Opening your dental office after the quarantine...
Talk about a hot topic. Oh my! We have heard so many different offers of advice. We decided to compile everything together for you here in one happy place.
Billing for PPE
Ok I have seen and read so many comments (negatively) about adding the cost of PPE and this is the cost of doing business. Please note, the suggestions about this are coming directly from the ADA and the understanding that dental offices are suffering dramatically with not only being closed but reopening with higher expenses than ever before.
First, the ADA has requested dentist increase the fees of procedures to include the added cost of PPE. Prior to such adjustments taking effect, dental offices may wish to use CDT code “D1999 - unspecified preventive procedure, by report” to document and report the use and cost of additional PPE. Dentists can use this code once per patient visit/claim to attempt to cover the cost of PPE.
Dentists should develop a standard office policy to document the additional PPE that will be used across all patients. This documentation methodology will justify a standard fee across all patients. Alternatively, dentists may wish to add a note in the patient’s record to document the details of PPE uniquely necessary for the visit when charging different fees based on the level of PPE used.
When adjudicating such claims, the ADA believes that it is inappropriate for any third party benefit program to unfairly place the cost burden on dentists by disallowing or bundling charges for PPE on the pretext that the payment for additional required PPE is included in the payment for any other procedure billed for the visit. Denied claims are typically billable to the patient. For Medicaid patients, please check with your state Medicaid agency.
Pre-Collecting Payments for PPO Patients (In + Out of network)
Due to the massive amount of people who were furloughed or are now unemployed there is a high probability that insurance plans are now termed. With that, many dental insurance companies were closed and have not updated the policies within their systems. So, it is advisable to dental office to pre-collect from everyone when possible. Not only is this a great best practice to implement but it will also help minimize contact with patients when they are in the office.
Remote admin support
Many of employees will be scared about working in the office. Remote support is a huge component to the continued success of your office. If your team is not willing to come back to work right now, allow them an option from home but closely monitor their activity to ensure productivity is still achievable.
Teledentistry has been a massive part of our business especially in the last 8 weeks. However, we are here to encourage you to keep the process going. Offer this element of services for patients who are skittish about coming into the office right now. If you need help getting this started, we have several blogs on this very topic and are happy to answer any questions (free of charge of course).
Organizing the schedule
Your schedule looks different now; less hygiene schedules, one patient per hour, screening patients upon entry and so much more. Take time to develop a plan that works for everyone. Here is a quick list of things to get in place as soon as possible.
Send a mass email, text and social media campaign informing your patients things will look different. Those different things can be payment processing, scheduling, confirming, entry into the office and availability of the schedule.
When sending emails and communications, do not bombard them with all of the information in one email. Keep the first communication (informational) and let them know more is to come. This will keep them open to reviewing the next communication you send.
Do not call patients and verbally inform them of changes. It is WAY TOO MUCH to say over the phone and your team will be bombarded with questions they cannot answer. Utilize text, email and social media when ever possible.
Pre-collect for all visits to reduce contact with the patients.
Make sure all patient forms can be completed digitally.
Set up your confirmation screening of patients and set expectations with them what it will look like when they arrive.
Communicate about the PPE fees and let them know insurances will be billed when possible.
Check dental insurance eligibility before the appointment and the day of the appointment.
Cheers to the mass re-open of dental offices. We are rooting for you every step of the way.
All my very best,