There are two important reasons why dentists need to pay attention to upcoming changes and understand the potential impact to dental patients and one's dental practice. First, with 35,000 licensed dentists in California and more than 5 million Californians enrolled in Medicare (according to 2012 Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) statistics), simple arithmetic shows that there are almost 1,100 Medicare patients per dentist in the state. That is a lot of potential patients who may be impacted with the upcoming Medicare changes. Secondly, CMS issued a recent rule requiring all physicians and eligible professionals — including dentists — who prescribe Part D-covered drugs to be enrolled in Medicare or opt out for those prescriptions to be covered under Part D by June 1, 2015.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released new proposed standards to cut discharges of dental amalgam to the environment under the Clean Water Act. The proposed rule would require all affected dentists to control mercury discharges to Publicly Owned Treatment Works (POTWs). Specifically, it would require them to cut their dental amalgam discharges to a level using amalgam separators and the use of other "Best Management Practices," according to an EPA statement.
A CDA Cares volunteer dental program is scheduled for Nov. 21-22 at the Pomona Fairplex in Pomona. To help provide oral health care services to the large number of expected patients, the CDA Foundation needs various volunteer types to sign up. With the help of community volunteers, dentists and dental professionals, the program will provide at no charge cleanings, fillings, extractions, oral health education and resources for finding a dentist for follow-up care.
Gov. Jerry Brown has signed CDA-sponsored legislation into law that will bring increased accountability and transparency to dental insurance plans in California. Assembly Bill 1962, authored by Assemblymember Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley), establishes standardized requirements for dental plans to disclose how they spend patient premium dollars and puts the state on a path to establish a minimum percentage of premium dollars that must be spent on patient care.
The October 2014 issue of the CDA Update includes information on the reclassification of hydrocodone drugs. Beginning Oct. 6, hydrocodone combination products such as Vicodin and Norco will be rescheduled as Schedule II drugs instead of Schedule III. Also included in this issue are details on why dentists should vote no on Proposition 46.
The October Journal of the California Dental Association is the third and final issue focusing on interprofessional education (IPE) and practice. The goal of this series has been to identify key drivers and challenges, examine opportunities for greater interprofessional collaboration and practice, and create a vision for the dentist of the future. The issue includes a summary of the major forces driving movement toward greater integration of medicine and dentistry.
Beginning Oct. 6, hydrocodone combination products such as Vicodin and Norco will be rescheduled as Schedule II drugs instead of Schedule III. Dentists with a Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) registration that does not include Schedule II authority will have to change it to continue prescribing/refilling certain pain-relieving medications for their patients.
Dentists have often disagreed with the business model of Yelp, but a new court ruling further protects the online rating website in how it handles its marketing tactics. Specifically, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco has ruled that it is legal for Yelp to manipulate its rating system to sell advertising, even though the company claims it does not currently do so.
A new law that takes effect in July requires nearly every employer in California to allow all of its employees at least three paid sick days each year. The new law provides that employees receive an hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked. Caring for themselves or family members can be the reasons for taking the sick leave. Dentists should review their current sick leave policies and make sure they meet the minimum requirements of this new law.
In an effort to keep members informed about the legal action against Delta Dental, CDA is providing an update on the next steps. Hearings have been scheduled in the coming months related to the case pending before arbitrators and a separate action filed in Superior Court. In the arbitration, a hearing has been scheduled for next June, after an arbitration panel denied a motion by Delta to dismiss the case. A panel of three arbitrators found that there is sufficient evidence to allow the individual dentists to proceed with claims that Delta’s attempt to change key provisions of its participating dentist agreements violated the legal doctrine of “good faith and fair dealing.”
Based on the number of calls coming in to CDA’s Practice Support, there seems to be confusion among dentists about how to pay hygienists and associates who are classified as independent contractors. The main thing for dentists to understand is the definition of an independent contractor. A true independent contractor is a provider who works independently of the owner, has a contract with the practice to perform special services and makes their own schedule.
Parag R. Kachalia, DDS, an associate professor and the vice chair of Simulation, Technology and Research at the University of the Pacific, Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry, held a lecture titled “An Overview of New Technology and Materials Changing Dentistry” on Sept. 5 during CDA Presents The Art and Science of Dentistry in San Francisco. Kachalia sat down with CDA staff at Dugoni School of Dentistry’s new campus in San Francisco to discuss how technology is changing dentistry and how dentists can make the transition to the digital age.
There are four more opportunities in California this year to attend TDIC’s Risk Management seminar Beyond the Science: Patient emotions in dentistry. Fear, as well as anxiety and worry, may not be easily identified by the dental practitioner, which can cause big legal issues down the road. This seminar will teach attendees how to correctly handle patients who exhibit these emotions so they can keep their practice and their patients safe.
Newton Fahl, DDS, MS, who is a member of the American Academy of Esthetic Dentistry, director of the Fahl Center and maintains a private practice in Curitiba, Brazil, lectured on anterior composite restorations at CDA Presents The Art and Science of Dentistry on Sept. 4. In this video, he offers some basic tips on what dentists need to do to carry out "superb" composite work.
As the school year begins, with it comes popular fall sports and other outdoor activities. The California Dental Association is urging parents to protect their children’s teeth from sports-related dental injuries with the use of properly fitted mouthguards. Mouthguards are designed to help cushion the mouth, teeth and jaw, preventing significant damage where sports injuries are most prevalent. Different sports involve different levels of risk and potential injury, and while mouthguards are not required equipment in some sports, wearing one is an important precaution for athletes of any age and ability.
The California Legislature has approved a CDA-sponsored bill establishing standardized requirements for dental plans to report the amount of patient premium dollars spent directly on dental care. AB 1962, authored by Assemblymember Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley), will bring dental plan reporting to the same level as currently exists for medical plans and puts the state on a path to establish a minimum percentage of premium dollars that must be spent on patient care.
Edward Zuckerberg, DDS, knows a thing or two about social media and technology trends. If not for his time spent at the NYU College of Dentistry in the 70s and during his practicing years researching new technology and purchasing one of the first Atari and IBM computers, but also his family ties – he is the father of Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg. In fact, Mark created his first social network at age 12 in his dad’s dental office, long before Facebook. His dad, Edward, recently lectured on social media strategy for dentists at CDA Presents The Art and Science of Dentistry in San Francisco.
The morning meeting for a dentist and their team helps outline the patient care for the day, but it also can serve as a good time to remind staff about the importance of protecting patient information. A CDA Presents lecturer, and information security expert, lays out a list of topics dentists can discuss with their staff to make sure the practice remains HIPAA compliant.
Proposition 46 and the threat it poses to health care providers and the patients they serve was the topic of a timely lecture at CDA Presents in San Francisco. With the Nov. 4 election drawing closer, “MICRA: What Dentists Need to Know About the Threat to Malpractice Protection” outlined how Proposition 46 would raise the cap on noneconomic damages that would result in large payouts to trial lawyers, who are behind the ballot measure that also calls for physician drug testing and a statewide prescription database that jeopardizes patient privacy.
