Tip of the Week Archive

Did you know that dental benefit contracts can and do change frequently? 07.08.19

Under California law, dental benefit plans can change their agreements, rules and procedures as long as they notify the contracted provider 45 days in advance of the change. Dentists should read all notifications from plans in a timely manner and if action is required on the dentist’s part, the dentists should take action by the plans’ stated deadline to avoid issues and negative consequences. For more information, please refer to the article on page 2 of the February 2018 CDA Update, Dental plan correspondence — it’s not all junk mail.  

Inventory controlled substances 07.01.19

Prescribers who dispense controlled substances must maintain a three-year log and inventory their supply at least once every two years. The inventory record must be written, typewritten, or in printed form and be maintained for at least two years. Each inventory must contain specific information.  

Distribute holiday schedules annually 06.24.19

As a best practice, employers should annually review and distribute the practices holiday schedule, as some holidays fall on days the office is closed. This practice will help to clarify in advance which holidays will be observed and if employees will be paid during these closures.  

Teledentistry 06.17.19

“Telehealth” is the mode of delivering health care services and public health via information and communication technologies to facilitate the diagnosis, consultation, treatment, education, care management and self-management of a patient’s health care while the patient is at the originating site and the health care provider is at a distant site.  

The Patient Experience 06.10.19

Your new patient’s experience starts before they even step foot in your office, and continues until they walk back out of out the front door. See what your patient sees by completing the Office Environment Evaluation.  

Authorization not always required when releasing patient information to agencies conducting official business 06.03.19

Law enforcement, public health departments and county coroners are agencies that may request patient information in the course of conducting official business. Patient authorization to release the minimum necessary information is not required in many instances and a dental practice may require an agency to submit its request and rationale on official stationery. Dental practice personnel are not limited in releasing information in cases of mandated reporting or reporting a crime.  

Have you reviewed and updated your employee manual this year 05.27.19

Review and update your employee manual annually. Employment law changes rapidly and employers are required to stay compliant with laws and regulations. CDA Practice Support offers a Sample Employee Manual template to use as a resource for maintaining your employee manual.  

Thinking of contracting with a dental benefit plan? 05.20.19

A dental benefit plan contract is not just about fees. In fact did you know the dental benefit contract is a legal binding agreement. A plan’s contract binds the dentist to follow that plan’s policies and procedures, which can change the way a dentist is accustomed to doing dentistry. Analyzing and reviewing a contract prior to signing it can save you considerable time and frustration. For more information, please refer to the article on page 2 of the April 2018 CDA Update, Dental benefit contracting: It’s not all about the fees.  

Record retention 05.13.19

You know you are required to keep patient records, but you may not know that you are also required to keep job descriptions, patient EOBs, sharps injury logs and dozens of other items. Each with their own timeline. Review Records and Documents Retention Guidelines to make sure you are in compliance.  

Know rules for providing patients with copy of their records 05.06.19

A dental practice has 15 calendar days to provide requested copies of patient records to a patient. Charges for providing a patient with access to his or her record must be reasonable and not exceed actual copying costs. Failure to provide a patient with requested records may be a violation of HIPAA and state law.  

Claim delayed by plans clinical/professional review? 04.29.19

Benefit plans are required by their regulators to have fraud detection programs in place to assure that claims for care are needed care. Today these efforts rely on analytic software to evaluate patterns of utilization amongst peers. If you receive notice from the plan that more information is needed to process your claim than would be normally required, follow their instructions carefully to avoid payment delay. Remember that just because a plan doesn’t typically ask for upfront documentation for processing purposes, it does not mean that the standard of care guidelines should not be documented in the patient record. For more information on dental plan audits, please refer to

Dental Benefit Plan Handbook Chapter 11 - Understanding Dental Benefit Plan Audits.  

Notify agencies when changing address 04.22.19

A dentist changing an address must notify the Dental Board and the DEA, if in possession of a DEA registration, using the forms on their respective websites. A dentist employer who changes address must notify or re-register with the following agencies:
• Local enforcement agencies for medical waste, hazardous waste and wastewater
• Local business licensing agency, Board of Equalization, Employment Development Department
• California Department of Public Health, for any x-ray equipment, including hand-held units
• Cal/OSHA Pressure Vessel unit
Check our Regulatory Compliance Checklist for more information.  

Practice schedules must ensure employees ability to take rest and meal breaks 04.15.19

Employers must create a daily schedule that provides employees the ability to take two 10-minute uninterrupted rest breaks and a timely 30-minute uninterrupted meal break. Review Wage Order 4-2001 for details of the law.  

Re-credentialing with benefit plans 04.08.19

Benefit plans conduct re-credentialing at regular intervals after a provider has been contracted with their benefit plan. The re-credentialing process is time sensitive and should not be ignored. Failure to comply with a re-credentialing request could result in termination from the plan and could require re-contracting. When the benefit plan notifies a provider of the need to re-credential, follow their instruction closely and make sure you meet their compliance date. Be sure to follow up to guarantee that the information was received before the due date.  

Internal Marketing 04.01.19

One of your most effective marketing sources is your existing patient base. Use this to your advantage! When a patient is praising the great work you have done, ask if they would be ok with you sharing their testimonial. Use our Sample Patient Photograph Authorization Form and Sample Patient Testimonial Authorization Form to ensure compliance with all applicable privacy laws.  
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