Ensuring that patients understand their financial responsibility for treatment, including treatment that is not covered under their dental benefits plan, can help safeguard their overall satisfaction with your practice.
A good way to accomplish “informed consent” (as required under your Delta Dental participation agreement) is with a thorough discussion about treatment, alternatives and costs, along with a form or other documentation that includes the same information and the patient’s written acknowledgement of the discussion. Points to discuss and document include:
- The agreed-upon course of treatment and specific non-covered services
- The patient’s acknowledgement of non-covered services and personal responsibility for the cost
- Risks and advantages of proposed and alternative treatment
- Costs for necessary subsequent treatment, such as a crown after endodontic therapy
In addition, we strongly recommend that you submit a pre-treatment estimate before providing any non-covered services (or any expensive and/or extensive services). Though not usually required, a pre-treatment estimate has several advantages, including further helping patients understand their benefits and financial obligations.
Much of this information is covered in your Dentist Handbook, which is updated periodically. Be sure to review it regularly by logging in and using the Reference Library.