that dentists encounter a variety of people in daily practice and may find themselves attracted to a patient. Conversely, a dentist discovers a patient is attracted to him or her. If an attraction develops, consider ahead of time how this could become an awkward situation in the future. The Dentists Insurance Company strongly advises you not to act on that unless you first refer the patient to another dentist for dental care before beginning a personal relationship.
Despite the efforts of dozens of health care organizations including CDA, which have sought at a minimum a reversal of last year's 10 percent reimbursement rate cut for Medi-Cal/Denti-Cal providers, the 2014-15 state budget approved by the Legislature June 15 did not include any reimbursement rate increases. The governor's administration indicated that the increased costs of providing Medi-Cal/Denti-Cal coverage due to the state's expansion of eligibility and higher than expected enrollment have made it more difficult for the state to restore funding for reimbursement rates.
A computer software report can tell dentists what is happening in their practices pretty easily and can help them find missed opportunities. Dentists can check the pulse of their practices by running a monthly report of key performance indicators (KPIs) through their dental software program that will help them manage the performance of the practice and assist the team to make the necessary adjustments proactively to hit their annual goals. With these reports, the dentists and/or office manager can look for trends and plan accordingly.
As the November election approaches, CDA members will be hearing a lot more about a ballot measure designed to raise the cap on the Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act (MICRA). CDA and a coalition of health care organizations are working to defeat the initiative that would have devastating effects on California’s health care system. The initiative, called “The Troy and Alana Pack Patient Safety Act,” is backed by trial lawyers attempting to persuade voters to quadruple MICRA’s cap on noneconomic damages to $1.1 million.
Dentists will sometimes contact a temp agency to hire a dental assistant, hygienist or front office staff. But dentists aren’t aware that, in some cases, the practice itself, not the temp agency, takes on the risk for that employee. CDA Practice Support has received numerous calls in recent months regarding a new type of temp agency that sends an employee to a dental practice who becomes a short-term employee of the practice. This model makes the dentist, not the agency, responsible for that employee’s payroll, tax deductions, possible unemployment as well as workers’ compensation.
CDA learned in late May that Delta Dental of California began distributing a new Participating Provider Agreement (Commercial Fee-for-Service) to newly contracting California providers. For those newly contracting providers, this new agreement appears to be an all-inclusive provider agreement for both the Delta Dental Premier and PPO products. CDA understands that Delta Dental will no longer offer separate Premier and PPO provider agreements to newly contracting dentists. Along with the new Provider Agreement, newly contracting dentists will receive the Delta Dental Premier Addendum.
The establishment of a state dental director position — a goal CDA has actively pursued for years — is slated to become a reality after the state Legislature approved the 2014-15 state budget on June 15.
Interest remains high in the provisions of the federal Affordable Care Act (ACA) health reform law, as indicated by the attendance at a CDA Presents The Art and Science of Dentistry lecture in Anaheim on the ACA. CDA Legislative Affairs Manager Nicette Short presented “National Health Care Reform: How Will It Affect Your Practice?” — a course designed to provide information about the Affordable Care Act, its scope of coverage to individuals and small businesses and its potential impact on dentists, the oral health care delivery system and the dental benefits market.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recently announced that it would be conducting a second phase of HIPAA audits. The audit program is intended to be primarily for information gathering, but the HHS Office for Civil Rights will assess whether to open a separate compliance review in cases where an audit indicates serious compliance issues. Therefore, it is important that dental practices have a current HIPAA risk analysis in place; that their Notice of Privacy Practices is current and acknowledgement of receipt forms are maintained.
To make the transition from dental school to the workforce easier, TDIC is offering newly licensed dentists their first year of Professional Liability insurance for just $50. In addition, new dentists receive a 45 percent discount in their second year of practice and a 25 percent discount in their third. Founded more than 30 years ago by CDA dentists, TDIC now protects more than 18,000 dentists nationwide.
CDA Presents continues to expand its educational opportunities for members, and the San Francisco convention on Sept. 4-6 will be yet another example of that. Attendees can expect comprehensive presentations and the newest dental equipment that is out there because CDA is one of the premier venues for displaying new products on the expansive exhibit hall floor. CDA Presents also offer dentists and staff the ability to talk amongst their peers.
Jim Wood, DDS, a general dentist from Healdsburg and CDA member since 1983, earned a convincing first place finish in the June 3 primary election in his bid for State Assembly. Wood, a Democrat, is seeking to represent the 2nd Assembly District, which covers all or part of Del Norte, Humboldt, Mendocino, Trinity and Sonoma counties.
Dentists are faced with many career paths, especially in the first 10 years of practice. Because of this, today’s new dentists need to have the necessary business knowledge that will help set their career on the right path. To help with this, CDA is hosting a New Dentist Career Launch from July 9-11 at the CDA headquarters (1201 K Street, Sacramento). The three-day program will provide extensive and intense training intended to increase a dentist’s understanding of the nuances of a career in dentistry and guide them toward achieving professional success.
Online registration is now open for CDA Presents The Art and Science of Dentistry in San Francisco, which will be held Thursday, Sept. 4, to Saturday Sept. 6, at the Moscone Center. CDA Presents offers comprehensive presentations from some of the most well known speakers in dentistry and all the latest dental technology on the market on the expansive exhibit hall floor. Those who register by Aug. 6 will receive discounted pricing.
California’s attorney general recently issued guidance on amendments to the California Online Privacy Protection Act (CalOPPA) that may have an impact on dental practices. CalOPPA now requires any operator of a commercial website or mobile application that collects the personally identifiable information (PII) of California residents to disclose how the website responds to “do not track” (DNT) browser signals.
CDA-sponsored legislation that would require dental plans be more transparent about how patient premium dollars are spent passed on the Assembly floor May 28 by a 76-0 vote. AB 1962 (Skinner; D-Berkeley) would require dental plans to disclose information necessary to evaluate a dental plan’s costs of administering dental care coverage in comparison to amounts paid for patient care. The bill also sets up a process for establishing a medical loss ratio (MLR) for dental plans by 2018, which would require a certain percentage of patient premium revenue to go directly toward patient care.
CDA Cares was recently selected as a Daily Point of Light Award honoree for the work the CDA Foundation has done through the volunteer dental program. The Daily Point of Light Award was established by President George H.W. Bush to recognize the power of individuals and groups to spark change and improve the world. In a letter sent to the CDA Foundation from the Points of Light program, the efforts of CDA Cares were said to “honor the legacy of this award, demonstrating the power of service to create tangible change … Your efforts are a remarkable example of the generosity and compassion that make our communities stronger and better.”
There will be a plethora of learning opportunities and new technology on display at CDA Presents The Art and Science of Dentistry on Sept. 4-6 in San Francisco at the Moscone Center, but attendees can also take advantage of the various activities the city has to offer in the evenings. CDA Presents attendees who are coming from far away or even locally can plan their trip ahead of time in order to take in the lectures, workshops and exhibit hall floor during the day and then experience the sights and sounds of San Francisco nightlife afterward. Registration is now open.