Dental Patients on the Move

Dental Patients on the Move

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By Laurie Owens, CPB, CPC, COC
Devdent Director of Medical Billing Education

I hate to move.  I hate packing up the house, getting rid of memories, and basically closing one chapter of your life for another volume.  Staying in the familiar trusted location is where I like to be. It could be why I lived in the same house almost 20 years.  While thinking about my dislike of moving, I reflected on our patients.  I thought about how dental practices are seeing a decrease in case acceptance without asking the important question…why?  Why are we sending dental patients on the move?  Here are three reasons I believe this is happening. 

Dental patients are on the move.

1) We do not connect the dots.   

Many dental patients with large treatment plans have medical issues that have not been addressed in dentistry.  Instead, you are only looking at getting the production on your books and not asking the right questions.  If you have a patient requiring multiple caries, crowns, scaling, implants, etc., etc., you MUST ask QUESTIONS! 

Stay away from yes or no questions and request your dental patient to describe it.  As in, “You recently started taking Metformin for your type II Diabetes. Tell me about how this affected you.”  With knowledge comes power, in this case, the power to be your patient’s advocate to bill medical for their treatment.

Ask questions to connect the dots.

2) We refuse to look at medical billing for dentistry.

There are patients finding us (Devdent) on YouTube.com and begging for us to refer them to a dentist that will try and bill their medical insurance. Yet, dental providers are afraid of exploring medical billing and not willing to send their staff (and themselves) for the education that would give them the confidence to help.  When you cannot provide this alternative…your dental patient’s will be on the move!

We have two-day courses and on-site training that will get the doctor and team on the same page to move forward in helping your patients.

Look at medical billing for dentistry.

3) We tell dental patients to brush and floss more. 

I hate to break it to you, but if you have a patient with severe Xerostomia, they could brush and floss five times a day and still need caries removal and crowns. Patients take your words as gospel. Even if they told you their brushing habits, they believe you would tell them that, they cannot be brushing as they say.  You have blinded yourself to the correlation of what is going on with the condition of the oral cavity.  What if you could tell them the problem is NOT that they are neglecting the oral cavity.  What if you explain that a medication or medical condition has created this Xerostomia dilemma?  What a hero you would be!  Because dental providers get blinded by only thinking dental coverage, those dental patients are on the move.

While we gripe and complain about patients seeking another provider that is “cheaper” we’re ignoring the probabilities and possibilities of their case.  Then we start to “coupon” our services.  This tells our current dental patients that our services are not “really worth” what we are charging them.  Find your value and worth by training your team on medical billing for dentistry and dental sleep medicine by registering for a course TODAY. Doing it tomorrow may be too late!

Brushing and flossing more may not be the complete answer.

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Laurie Owens

Director of Medical Billing Education
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