Dentist blog from Delta Dental

Category: News (Page 1 of 7)

Stay up to date on the latest news from Delta Dental.

Return to Care supplemental reimbursement program extended

To help you continue to provide care to your patients during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we’re extending the Return to Care supplemental reimbursement program through October 20, 2020.

As a network dentist, you’ll receive a $10 supplemental reimbursement for performing qualifying evaluation or consultation codes. In June, you received notification about this program. We’ve now extended the original end date of September 20 to October 20 to offer you additional support during this difficult time.

Am I eligible?

To receive the Return to Care reimbursement, you must participate in one of the following networks and treat an eligible patient covered by one of these Delta Dental plans:

  • DeltaCare® USA
  • Delta Dental PPO™ and DPO in Texas (see applicable Delta Dental companies below)
  • Delta Dental Premier® (see applicable Delta Dental companies below)
  • Delta Dental Federal (Legion), Medicare Advantage

Applicable Delta Dental companies include Delta Dental of California, Delta Dental Insurance Company, Delta Dental of Pennsylvania, Delta Dental of the District of Columbia, Delta Dental of Delaware, Inc., Delta Dental of West Virginia, Inc. and Delta Dental of New York, Inc.

The Medi-Cal Dental, CDPHP (NY Medicaid) and HSCSN (Washington, D.C. Medicaid) networks aren’t eligible for this reimbursement.

How do I receive the reimbursement?

If you’re a DeltaCare USA dentist with a capitation agreement, simply submit your DeltaCare USA encounter form when you treat a DeltaCare USA enrollee. We’ll add $10 to the encounter fee during processing.

If you’re a dentist in another network, or a DeltaCare USA dentist without a capitation agreement, we’ll reimburse you when you submit a claim for any of these evaluation or consultation codes:

  • D0120
  • D0140
  • D0145
  • D0150
  • D0160
  • D0170
  • D0180
  • D0190
  • D0191
  • D8660
  • D9310
  • D9430

Please submit your usual office fee, not your contracted fee. Charges for sterilization or infection control aren’t billable under Delta Dental plans and can’t be charged to the patient.

Can I use procedure code D1999 to charge a separate fee for personal protective equipment (PPE)?

No. You can’t submit code D1999 to receive reimbursement. Personal protective equipment is considered part of the delivery of care. It’s not separately billable and can’t be charged to the patient.

What if I don’t perform an evaluation or consultation at every visit? Can I receive the reimbursement for other submitted procedure codes?

No. Only the 12 qualifying CDT codes are eligible for the supplemental reimbursement.

Will frequency limitations still apply for evaluation and consultation codes?

Yes. Specific plan benefits and frequency limitations will apply. If a patient exceeds the frequency limitation or has exceeded the plan maximum for one of the qualifying CDT codes, the patient will be responsible for the allowed amount, which will include the temporary supplemental reimbursement.

I still have questions. How do I get more information?

If you’re a DeltaCare USA, PPO or Premier dentist, email your questions to If you participate in Federal Programs (Legion), email

New loan options now available through Delta Dental and Lendeavor

A special loan program for network dentists has been expanded to offer you even more options.

The program, available in partnership with Lendeavor, now includes loans that you can use to acquire, refinance, expand or equip a practice. Also available are loans to acquire or refinance commercial real estate for a practice.

Delta Dental will cover the first 12 months of your loan’s interest, and Lendeavor will cover an additional month of interest.

To accommodate these new options, the program’s funding has been increased to $300 million. This program expires on December 31, 2020 or when funds run out. Terms and conditions apply. To find out more, visit the application page.

Processing policy changes in response to COVID-19

To help keep you and your patients safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, we are implementing temporary changes to our processing policy. These changes allow you more options to reduce the spread of infection in your dental practice.

These modifications will be in place until November 30, 2020.

Exceptions for periodontal scaling and root planing (SRP)

Delta Dental’s current policy is that no more than two quadrants of scaling and root planing are benefited on the same date of service in the absence of supporting documentation.

Effective immediately, Delta Dental will consider concerns regarding exposure to COVID-19 as a valid clinical reason to perform more than two quadrants of scaling and root planing on the same date of service.

As always, radiographs and a copy of the patient treatment record (clinical progress notes) are required if more than two quadrants of scaling and root planing are performed on the same date of service.   

Radiographic images for restorative procedures

Radiographic images are required when submitting for crowns, fixed partial dentures and scaling and root planing. Periapical radiographic images depicting the apex are preferable when submitting for crowns and fixed partial dentures.

To avoid the need for additional visits and limit staff and patient exposure, Delta Dental will accept diagnostic panoramic images when submitting for these services.  

Periodontal chart

A periodontal chart is necessary for scaling and root planing and periodontal surgery procedures. Under Delta Dental’s clinical guidelines, a current periodontal chart is one that is taken no more than 12 months prior to the date of service.

To reduce the need for staff exposure and additional appointments, Delta Dental will now accept a periodontal chart that is taken no more than 15 months prior to the date of service.

Dentist spotlight: Dr. Sheri Watson-Hamilton

Meet Dr. Sheri Watson-Hamilton, DMD, our Dental Health Partner of the Month. Dr. Watson-Hamilton is passionate about dental health and provides care to uninsured and underserved patients.