CDA Presents The Art and Science of Dentistry took place at San Francisco’s Moscone Center last week. The event featured approximately 150 lectures and workshops and an exhibit hall packed with more than 375 companies spotlighting the latest dental products.
Now is an ideal time for dentists to re-evaluate insurance coverage, which can have huge implications on the lives of their families and their ability to retire. Life Happens, a nonprofit organization formed in 1994, has dubbed September Life Insurance Awareness Month. The associated awareness campaign is intended to help consumers understand life, disability, long-term care and health insurance.
CDA Presents The Art and Science of Dentistry will take place Sept. 4-6 at the Moscone Center in San Francisco. We have compiled a list of key locations and times throughout the three-day convention that will help attendees plan their visit and make sure they get the most out of the experience.
The CDA Foundation again provided the Bettie Underwood Dental Assisting Scholarship, selecting Stefanie Dellatori of San Diego Mesa College, to receive the financial award offered to dental assisting students in pursuit of their educational goals. Dellatori showed financial need, academic achievement and a strong desire for a career in the dental field, stating that her long-term goal is to “help patients improve their health through quality care.”
The DEA reschedule becomes effective Oct. 6, 2014. This change will impact how hydrocodone products are prescribed and dispensed in California because the requirements for prescribing and refilling C-II drugs are more restrictive than for C-III medications.
The CDA Foundation will have several activities at CDA Presents The Art and Science of Dentistry in San Francisco on Sept. 4-6. The popular “Wine Wall” is back as well as the Friends of the Foundation reception. Through events like these, attendees will have a number of opportunities to interact with the CDA Foundation and learn the many ways it is changing lives across the state through the generosity of dentists.
The September issue of the Journal of the California Dental Association is now available. This is the second of three Journal issues dedicated to interprofessional education (IPE) and practice. This time, pediatric colleagues in medicine and dentistry collaborate to bring together a group of authors who are national thought leaders on the subject and who are actively involved with promoting the approach in their working environments.
The campaign working to defeat Proposition 46 in November has ramped up its voter education activities by launching statewide television and radio ads to defeat the ballot initiative backed by trial lawyers. The No on 46 campaign is airing the ads in English and Spanish, highlighting the high cost of Proposition 46 — both in dollars and patient access to care — which would raise the cap on the state’s Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act (MICRA).
The September 2014 issue of the CDA Update includes new information on the expanding "No on 46" campaign, a campaign CDA is a part of that aims to defeat Proposition 46, which would quadruple the cap on non-economic damages under the Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act (MICRA). Also included are details about the upcoming CDA Cares Solano clinic in November.
“Do you accept my insurance?” this is a question that thousands of dental offices receive from prospective patients multiple times per day throughout the country. How your dental team responds to that question can set the tone in terms of patient expectations and determine the future of the doctor- patient relationship. In recent months, the question of how dental practices should be answering that question has become a discussion point for CDA members.
Despite concerns expressed by the ADA and other stakeholders, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has finalized a rule to classify hydrocodone combination products such as Vicodin and Norco as Schedule II drugs instead of Schedule III. The reclassification, effective Oct. 6, will impact dentists with a Schedule III DEA registration because they will have to reregister with the DEA for Schedule II authority to continue prescribing/refilling certain pain-relieving medications for their patients.
The subject of medical waste disposal has been one of the more frequent questions from members coming into CDA’s Practice Support lately. The state Department of Public Health (DPH) has posted a new chart on dental medical waste disposal. While the law hasn't changed, the new chart can help dentists who are curious about the storage time for different types of medical waste.
The exhibit hall floor at CDA Presents The Art and Science of Dentistry in San Francisco will feature more than 375 companies, allowing dentists the ability to stay current on the latest technology trends in the industry. Located in the Moscone Center, the exhibit hall floor is 80,000 square feet and will house a plethora of dental innovation.
The CDA Foundation has announced Allen Wong, DDS, EdD, as this year’s recipient of its Dr. Arthur A. Dugoni Faculty Award. The award acknowledges and supports eligible faculty affiliated with the state’s six dental schools for their exceptional leadership, innovation, collaboration, compassion, philanthropic spirit and integrity in dental education. It was developed to support individuals who contribute to the scholarly and creative activities of California dental students.
In a new report from the ADA’s Health Policy Institute researchers found that the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) expanded dependent coverage provision increased dental insurance coverage for young adults. The report, published in Medical Care, set out to "assess the effect of the Affordable Care Act’s dependent coverage policy on private dental benefits coverage, utilization and financial barriers to dental care."
As of today, users of the CDA app
have access to event information for CDA Presents The Art and Science Dentistry
in San Francisco, which is scheduled to take place Sept. 4-6 at the Moscone Center. The app offers attendees of the convention easy access to schedules and speaker information, exhibitor and product listings, real-time alerts such as course availability, event photos and information on local hotels, restaurants and attractions. The easy-to-use app is compatible with any smartphone operating on the iPhone or Android platform.
It was a week before Christmas last year when the practice of Robert Meaglia, DDS, in Rocklin was broken into through the back door. The burglars took everything they could get their hands on, from toothbrushes to a Gameboy. But the most important thing they stole was the main unencrypted computer that had all of Meaglia’s patients’ information on it.
CDA and the CDA Foundation are gearing up for the second CDA Cares clinic to be held in Southern California. CDA Cares Pomona will take place Nov. 21-22 at the Pomona Fairplex, and volunteers are urged to get involved. In addition to providing care at no charge to approximately 2,000 patients at each clinic, CDA Cares aims to educate the public, media and policymakers about the importance of good oral health and the need to find long-term solutions, such as an adequately funded dental safety net.
CDA Endorsed Program Intuit Demandforce will be paying for the annual CDA memberships for three dentists at CDA Presents The Art and Science of Dentistry in San Francisco. Demandforce, which is a marketing and communications system company that specializes in patient recall, will be giving away the memberships at their booths (#913 and #2138) on the exhibit hall floor of the Moscone Center during the Sept. 4-6 convention. All dentists need to do is stop by their booths, scan their CDA Presents badge and get a scratcher that will determine if they win instantly.
Running a dental practice takes a lot of knowledge that goes beyond the clinical aspects of dentistry. There are several books related to leadership that offer advice for business owners, but there are five specific publications that CDA Director of Practice Management Michael Perry, DDS, has identified that will help dentists succeed in their practices. Check out the list and start your reading today.
CDA Practice Support has received an increase in calls regarding the so-called “paperless mandate.” The calls are coming from dentists who were told by other dentists that the deadline to switch to dental electronic health records (EHR) is coming in 2015. CDA reminds dentists that there is no requirement for dental practices to go paperless. There is an incentive program for Medicaid/Medicare providers to convert to electronic health records, however. Dentists who bill Medicare and who do not convert to EHRs will eventually see reduced payments for services.
