Dental benefits education pays off for practices

In March 2014, CDA piloted the Dental Benefits Workshop, a two-day program for dentists that provided the necessary tools and insight into the challenging world of dental benefit plans. In attendance were 40 dentists who were hand-selected to participate in the pilot program based on several criteria, including number of years in practice, current participation level with dental benefit plans, practice demographics, etc.
A six-month post-workshop survey of the March 2014 workshop attendees yielded the following information:

  • Improved understanding of dental benefits: Prior to attending the workshop, 72 percent of participants self-rated their dental benefits knowledge level at six out of 10 or below. While 100 percent of the six-month post-workshop survey respondents rated their knowledge level as a 7 or higher.
  • Increased staff dental benefits instruction: Since attending the workshop, most of the respondents (72 percent) implemented some form of dental benefit instruction for their staff. Pre-workshop surveys indicated that staff instruction on dental benefits was mostly on-the-job, trial-and-error training.
  • Increased evaluation of plan contracts: Since attending the workshop, just under half of the respondents (44 percent) are currently assessing dental plan contracts within their practice. More than 6 percent indicated they are reducing the number of plans, and an equal 6 percent have increased their plan participation.
  • Increased billing fraud awareness: More than 38 percent of respondents indicated that they have implemented a checks-and-balances system in their practice to prevent billing fraud.
  • Increased electronic claim submissions: 10 percent of respondents began submitting electronic claims since the workshop and 79 percent have increased their electronic claims submissions.
  • Decreased claim denials: Just over a quarter of respondents (26 percent) indicated that claim denials have decreased since attending the workshop.
  • Improved patient communication: 79 percent of respondents have implemented an educational plan to communicate with their patients regarding dental benefits.
  • Dental plan operational knowledge increased: Respondents indicated an intermediate (72 percent) or advanced (28 percent) knowledge of how dental plans operate since attending the workshop.

Educational opportunities for 2015

Due to the amount of continued interest and member demand for more education in the dental benefits arena, CDA is offering two Dental Benefit Workshops in 2015.

The first workshop will be held April 16-17 at the CDA headquarters in Sacramento. The second workshop will be held in Orange County at the Atrium Hotel on Oct. 22-23. Registration is now open and is limited to 50 dental offices per workshop location. The workshop fee of $495 includes registration of one dentist (required) and one nondentist staff person to attend the workshop, along with continental breakfast and lunch provided for both days of the workshop. Workshop attendees are responsible for their own travel and accommodation expenses. The workshop has been approved for 12 core continuing education units.

In addition to the two-day, in-person workshop, registrants are expected to participate in a two-hour webinar that provides foundational dental benefits knowledge in preparation for the workshop. Participation in the webinar is exclusive to the workshop registrants and will include two hours units of core continuing education credit.

Featured speakers for the 2015 workshops include the following:

  • Charles Stewart, DMD, dental director of Aetna’s western dental territory;
  • C. Michael Kendall, associate general counsel of the American Dental Association;
  • Scott Wellwood, president of CDA Endorsed Program DentalXchange;
  • Gary Dougan, DDS, MPH, national dental director of Liberty Dental Plan; and
  • Michael Perry, DDS, director of CDA Practice Advising.

For additional information or to register for the 2015 Dental Benefits Workshops visit the workshop webpage at cda.org/dbw.