Content Dam Diq Online Articles 2016 08 Money Changing Hands 1

Dentists are underpaid

Aug. 8, 2016
Dentists can avoid being underpaid if they learn how to bill medical insurance when the treatment qualifies.
You deserve more money. I’m not just saying that in a friendly “you work so hard” kind of way. I mean you are actually owed more money by patients and third-party payers.

Whenever you provide a certain service for a patient, there are a few things that can happen to interrupt your compensation. Some of the more frustrating obstacles are when a patient refuses to pay, the third-party payer refuses to pay, or your team doesn’t submit claims or bill patients in a timely fashion. But there’s another likely problem—you aren’t even coding correctly.

A fairly well known example is D4910 periodontal maintenance. After S/RP, patients who continue to battle periodontal disease should have their hygiene appointments billed as a D4910, not a D1110 prophylaxis. You and your hygienist are working hard to treat these folks and you deserve to be compensated more. Correctly coding these hygiene appointments can significantly increase revenue for a practice. This is just the tip of the coding iceberg.

You’ll become a coding expert if you join us at the upcoming DE’s Principles of Practice Management Conference September 23and 24. Bring a fresh pen and paper for Christine Taxin’s comprehensive workshop on the subject. We’ll also have Dr. Erin Elliott (who I interviewed in this month’s DE’s Recall Visit video) discuss medical codes for getting compensated by medical insurance for sleep apnea and implants. Finally, Dianne Glasscoe Watterson will motivate us to develop a solid hygiene department, a cornerstone of which is proper coding and billing.

Patients and third-party payers won’t let us know when we charge less than we should. It’s up to us to learn the rules of coding and get paid what we deserve.



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