CAMBRA, which stands for Caries Management by Risk Assessment, is a research-based, systematic approach to integrate caries risk assessment as a centerpiece of the dental practice. CAMBRA aims to diagnose and prevent caries through the process of assessing a patient’s risk for caries by examining various health and lifestyle factors as part of their regular dental checkup. When Jean Creasey, DDS, introduced the principles of CAMBRA into her Nevada City practice 13 years ago, she never envisioned the benefits reaped for her patients and the practice she shares with her husband, Craig Creasey, DDS.
CDA is aware of a letter that has been posted on Facebook and circulated among members suggesting that a recent Dental Board of California disciplinary action, initiated against a dentist who does not hold the required permit for the cosmetic use of Botox and derma fillers, is actually a broad prohibition on cosmetic dental procedures. This is not true and the alarm it is generating is unwarranted.
To help member dentists on a more individual, personalized basis, CDA has launched CDA Practice Advising, an in-depth consulting service designed to help dentists practice smarter and increase their profitability. The member-only Practice Advising will help dentists develop a vision statement and a customized action plan for their business and also give them an opportunity to enhance their skills through quarterly workshops on everything from leadership and treatment planning to financial policy and case presentation. Dentists can begin now by taking an online self-assessment about their practice.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently released new safety information about multiple-use dental dispensers. The new information, released in July, includes a definition of multiple-use dental dispensers, information on the importance of infection control and a series of do’s and don’ts.
The August issue of the Journal of the California Dental Association is now available. In this issue, four authors state their differing temporomandibular disorder (TMD) philosophies. Each then reviews the other three authors’ statements of philosophy, so the reader can understand each one’s opinion, as a TMD expert, on what they feel are the differences among them. Following those reviews, the authors respond to the critiques of their individual philosophies.
Attendees of CDA Presents The Art and Science of Dentistry in San Francisco will have an opportunity to take advantage of several TDIC offerings. There will be four opportunities to attend TDIC’s new Risk Management seminar, Beyond the Science: Patient emotions in dentistry. Beyond the Science: Patient emotions in dentistry will present 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; and create office protocols to instill confidence in the dentist and staff.
A legal action was filed in August 2013 by CDA and several individual dentists challenging, in part, Delta’s attempt to change Premier provider agreements. Prior to the filing, CDA learned informally of a planned rate reduction of 8 to 12 percent. A recent decision by arbitrators will allow the arbitration to proceed despite a motion by Delta to dismiss it.
CDA has heard from several members about a scam involving calls from fraudsters claiming to be IRS agents or other law enforcement authorities. The scammers threaten victims with arrest, deportation, license revocation or business closure unless the individual pays the taxes they claim are owed. The callers demand payment by way of a prepaid debit card, credit card or wire transfer. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has issued an alert advising those targeted by the scam on how to report it.
While the Exchange has not yet released the number of pediatric dental benefit policies sold in its first open enrollment period, the agency continues to move forward with its plans for 2015. Medical plans as well as dental plans have submitted bids to the Exchange to participate and sell policies in 2015. Those bids are sealed, so we have little detailed information on them – including any dental plans that have asked to join the Exchange – but we know that the Exchange staff is actively negotiating with plans on the premium rates being offered by those hoping to sell products in the Exchange.
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.”
The August 2014 issue of the CDA Update includes details on the "No on 46" campaign, a campaign CDA is a part of that aims to defeat Proposition 46, which would quadruple the cap on non-economic damages under the Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act (MICRA). Also included is the latest on the legal action against Delta Dental.
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.
If your practice had the unfortunate experience of dealing with a fire or water damage, would you be prepared? Commercial Property insurance is an important coverage to consider as a dental practice owner. This specific type of business insurance can help protect the property a dentist owns or leases, equipment, valuable papers loss of income and more. TDIC recently evaluated its Commercial Property insurance offering and recognized a need to provide policyholders with more options.
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.
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.
The July 2014 issue of the CDA Update includes details on the establishment of a state dental director position, a significant win for oral health. The issue also includes information on the ballot measure designed to raise the cap on MICRA and the coalition, which includes CDA, that is fighting to prevent it.
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.
Social media is no longer considered a fad, and the numbers back it up – 63 percent of online adults use Facebook every day and 71 percent of all online adults use Facebook. On top of this, more than 27 million pieces of content are produced daily online. For dentists who are looking to get their practice started on social media, this can be a lot to take in. But one CDA Presents lecturer says there is an easy way for dentists to start: post about their passion.
The Dentists Insurance Company reports an increase in claims related to oral cancer and advises dentists to conduct regular oral cancer screenings on all patients. In addition to consistent documentation of screenings, follow-up and referral of any suspicious lesion or area is strongly recommended. An attorney who has specialized in defending dentists for more than 40 years weighs in precautions dentists should take if they find a lesion or spot that looks unusual.
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.
While visiting their church for food the morning of April 26, Vallejo cousins, Maurice and Ivy, heard about CDA Cares at the Solano County Fairgrounds, where dentists and dental professionals were providing dental care at no charge through the CDA Foundation. Despite the seven mile distance between their church and the fairgrounds, the men decided to embark on a long walk to see if they could get help for Ivy, who was in pain and desperate need of dental care. It took a couple of hours to reach the fairgrounds, and seeing the long line of patients, the cousins decided to pass the time by creating a rap tune -- something they had been doing together for 30 years as "TOS" (True Old School).
The June 2014 issue of the CDA Update includes highlights from two of CDA's main programs: CDA Cares and CDA Presents The Art and Science of Dentistry. Specifically, the issue has a two-page photo spread from the CDA Cares Solano dental clinic and a recap of all of the events at CDA Presents in Anaheim.
The June Journal of the California Dental Association is now available. This issue is not about disasters in the dental office but disasters and the dental office. The authors cover forensic dentists and mass fatalities, volunteer opportunities for dental health care professionals, property emergencies and prevention strategies, business continuation planning and new advancements in forensic dental identification.
Interoffice dating can be tricky. Potential landmines include sexual harassment claims, allegations of favoritism, low morale, breakup drama and decreased productivity that can affect the entire dental office, especially if a workplace relationship goes bad. The Dentists Insurance Company recommends a policy defining the consequences of interoffice dating among employees. The policy should include expectations that an office relationship is separate from the work environment and should outline appropriate behavior, such as banning public displays of affection and retaliation if the relationship ends.
Dental patients can be nervous when they enter a practice. In fact, it is estimated that 75 percent of U.S. adults experience some degree of dental fear. But fear, as well as anxiety and worry, may not be easily identified by the dental practitioner, which can cause big legal issues down the road. That is why TDIC is launching a new Risk Management seminar to teach dentists how to correctly handle patients who exhibit these emotions so they can keep their practice, and their patients, safe.
CDA Presents The Art and Science of Dentistry gave attendees a chance to hear and see all of the latest trends and technology in the profession. Attendees left the May 15-17 feeling energized about dentistry and about going back to their practices, said CDA Presents Board of Managers Chair Del Brunner, DDS. Courses ranged in topics from leveraging social media in the dental office, implementing CAMBRA and how to be in compliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).