Based in South Florida, Dr. Watson-Hamilton works at the Martin Luther King Jr. Clinica Campesina Health Center. This full-service facility provides dental care alongside urgent care, primary care and more. It’s part of the nonprofit health care organization Community Health of South Florida, Inc., or CHI, which offers affordable, quality health care services to local residents.

Why did you decide to become a dentist?

I’ve always wanted to practice in the medical field. As a child I would always ask anyone I was close to, “Let me see your teeth!”

What really helped me decide on dentistry was when I volunteered at a dental office during undergrad. I saw how a patient would come in with pain and receive immediate relief. Patients would come in with self-esteem issues and once their teeth were restored, they’d leave the office smiling confidently — no longer hiding their teeth.

How long have you been practicing?

For 24 years.

Tell us one of your funniest stories from the dental office.

During one of my appointments, I had a set of twins as patients. One was a really great patient — the other was really dramatic. At one of the visits, the dramatic twin was hesitant about the visit, as always. Once the anesthesia was placed, she looked up at me and said, “If you do that again, I’m gonna call 991!” — meaning 911.

What do you consider dentistry’s biggest challenge?

Getting patients to value their teeth and their smile.

What do you do in your free time?

I enjoy spending my free time with my immediate family.

Congratulations, Dr. Sheri Watson-Hamilton! Thank you for your work.

You can find out more about Dr. Sheri Watson-Hamilton and CHI by visiting the CHI website or following the organization on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube.

Dentists seen as indicator of economy’s health

As dentists go, so goes the economy. This according to a recent New York Times article, which describes dentists as “the perfect barometer” for the economy’s health during the coronavirus pandemic.

And the good news is that there’s cause for optimism.

Why dentists? According to some economists, dental practices are an ideal business model: The practices tend to be long lived, their dentists earn consistently high salaries, and the services they provide can’t be found elsewhere. If you need dental care, you need a dentist.

This stability makes dental practices a good indicator of how well — or if — the nation is rebounding from the ongoing pandemic. And so far, the signs are positive.

Initially among the hardest hit industries within the healthcare sector, the dental industry is staging a strong recovery. Almost 90% of dental practices are paying their employees fully as of the week of July 13, according to data from an American Dental Association (ADA) Health Policy Institute survey. That’s up from only 11% during the first week of April.

This rebound equates to 250,000 jobs gained — which is 10% of the jobs added to the entire U.S. economy — according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data.

While this is encouraging, the recovery is not complete. Employment with the industry is still down 30%, with almost 300,000 fewer people employed than were before the pandemic.

Perhaps more telling is patient volume. The Times article reports that patient volumes are currently half of what they were before the pandemic. And, fewer than half of practices report having patient volumes greater than 75% of their typical volume, according to the ADA survey for the week of July 13. So while you and your staff might be ready to return to work, your patients might be a bit more reluctant.

Still, patients are returning. For instance, in mid-April more than 85% of practices reported that their practice volumes were less than 5% of what they usually were. The current figures then, while down from pre-pandemic numbers, are a significant improvement and more importantly, part of a consistent upward trend.

Collections, too, are trending up. While in mid-April more than three-quarters of practices reported their volume of collections at less than 5% of normal, the most recent survey data reveals that more than 80% of practices have at least half of their usual collection volume, and more than half of those practices have more than 75%.

So while there are still significant challenges to overcome, the overall news is good. This data suggests not only a positive outlook for the American economy, but a particularly strong comeback for the dental industry.

Exclusive offers on teledentistry tools

To offer you additional teledentistry support, we’ve evaluated the following HIPAA-compliant tools to help you see patients virtually. We’ve also negotiated free trial periods and discounts to smooth any transitions.

  • CareStack offers a complete virtual care management software, allowing you to manage online scheduling, telehealth consultations and patient payments. Start for free and grow your practice.
  • TeleDent by MouthWatch includes advanced video consults, clinical messaging and an intuitive patient portal. Effortlessly organize patients, exams, teams and tasks.
  • Simplifeye offers 24/7 live chat, scheduling, telehealth and payments. Collect consent and seamlessly issue invoices by text and email. Implement your “virtual front desk” overnight for a contact-free, modern solution.
  • MyTeleDentist allows you to see more patients and treat more cases in less time, virtually. Schedule, e‑prescribe and attract new patients.
  • Teledentix is an all-inclusive teledentistry solution, allowing you to manage virtual appointments, educational resources, referrals, case presentations, prescriptions, patient forms and much more.
  • Toothpic’s easy-to-use, asynchronous system offers high-resolution imagery for patient assessments at your convenience, in five to ten minutes. Connect, triage and follow up with patients.

These offers are good through September 30, 2020, though the products will still be available after.

As a reminder, Delta Dental accepts teledentistry claims for covered services.

These provided links to other sites and other companies, including links to third party companies offering teledentistry products and services, or any other links, documents, changes or updates within these linked sites are provided only as a convenience and are not under Delta Dental’s control. Such external links are not investigated, monitored, or checked for accuracy, adequacy, validity, reliability, availability or completeness by Delta Dental. These links have been listed in no particular order of preference but simply in company name alphabetical order. Delta Dental does not warrant, endorse, guarantee, or assume responsibility for the accuracy or reliability of any information offered by these third-party companies offering teledentistry products and services, including on their websites linked in this email. Delta Dental has received no compensation for including these links and information in this email, and Delta Dental will not be a party to or in any way be responsible for any transaction between you and these third-party companies offering teledentistry products and services.

For more information, please visit our Legal Notices page.

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