Free lectures cover HIPAA compliance, patient dismissal

Something is always happening at The Spot Educational Theater at CDA Presents The Art and Science of Dentistry. In addition to offering convention attendees a place to sit and rest their feet, charge their phones and catch up on activity at the Social Hub, The Spot hosts free one-hour lectures every hour on the hour beginning at 9 a.m., with the last lecture at 4 p.m. Thursday and Friday and at noon Saturday.

In all, The Spot will host 20 lectures over the course of the convention. Speaking will be experts from CDA Practice Support, TDIC and The Dentists Service Company, CDA’s newest subsidiary, which officially launched its services to members in June. Outside experts will also present. Beyond the four lectures highlighted here, attendees can expect to find coverage on everything from appealing payment disputes to managing patient conflicts and from using best practices in online marketing to navigating Denti-Cal — with Nirmala J. Prabhu, DMD, managing dental consultant for Delta Dental, providing a “top 10” need-to-know.

Patient dismissal etiquette

Dismissing a patient from the practice can be an uncomfortable necessity. But failing to follow the proper protocol can leave practice owners open to allegations of abandonment.

In “Dismissing a Patient: When Is it OK?” TDIC Senior Risk Management Analyst Carla Christensen will provide attendees with information and tools to:

  • Identify patients who display red flags and qualify for dismissal.
  • Recognize when and how to dismiss patients without placing them at risk.
  • Minimize allegations of patient abandonment.

 The presentation will offer case examples and discuss the types of dismissal, the use of dismissal letters — when and who to send them to and what to say in them — and, if time permits, will provide a bonus discussion on how to decline a prospective new patient in a professional, courteous way.

The Dentists Insurance Company advises member dentists and their staff daily about the importance of patient follow through and documentation — not only as a means of defense, but as a way to add efficiencies to their practices and possibly increase production.

“My mantra is this: It’s not the quantity of patients you have in your practice, it’s the quality,” Christensen says. “Ten patients who adhere to treatment recommendations, keep appointments and pay on time are less effort and aggravation than 50 patients who fail to meet even one of those conditions.”

“Dismissing a Patient: When Is it OK?” will take place 11 a.m. to noon Thursday, Aug. 24.

HIPAA compliance — the essentials

Teresa Pichay fields questions from members via the popular “Ask an Expert” feature on the CDA Practice Support website (cda.org/practicesupport). As CDA’s regulatory compliance practice analyst, Pichay advices dentists on occupational and environmental safety and health, waste management, licensure and other regulatory compliance issues. Pichay will address HIPAA compliance in her Thursday afternoon presentation.

“Information security is not just about HIPAA compliance,” Pichay says. “During these times, it’s essential for keeping your business up and running.”

Specifically, Pichay will demonstrate how to complete a risk analysis and discuss the importance of the analysis to HIPAA compliance. Attendees also will leave with an understanding of other HIPAA rules such as providing patients access to records and when to send unencrypted email containing patient information.

“Ask the Expert: HIPAA Compliance Essentials” is scheduled for 4–5 p.m., Aug. 24, and offers 1 unit of C.E.

Consumer choice and commitment

“Beyond having high expectations, today’s dental patient is a connected consumer with choices — and competing priorities,” says Ashlee Adams, strategic counselor at TDSC.

Attracting and retaining that patient and, as Adams puts it, getting the patient to ‘yes,’ means
committing the practice to a daily strategy that begins with a well-prepared dental team and ends with patient follow-up. In between are the equally critical practices such as listening to patients, building trust and maximizing benefits and financial flexibility. Adams will go into detail about each of these elements in his Friday afternoon lecture.

“Building the patient’s trust requires a coordinated and confident handoff of the patient from the time of check-in all the way through receiving the patient’s financial commitment and scheduling of treatment,” says Adams, who offers a script for the treatment coordinator and tips for making financial arrangements. “Providing a visual treatment plan for discussion is ideal,” he says. 

“Case Presentation — Getting Your Patients to Yes” will take place 3–4 p.m. Friday, Aug. 25, and offers 1 unit of C.E.

Quality and profitability in hygiene

A 2009-10 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey found that 47.2 percent of adults under age 65 in the U.S. have periodontitis. For adults over age 65, the percentage is even higher.

“Hygiene production goals should reflect these statistical realities,” says Michael Perry, DDS, strategic counselor at TDSC.

Perry’s Saturday morning presentation will examine the prevalence of periodontitis and how periodontitis impacts whole body health. Attendees will learn how to improve clinical alignment across the team in both diagnosis and treatment planning and hear a case presentation for active periodontal therapy.

“Quality and profitability in your hygiene department will stem in part from establishing this clinical alignment and being effective at case presentation,” Perry says.

“Quality and Profitability in Your Hygiene Department” will take place 9–10 a.m., Saturday, Aug. 26. Perry will also present his popular lecture “Dental Insurance: What’s Going on out There?” at 9 a.m. Friday, Aug. 25.

CDA Presents San Francisco attendees can find The Spot on level 2 of Moscone West, outside the exhibit hall. Many presentations at The Spot offer 1 unit of C.E. as indicated in the CDA Presents Program. However, unlike with other courses at CDA Presents, codes will not be provided by hosts at the end of Spot lectures and attendees need not scan out to receive C.E. credit.

See the complete list of presentations in the CDA Presents Program. PDF and ePub versions are available at cdapresents.com/sf2017.

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Dentists prescribe approximately 11 percent of prescription opioids annually in the U.S. With this in mind, CDA Public Affairs is sponsoring a course to be held at CDA Presents The Art and Science of Dentistry in San Francisco this August that will help dental professionals understand their role in drug diversion programs, including the use of California’s prescription drug monitoring program known as CURES.

It demonstrates airway and breathing complications, comes with a host of cardiac and circulation features, offers IV and intraosseous access, can respond to medical interventions — from nasotracheal intubation to surgical cricothyrotomy — and it talks back and is completely wireless. It’s the SimMan — and this August at CDA Presents The Art and Science of Dentistry in San Francisco, the dentist and entire dental team will have an opportunity to train with the high-fidelity simulation mannequin.

CDA’s newest subsidiary, The Dentists Service Company, officially launched its services to CDA members this month. TDSC was established to support dentists with the business side of dentistry, specializing in practice management advising and group purchasing services. “We are thrilled that TDSC services are now available to our members,” said CDA President Clelan Ehrler, DDS, MS.