Since the beginning of the year, CDA has been contacted by several members questioning the validity of such programs after being contacted by someone representing "Meet the 2014 Top Rated Doctors and Dentists" and "Top Doc." Similar marketing programs geared for dentists and physicians have operated in California and nationwide over the past several years. CDA urges members to seek legal advice and carefully review any contracts before signing up for any marketing arrangement with any company. In particular, as with any business arrangement, members should be aware of the term of the contract and whether they may terminate the contract early in the event the services fail to meet their expectations.
CDA and a coalition of health care organizations are gearing up to defeat a November ballot initiative that would raise a malpractice cap on non-economic damages, resulting in devastating effects on California’s health care system.
Secure electronic transmission of protected health information is one of the many requirements of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Security Rule. Dental practices should review the rule requirements to ensure compliance. More and more resources are becoming available for dentists to use to stay compliant. The ADA has launched a new kit, for example, that helps dental practices comply with HIPAA. CDA's HIPAA Security Rule: A Summary resource can be found on cda.org/Privacy-HIPAA. Also, the Department of Health and Human Services has a Guidance on Risk Analysis resource on its website hhs.gov.
Once a dentist is ready to embark on the journey of practice ownership, there are a lot of next steps. One of those steps is knowing the right way to go about making an offer on an existing practice, should that be the route the dentist takes. A new chapter in CDA's Guide for the New Dentist titled "Practice Start-up and Purchase Process" covers the topic, as well as other critical information on the many facets of dental practice start-ups, acquisitions, and considerations that apply to both.
Those who don't want to miss out on any of the action during CDA Presents The Art and Science of Dentistry in Anaheim can visit the Social Hub for all of the latest photos and more. CDA staff is posting attendee photos from the Anaheim Convention Center as they are collected at the May 15-17 meeting and posting them on the Social Hub at cdapresents.com/socialhub. It is anticipated that more than 20,000 people will attend the meeting that will feature more than 100 C.E. lectures and workshops and an exhibit hall floor packed with 575 companies spotlighting the latest dental technology.
The ability to understand and recognize different personalities in the practice can be something that helps with patient treatment acceptance and relationship issues with co-workers. The main personality types in the dental practice are: the Driver, Intuitive, the Stabilizer and the Calculator. Michael Perry, DDS, CDA director of practice management breaks down each.
Dental students and recent graduates interested in providing care in a community clinic have the opportunity to do the work they love and get help with their student debt at the same time, thanks to the CDA Foundation's Student Loan Repayment Grant. The grant awards selected recent dental school/specialty graduates funding to help repay their educational loans of up to $35,000 per year for a maximum of $105,000 over three years in exchange for a commitment by recipients to care for the underserved.
CDA receives calls regularly from dentists about claims payments as it relates to dental benefit plans. CDA dental benefits analyst Ann Milar discusses some of the issues in this area that dentists run into and what dental plans can do. Specifically, Milar suggests if a dentist is a contracted, participating provider for a dental plan, they should have a provider handbook or manual that outlines the plan’s payment and processing guidelines. Most dental plan provider contracts require that the provider understand these guidelines.
CDA is aware of a tax return identity theft scheme that is targeting dentists and physicians. Initially, the fraud was reported by practitioners in other states, but it now seems that the scheme has made its way to California.
Those who are unable to attend CDA Presents The Art and Science of Dentistry in Anaheim this month will still have the opportunity to participate in some of the most popular lectures at the meeting through CDA’s live streaming option. CDA will be live broadcasting four of the sessions that will take place at the meeting set for May 15-17 at the Anaheim Convention Center. Dentists will earn C.E. and even be able to participate in the Q&A.
Legislation that could have significantly limited the use of cone-beam radiographic equipment in dental offices failed to advance on April 28 at a hearing of the Senate Business and Professions Committee. Current state law prohibits health care providers from “self-referring” patients to themselves for diagnostic procedures such as laboratory tests and radiographs, but specifically exempts procedures ordered and performed in a provider’s own office. SB 1215, authored by Sen. Ed Hernandez (D-West Covina), would have eliminated this in-office exemption for “advanced imaging.”
A dentist’s business plan is a critical tool for starting a practice. It provides the blueprint for how the dentist will establish a successful practice and it demonstrates to a lender how well they have researched and thought out the necessary elements of a practice. The real value of creating a business plan for a dentist, however, lies in the simple process of researching and thinking about their business in a systematic way. CDA Practice Support has a business plan template available to member dentists at cda.org/practicesupport
that is modifiable to fit their particular circumstance.
Many patients at the CDA Foundation’s CDA Cares programs are struggling to find employment because of the state of their oral health and the impact it has on their appearance. CDA Cares aims to provide dental care and oral health education at no charge to Californians who experience barriers to care, and provide them with a pathway to employment.
The exhibit hall floor at CDA Presents The Art and Science of Dentistry will boast nearly 100 new dental product launches, allowing dentists the ability to stay current on the latest trends in the industry. Located in the Anaheim Convention Center, the exhibit hall floor is 135,000 square feet and will feature 575 exhibiting companies. In total there will be 97 new product launches happening at CDA Presents.
May is Disability Insurance Awareness Month, which makes it a good time for dentists to make sure that their futures are protected. Dentists who do not have disability insurance and/or business overhead expense insurance, are one accident away from having to deal with insurmountable office overhead expenses and the possibility of being forced into closing their practice. TDIC is encouraging dental professionals to consider the important role disability insurance plays in an individual’s financial security.
In the past decade, there has been a significant increase in the number of health care professionals reporting allergic reactions to latex. Because frequent exposure to latex products can lead to increased sensitivity, health care professionals are at a higher risk of developing an allergy to latex proteins. CDA Endorsed Program PureLife weighs in on the problems, reactions and precautions associated with latex gloves.
The California Dental Association Foundation’s two-day dental clinic, CDA Cares, provided nearly $1.5 million in charitable dental services to 1,959 people during the April 25-26 event in Solano County. The fifth event since 2012, the CDA Foundation and CDA host CDA Cares to provide dental services and oral health education at no charge to Californians who experience barriers to care.
The Dentists Insurance Company reports repeated calls to its Advice Line about harassment of dental staff by patients or vendors. Federal and state laws forbid harassment of employees, and dentists have an obligation as employers to maintain a safe workplace. Further, dentists can be held liable if a harassment situation is not addressed, according to an attorney specializing in labor and employment law.
Be part of the action at the CDA Cares dental event in Solano County by viewing on-site photos from the Solano County Fairgrounds at the “Social Hub
.” CDA staff will post photos and videos from the clinic being held April 25-26 as they are collected onto the Social Hub. The site also features CDA’s live Twitter feed. To follow all social activity on Twitter and Instagram at CDA Cares use the hashtag #cdacares.
The May 2014 issue of the CDA Update includes the latest news on CDA's sponsored bill that targets low-value dental plans. The issue also has information on a state dental director being included in the governor's budget update. Also highlighted are the new product launches taking place at CDA Presents.
The May issue of the Journal of the California Dental Association is now available. It covers a variety of topics including nutrition and periodontal disease, dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa, factors affecting dentists’ incomes and more. One specific clinical case report describes the steps involved in treatment planning, treatment, laboratory communication and materials for the replication of natural polychromicity to restore and match incisors to the rest of the natural teeth.
CDA received a ruling on April 10 from the arbitrators hearing the case against Delta Dental, who decided that CDA cannot participate as a claimant in the arbitration because CDA itself is not a party to the Premier provider agreement that contains the arbitration clause. However, CDA can still offer legal representation to all dentists who are parties to the binding arbitration and will continue to work with and support them throughout the proceedings.
CDA-sponsored legislation to require dental plans to adhere to the same administrative cost limitations as medical plans took a major step forward April 8. AB 1962 passed the Assembly Health Committee on a 15-3 vote over strong opposition from the dental plan industry. AB 1962 would remove the dental plan exemption from state law that requires health plans to allocate a minimum of 80 percent of their premium revenue to actual patient care.
May 1 marks the date of formal restoration of adult benefits in the Denti-Cal program. CDA offers a few suggestions to help dentists make sure they are prepared for the program to return: familiarize yourself with the benefits available to adults; confirm that you are an enrolled provider in the Denti-Cal program; and attend the lecture that will cover the renewed program at CDA Presents The Art and Science of Dentistry in Anaheim.
Available for download now from the iTunes App Store and the Google Play store, the new CDA app features sections for CDA Presents, the latest dentistry and member news, practice support information and member surveys. The app has a comprehensive and intuitive home screen that makes navigation seamless.
CDA has recently learned that the Dental Board of California has begun taking disciplinary action against dentists who are providing Botox/Dysport or derma filler treatments to patients for cosmetic purposes or teaching courses to dentists to do so.
As of March 31, the first open enrollment period in health care reform implementation through the California Health Benefit Exchange’s individual market (Covered California) is in the books. So, it is now time to start thinking about what happens next for the people who have new dental policies and what treating these patient will mean for dentists. If and when a patient comes into your office with Covered California dental coverage, it is important to remember that what they really have is private dental insurance.
CDA is now recruiting for volunteer leadership positions beginning service in November 2014. The online application process takes about 20 minutes to complete, and applicants can apply for positions on CDA councils, committees and boards as well as for shorter-term positions on task forces and workgroups or serving as a CDA Presents host or assistant.
If you forgot to register online for CDA Cares Solano, April 25-26, you can still volunteer. Dentists and dental professionals are needed for Friday, April 25 at the Solano County Fairgrounds, 900 Fairgrounds Drive, Vallejo. Go to volunteer registration at McCormack Hall. The goal of CDA Cares is to relieve pain and infection and educate the public and policymakers about the importance of good oral health and the need for an adequately funded dental safety net. Since 2012, the CDA Cares volunteer dental program has provided $6 million in care to more than 8,000 patients.
The Scholastic education component of the Kids’ Healthy Mouths campaign led by the Partnership for Healthy Mouths, Healthy Lives and the Ad Council has created a big impact in classrooms across America. Since launching last October, Scholastic’s “Two Minutes, Twice a Day” in-school program materials were delivered to 125,000 teachers nationwide via print and have reached more than 3,750,000 children and their families.
April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month, making it the perfect time to raise public awareness of the disease. According to National Cancer Institute (NCI) estimates, there were more than 40,000 cases of oral and pharynx (throat) cancer in 2013 and nearly 7,900 deaths. NCI estimates that 1.4 percent of all cancer deaths are from oral cancers. There are many educational materials available that dentists can print and share with their patients.
The CDA Foundation has numerous grants and scholarships available throughout the year with various deadlines and submission periods. Currently, the CDA Foundation is accepting applications for the Student Loan Repayment Grant, Humanitarian Award and the Latinos for Dental Careers Scholarship.
CDA and a coalition of health care organizations are ready to fight a ballot measure over California’s Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act (MICRA), which now appears inevitable after trial lawyers submitted more than 800,000 signatures to qualify their anti-MICRA initiative for the November ballot.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has launched a new security risk assessment tool that helps dentists and other health care professionals be in compliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). It is important for dentists to conduct a security risk assessment as required by HIPAA to protect their patients' information and minimize liability risk. A recent review of HIPAA enforcement actions reveals that entities were penalized for not having a documented risk analysis or for having an incomplete analysis.
Inquiries have increased to CDA Practice Support recently on the subject of movie licensing. Dental practices are being contacted by mail or in person by individuals seeking to collect licensing fees. Many dentists assume it is OK to play movies they have purchased in their waiting rooms, but that is not always the case.
Dentists gained firsthand knowledge of practice model selection, contractual analysis, legal implications of claims and more at CDA's Dental Benefits Workshop. Held at CDA's headquarters in Sacramento, more than 70 people, including dentists and staff from 40 practices, attended the March 20-21 event. Attendees were able to earn up to 12 hours of continuing education and improve their skills analyzing and evaluating existing dental plan contract performance in their practices.
There are many business and technical issues in dental software contracts that dentists need to recognize and address, and the onus can fall on them to adequately prepare. Signing a bad contract could negatively impact a practice for years to come. CDA, along with a veteran health care software expert, has identified the top five mistakes dentists make when signing a dental software contract.
There will be something for everyone on the dental team at CDA Presents The Art and Science of Dentistry in Anaheim on May 15-17. From lectures on equipment care and repair to search engine optimization, social media and online marketing — the course lineup is enriched with key information for dentists and staff. Dentists interested in bringing their entire staff to CDA Presents in Anaheim can use the following list of workshops to help plan their schedules at the convention.
The establishment of a state dental director position to provide leadership and direction for oral health care in California, a goal CDA has actively pursued for more than two years, will soon become a reality.
A CDA Cares dental clinic is scheduled for April 25-26 at the Solano County Fairgrounds in Vallejo. To help provide oral health care services to the large number of expected patients, the CDA Foundation needs various volunteer types to sign up. From general dentists to nurses to lab technicians, there are opportunities for many health care professionals to change lives at the event.
The April issue of the Journal of the California Dental Association is now available. This issue helps readers understand the value of having a robust state oral health program and how it benefits the public and the profession. The importance of a state dental director who can impact oral health policy is also covered.
A ballot measure fight over California's Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act (MICRA) now appears inevitable after Consumer Watchdog (a trial lawyer front group) submitted more than 800,000 signatures to county elections officials Monday to qualify their anti-MICRA initiative for the November ballot. Slightly more than 500,000 valid signatures are needed for the measure to qualify. The signatures will be verified over the next several weeks.
The Dental Hygiene Committee of California (DHCC) faced its first legislative "sunset review" hearing last week. Based on that hearing, all indications are that the legislature will continue the committee for another four years but will not support expanding the committee's authority or the hygiene profession's scope of practice as proposed by the DHCC and the California Dental Hygienists Association.
Dental professionals spend a tremendous amount of energy ensuring they provide a comprehensive diagnosis and treatment plan to their patients. Equally important is to regularly examine and assess the overall health of the dental practice. A lecture at CDA Presents The Art and Science of Dentistry in Anaheim on Friday, May 16 will walk dentists through recommended practice assessments, or "exams," teach them how to "diagnose" the problems, and ultimately, "treatment plan" the solutions.
Studies are continuing to show significant expansion of dental group models in California and across the country. Their impact on the dental marketplace is making it more important to understand and classify the various practice models that exist. The ADA's Health Policy Resource Center identified six basic types of group practices that indicate two or more dentists are somehow affiliated with each other. CDA breaks down these classifications and provides examples of some of these group practices in California.
The April 2014 issue of the CDA Update offers dentists tips on ways in which they can boost their star rating on Yelp. The issue also provides a glimpse into how dentists can "empower" their staff by taking them to CDA Presents The Art and Science of Dentistry in Anaheim in May.
As the annual state budget process begins to unfold in the legislature, CDA is advocating on a variety of significant issues, ranging from funding a state dental director, improving Denti-Cal reimbursement rates and maintaining or restoring the state's public oral health program infrastructure. This year, CDA's top advocacy priority in the budget process is the establishment of a state dental director position within the Department of Public Health.
CDA continually works on behalf of its members to provide quality services and benefits — support that allows California dentists to be successful and better serve their patients. CDA is currently surveying members to determine their interest in the association developing and operating a dental practice management service organization (MSO).
With the receipt last month of final approval from the state Office of Administrative Law, initial and biennial dental licensure fees will be increasing for the first time since 1998, effective July 1, 2014. A group of ancillary fees that is linked by law to the biennial renewal fee will be increasing as well.
TDIC Professional Liability policyholders whose Risk Management premium discount expires soon should register for their last chance to complete TDIC's Risk Management seminar, The High Cost of Shortcuts. California dentists must successfully complete the seminar by April 25th to maintain and/or receive the discount. However, for those who attend the CDA Presents Risk Management seminars, the discount will apply to the July 1, 2014 renewal. In addition, registrants will earn 3.0 C.E.
CDA Presents The Art and Science of Dentistry in Anaheim will provide attendees with a multitude of learning options and opportunities to view the latest technology in dentistry, but there also will many ways to unwind and socialize. CDA has identified some of the top events and activities dentists and their staff can attend at the meeting.
March 20 is World Oral Health Day, a day to celebrate the benefits of a healthy mouth and to promote worldwide awareness of the issues around oral health and the importance of good oral hygiene for everyone old and young. World Oral Health Day is organized by the FDI World Dental Federation in collaboration with the ADA and recognized in more than 50 countries worldwide. California components, schools and businesses across the state can celebrate the day by holding events under the slogan "Celebrating Healthy Smiles" and the benefits that come with good oral health.
A recent ADA study finds that dentists could save the health care system millions of dollars each year by incorporating overall health assessments into chairside screenings. Specifically, the ADA Health Policy Resources Center found that savings could reach $102.6 million each year, simply by conducting screening for diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol in the dental office.
Dentists who have decided to accept online forums such as Yelp as a marketing tool they can use to benefit their practice face a common question: How do I get and maintain high-star ratings? The first and most important thing is to maintain high standards in the practice and focus on patient communication.
The Dentists Insurance Company has announced its 20th consecutive year earning the A.M. Best Company’s “A” rating. The A.M. Best Company rating includes comparisons to peers and industry standards as well as assessments of operating plans, philosophy and management.
A CDA member’s dental practice lost a computer server to thieves last year, and is now responding to U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) inquiries on that practice’s HIPAA compliance. CDA has been assisting the practice in this process, and is offering members recommendations so they can avoid a similar situation.
CDA’s arbitration with Delta took a step forward on Feb. 25 with a “preliminary hearing” conference call with the panel of arbitrators assigned to the case. The purpose of the call was to schedule dates for different stages of the arbitration. In light of the extensive briefing that has already been submitted by both parties, the panel of three arbitrators has indicated it will likely decide two significant issues by early April.
Establishing, building and maintaining a practice can take an entire career to accomplish, and when a dentist is ready to put that practice up for sale, there is a lot to think about. A lecture at CDA Presents The Art and Science of Dentistry in Anaheim will take the selling dentist through the necessary steps and precautions that must be taken during such a transaction.
Several major sponsors, through in-kind donations and resources, are stepping up to make sure CDA Cares Solano provides the most oral health care possible to patients in need. CDA Cares Solano will be held at the Solano County Fairgrounds on April 25-26 with the help of hundreds of volunteer dental professionals and other community volunteers. On top of volunteers, the CDA Foundation relies heavily on the financial support of its sponsors. Solano County, First 5 Solano, the Del E. Webb Foundation and Kaiser Permanente in Napa and Solano counties all are donating and/or matching funds up to $20,000 or more, for a total of $160,000.
Dental professionals from around the world attend CDA Presents to learn about the latest clinical and technological advances in the industry, earn C.E. and take advantage of networking opportunities. In the process, they hear from some of dentistry’s most captivating speakers, which will be the case at CDA Presents The Art and Science of Dentistry in Anaheim on May 15-17.
Making sure the patient is comfortable at every communication point with a dental practice is important when it comes to him/her accepting the treatment that the dentist ends up recommending.
To enhance the member experience with its “ePub” versions of the Update and Journal, CDA has implemented a new feature that makes sharing content easier. CDA launched digital versions of the Update and the Journal in 2013 as a way to communicate industry and member news across more platforms. New for 2014 is the Stream sharing feature.
CDA applauds the decision by CVS Caremark to discontinue the sale of tobacco products. For decades, CDA and other health organizations have been warning tobacco users of the dangers of these products and urging them to kick the habit. CVS recently announced that it will stop selling cigarettes and all tobacco products at its more than 7,600 stores nationwide by Oct. 1.
CDA's Practice Support often receives questions related to dental staff who are employed on a part-time basis, but may work beyond eight hours in a given day. Robyn Thomason, director of CDA Practice Support, provides clarification based on information from the Department of Labor in the latest edition of "Dear Practice Support."
To help give dental students a voice, CDA hosted a Grassroots Advocacy Day at the Capitol with the UCLA School of Dentistry. Five CDA student representatives from the school traveled to CDA’s headquarters on Feb. 12 and spent the day meeting with legislators and touring the Capitol building.
Nearly five years after the state eliminated dental benefits for adult beneficiaries in the Medi-Cal program, many of those benefits are being restored as of May 1, 2014. This comes largely as a result of the pent up need for dental care, so visibly demonstrated at CDA Cares.
Even with the rollout of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) barely under way, Covered California, the agency charged with implementing the ACA in this state, devoted considerable time last month to planning for expanded dental benefit offerings for 2015. CDA has continued to push for making a variety of plan options available to all consumers, including adults, and the state is now moving in that direction, with many details still to be worked out.
The March 2014 issue of the CDA Update highlights the top speakers to be featured at CDA Presents the Art and Science of Dentistry in May. Also in this issue is the latest on the implementation of the Affordable Care Act and Covered California's efforts to plan for expanded dental benefit offerings in 2015.
The Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act of 1975 protects dentists and other health care providers from frivolous lawsuits and outrageous malpractice rates that drove many practitioners out of the state. The law is now under attack by trial lawyers who are circulating petitions to force a November ballot initiative, in essence to allow bigger payouts to pad their pockets. CDA President James Stephens, DDS, outlines why dentists need to preserve MICRA and support the fight that CDA and other health care organizations are involved in this year.
CDA’s legal action against Delta took a step forward with a decision by the American Arbitration Association to select three arbitrators to hear and decide the case. The selection of an arbitration panel meant the case was able to move forward with a preliminary conference scheduled Feb. 25.
The March issue of the Journal of the California Dental Association is now available. It covers a variety of topics including the clinical, radiographic and histopathologic features of internal and external root resorption, pharmacology of tacrolimus and its use in oral lichen planus, the use of cone beam CT in orthodontics and the treatment of a patient with severe mandibular anterior crowding.
Dentists interested in implementing Caries Management By Risk Assessment (CAMBRA) strategies into their practice will have some training available to them at CDA Presents The Art and Science of Dentistry in Anaheim. Jean L. Creasey, DDS, will lead a lecture titled Preventing Your Way to Success ... Implementing CAMBRA in Private Practice on Thursday, May 15, and Friday, May 16, at the Anaheim Convention Center.
The CDA Foundation offers financial support for oral health programs and dental education statewide. In this way, funding reaches local communities where it's needed most. Numerous grants and scholarships are available throughout the year with various deadlines and submission periods. Several of application deadlines approaching.
The California Dental Association is sponsoring a patient protection bill introduced by Assemblymember Nancy Skinner, (D-Berkeley), to ensure that a minimum percentage of consumer premiums are actually spent on their dental care instead of insurance company overhead and administration costs.
With a new legislative session under way, CDA’s volunteer leaders and its Sacramento advocacy team are simultaneously on offense and defense on a wide range of legislative and regulatory issues impacting dentists and patients across the state. The issues range from dental insurance and malpractice reforms to state oral health policy leadership and regulation of dental hygienists.
Dentists interested in learning more about the world of restorative dentistry will have many options at CDA Presents The Art and Science of Dentistry in Anaheim. From anterior and posterior etched ceramic restorations to posterior bonded porcelain, CDA Presents has more than 20 lectures/workshops for dentists to take advantage of throughout the May 15-17 event at the Anaheim Convention Center.
February is American Heart Month, and in an effort to increase oral health awareness, the California Dental Association is highlighting the importance of good oral hygiene habits to help keep mouths and hearts healthy. According to the American Academy of Periodontology, several studies have shown periodontal disease to be associated with heart disease.
Having financial assistance to help him through dental school is something that molded Dr. Don Rollofson’s perspective on giving back. Now the chair of the CDA Foundation, Rollofson heads up two of its major programs – the Student Loan Repayment Grant and CDA Cares, both of which enable dentists across California to give back to the communities they serve.
According to U.S. News & World Report, dentist is the nation’s third best job of 2014. U.S. News ranked the “100 Best Jobs of 2014” based on employment opportunity, salary, work-life balance and job security. Dentist ranked just below software developer and computer systems analyst, and just above nurse practitioner and pharmacist.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) launched a new public awareness campaign around the dangers of tobacco use. The youth tobacco prevention campaign, “The Real Cost,” launched Feb. 11 and will run across multiple media platforms, including TV, radio, print and online for at least a year.
Dental electronic health records (EHR) are changing practices rapidly as it relates to benefits and clinical operations. There are many options in terms of vendors and software offerings in addition to federal EHR incentives, new HIPAA rules and the push to move everything to the cloud. Despite the complexity, dental practices need to stay up-to-date. To help dentists in these situations, CDA Presents The Art and Science of Dentistry on May 15-17 will host a lecture to provide guidance on how to deal with purchasing new, or updating old, dental software.
It is important for dentists to conduct a Security Rule risk analysis as required by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) to protect their patients’ information and minimize liability risk. A recent review of HIPAA enforcement actions reveals that entities were penalized for not having a documented risk analysis or for having an incomplete analysis.
The CDA Foundation is pleased to announce it has confirmed the dates and locations of four upcoming CDA Cares volunteer dental events, including Fresno in 2015. At each event, volunteer dentists — with the assistance of other dental professionals and community volunteers — will provide cleanings, fillings, extractions, oral health education and assistance in finding a dental home.
CDA receives thousands of member calls each year on the four major topic areas of a dental practice: dental benefits, employment, practice management and regulatory compliance. Dental benefits receives more than 3,000 calls per year, and of those calls, approximately half of them are related to a dental plan not doing what the dentist (and their staff) expected.
CDA Presents in Anaheim on May 15-17 is going to be one of the most innovative professional conferences to date. An example of that is the Advance Local Anesthesia of the Oral Cavity and Maxillofacial Complex lecture/lab, which will be led by Mel Hawkins, DDS, BScD (AN), and Mark C. Paxton, DDS. The May 15 lab will offer attendees the opportunity for light, site-specific, hands-on human cadaver demi-head dissection, isolation, pathway tracing and identification of anatomical structures.
As questions increase about the use of Botox in dentistry, The Dentists Insurance Company advises California dentists that the use of preparations such as Botox and Dysport must be within the scope of dental practice.
February is National Children’s Dental Health Month. The ADA's Give Kids a Smile campaign is a way for dentists to join with others in the community to provide dental services to underserved children. Dentists and other team members volunteer their time, and services, to provide screenings, treatments and education to children throughout the United States. Registration is under way for Give Kids a Smile Day set to be held on Feb. 7.
At the beginning of the year, a few hundred dentists received a letter or telephone call from a dental plan indicating that they had been selected for a quality assurance audit. A CDA dental benefits analyst addresses some common dentist questions related to this and offers a few suggestions for navigating the audit process.
The February issue of the Journal of the California Dental Association is now available. The issue covers controversies in dentistry and how the professional environment is changing. It also includes commentaries on the increasing shift from small dental practice to corporate dentistry; a review of the current dental education that questions if and how the educational philosophy is changing; an overview of who will mind the dental health care safety net; and more.
There is still much uncertainty regarding the overall and long-term impacts of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) on the health and dental care delivery systems. What we do know, however, is that the ACA will usher in access to dental care for many more children outside of the ACA-created online insurance marketplaces – including coverage through most private health insurance plans.
The February 2014 issue of the CDA Update includes information on how dentists can use Yelp to their advantage for marketing purposes. Also in this issue is an interview with Jim Wood, DDS, who is running for the 2nd Assembly District. If elected, he would become the only dentist in the state Legislature.
To ensure compliance with state radiation regulations, dental practices, clinics and dental educational programs should obtain the recently updated Radiation Safety in Dental Practice
There has been a lot of speculation around the use of Windows XP as it relates to HIPAA violations. Many IT consultants are saying if dentists’ information systems are operating on Windows XP after April 8, 2014, they are in violation of HIPAA. The HIPAA Security Rule does not specifically require the use of operating systems that are manufacturer-supported so continuing to use Windows XP after April 8 is not in itself a HIPAA violation.
As a precaution to the risks of liver injury, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says dentists and other health care professionals will need to limit the amount of drugs they are prescribing to patients that include acetaminophen.
CDA has learned that United Concordia plans to adjust reimbursement rates for its National Fee for Service Maximum Allowable Charge (MAC) schedule. United Concordia has sent letters to approximately 5,000 contracted providers in California impacted by this action. Providers in other United Concordia networks are not affected by these changes.
The U.S. Surgeon General has updated Dr. Luther Terry’s landmark report on smoking and health. According to the ADA, the 998-page report, titled The Health Consequences of Smoking—50 Years of Progress: A Report of the Surgeon General, 2014, updates evidence on the implications for oral health from tobacco use and the “expanding use of multiple products or the replacement of conventional combustible cigarettes with other nicotine delivery systems.”
Starting a dental practice takes a lot of work and knowhow, which is why the CDA Practice Support Center makes sure to keep dentists up-to-date on what they need to know as they go through this process. For dentists interested in training in this area, the Practice Support Center is hosting a four-part symposium series titled Starting or Purchasing a Practice.
Dentists interested in learning about and implementing Caries Management By Risk Assessments (CAMBRA) into their practices can take advantage of the new app developed by the UCSF School of Dentistry and Firsthand Technology Inc. The MyCAMBRA mobile app, available in the iTunes store, lets dentists perform a CAMBRA risk assessment right on their iPhone or iPad.
Dental care spending remained flat through 2012 over the prior year, according to an analysis conducted by the ADA. The ADA analysis points to working age adults visiting dentists less frequently and fewer people covered by employer-sponsored dental benefits, as a couple of the key factors.
In an effort to motivate parents and caregivers to take action to reduce their children’s risk of oral disease, the Ad Council and the Partnership for Healthy Mouths, Healthy Lives have released a new, free mobile gaming app called Toothsavers. The goal of the game is to motivate kids to save their own teeth by brushing for two minutes, twice a day.
Denti-Cal providers received positive news Jan. 9 regarding CDA efforts to stop the state from implementing retroactive reimbursement cuts, which were not included in Gov. Brown’s proposed 2014-15 budget. CDA advocated strongly against the 10 percent “clawback” of payments made since June 2011, citing the devastating impact on the provider network and patients’ ability to access care.
Jim Wood, DDS, is running for election in the 2nd Assembly District, which covers all or part of Del Norte, Humboldt, Mendocino, Trinity and Sonoma counties. If elected, he would be the only dentist member of the California Legislature. Wood, who has been active in the policy arena with CDA, vows to be a strong advocate for dentistry and health care in the Legislature.
With federal and state law supporting a patient's right to post about a dental practice on online forums, there is little dentists can do to prevent a negative review. But they can use websites like Yelp to their advantage in their marketing efforts, say some social media experts.
The CDA Cares San Diego volunteer dental clinic at the Del Mar Fairgrounds in December provided more than $1.6 million in charitable dental services to 2,203 patients, and it wouldn’t have been possible without the support of some key sponsors. Presenting Sponsor Benco Dental Company, which has backed the program since the first CDA Cares event in Modesto in May 2012, the county of San Diego, Carestream Dental, Patterson Dental, Henry Schein, Aribex, Farmers Insurance and more all provided significant support for the CDA Cares volunteer dental program on Dec. 7-8.
Denti-Cal providers received positive news regarding retroactive reimbursement cuts in Gov. Brown’s proposed 2014-15 budget released Jan. 9. The spending plan does not include a 10 percent “clawback” of payments made since June 2011 when the state authorized Medi-Cal reimbursement cuts as part of its budget.
CDA Presents continues to expand educational opportunities for its members, and the Anaheim and San Francisco conventions in 2014 will be prime examples. CDA Update staff spoke with Del Brunner, DDS, chair of the CDA Presents Board of Managers, about what attendees can expect at CDA Presents Anaheim, May 15-17 at the Anaheim Convention Center, and CDA Presents San Francisco, Sept. 4-6 at the Moscone South Convention Center.
From the latest on HIPAA compliance to how to optimize a Yelp profile, CDA has it all. As we enter 2014, let’s take a look back at the top 10 resources CDA’s Practice Support Center provided dentists in 2013.
Dental offices routinely send medical clearance forms to physicians before beginning treatment on medically compromised patients, and The Dentists Insurance Company receives a number of questions on its Advice Line about this practice. A San Francisco-area attorney working with TDIC who specializes in professional liability and business law, weighs in on how when it comes to medical clearance, the big issue is whether dental treatment could substantially affect a patient’s physical condition or the reverse, whether a physical condition could affect dental care.
The University of California, San Francisco, School of Dentistry will host a C.E. course on Caries Management By Risk Assessment (CAMBRA) beginning in March for dentists interested in implementing the strategies in their practice. Coursera: Caries Management by Risk Assessment (CAMBRA) will be led by John D.B. Featherstone, MSc, PhD, Professor and Dean, UCSF School of Dentistry, from March 31 to May 12 and will teach attendees to immediately apply “caries management by risk assessment” into their clinical setting or into their personal health care.
The January 2014 issue of the CDA Update includes information on what dentists need to know about the Affordable Care Act. Also in this issue are the patient numbers from CDA Cares San Diego and a complete photo spread from the program held at the Del Mar Fairgrounds on Dec. 7-8.
The January 2014 Journal of the California Dental Association is now available. This is the first of three Journal issues dedicated to interprofessional education (IPE) and practice. Health professional education has been traditionally delivered in isolated silos to the detriment of safety and quality care delivery. This month’s authors share their knowledge and experience of IPE and a multidisciplinary approach to health care practice.
The beginning of a new year is a good time to focus on getting patients back in the door through a patient recall effort. According to CDA Endorsed Program Intuit Demandforce, keeping existing patients coming back is almost 10 times less expensive than attracting new ones.
CDA’s legal action against Delta remains in the preliminary stages, with the parties awaiting appointment of an arbitrator. Delta has requested appointment of a three-arbitrator panel, which delayed the appointment process while the parties attempted to resolve the issue.
As of Jan. 1, 2014, many of the major reforms created by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) are in place. While the law is lengthy and has many complicated provisions, there are four basic concepts implemented by the law: providing private and public health insurance reforms and patient protections; allowing states to expand Medicaid coverage; requiring U.S. citizens to have health insurance coverage or pay a penalty; and creating marketplaces for health and pediatric dental insurance coverage.