Dentist blog from Delta Dental

Category: Practice success (Page 1 of 4)

Whether you’re a practice owner or an office manager, you’ll find strategies you can implement to keep your practice thriving.

Get to know Medicare Advantage

Every day for the next decade, about 10,000 Americans will turn 65. It’s estimated that by 2030, approximately 18% of the nation’s population will be 65 or older.

This means that every single day, more and more people become eligible for insurance coverage through Medicare and can purchase supplemental Medicare Advantage dental plans through approved vendors like Delta Dental. If you want your practice to serve this growing population of patients, joining Delta Dental’s Medicare Advantage network is the perfect place to start.

Why should you join Delta Dental’s Medicare Advantage network?

Joining Delta Dental’s Medicare Advantage network can provide a substantial boost to both attracting and keeping patients:

  • Enrollment in Medicare Advantage has more than doubled over the past decade, and enrollment continues to increase by as much as 9% a year.
  • Most Medicare Advantage groups offer a closed-panel benefit package. This means patients covered under these plans must see a dentist contracted in the Medicare Advantage network.
  • When you join our network, you’ll appear in our online Medicare Advantage directory, which can help new patients find you.
  • Being part of Delta Dental’s Medicare Advantage network can help you keep your existing patients as they reach age 65 and become eligible for Medicare.

What if you’ve already opted out of participation in Medicare?

You can still join our Medicare Advantage network.

Rules that prohibit payment to providers who have opted out of participation in Medicare don’t apply to supplemental benefits like dental, according to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). The policy became effective on January 1, 2022. Even if you’ve opted out of Medicare through CMS, you can still join the Delta Dental Medicare network and provide services to our Medicare Advantage members.

What about non-covered services?

If you’re contracted with Medicare Advantage networks, you can charge Medicare Advantage patients for any non-covered service. Members must simply give informed consent so they are aware of any out-of-pocket costs.

How do you join Delta Dental’s Medicare Advantage networks?

If you’re interested in joining, all you need to do is send us an email.

Email for the DHMO Medicare Advantage network and for the PPO Medicare Advantage network. We’ll email you an application.

Coming soon: Continuing education courses for Delta Dental dentists

Staying up to date on new trends and techniques in dentistry is essential for dental professionals. That’s why we’re partnering with dental schools across the country to offer continuing education courses to Delta Dental dentists at a discount.

You’ll earn continuing education credits that can help you meet licensure requirements, improve your clinical skills and provide optimum care for your patients.

What courses will be available?

Here’s a quick look at the courses that will be available this fall. Our course list is continuously growing, with new courses coming soon.

DateSchoolCourse titleStateCredits
10/7/2022University of Pittsburgh School of Dental MedicineDigital Dentistry: The Engine that Supercharges Practice GrowthPA6
10/14/2022University of Alabama at Birmingham School of DentistryIntegrative Dental Medicine: The Next Great FrontierAL6
10/15/2022University of California San Francisco School of DentistryPeriodontics and Oral MedicineCA6
10/28/2022The Dental College of Georgia at Augusta UniversityGeneral Dentistry & Problem SolvingGA6
10/29/2022Nova Southeastern University College of Dental MedicineUsing Risk Assessment for Treatment Planning in DentistryFL6
Nov. 2022Columbia University, College of Dental MedicineManagement of Special Needs Patients and Pediatric Dental TraumaNY6

While most courses are planned for in-person sessions, this is subject to change depending on the public health situation, and virtual offerings may also be available.

Who’s eligible to sign up?

These courses are available to all dental professionals, but as a Delta Dental network dentist, you can enjoy a special discount when you enroll.

How can I sign up?

Registration will be available through the hosting school. Enrollment isn’t yet open, but details will be coming soon.

To stay in the loop, subscribe to FYI for monthly updates in your inbox, attend an upcoming webinar for more info and bookmark the training and events page, where flyers with more details will be posted over the next few weeks. We’ll also send out targeted emails by state to let you know about the upcoming courses in your area.

Let direct deposit work for you

Getting paid is a breeze when you take advantage of direct deposit from Delta Dental. You’ll get fast payments, safe document storage and more.

How does direct deposit work?

Getting paid electronically is simple. Once you enroll, Delta Dental electronically deposits claim payments into your bank account. Whenever a new payment has been deposited, you’ll receive an email notice from Delta Dental. We’ll also electronically send your claim payment details to your account.

Why use direct deposit?

Direct deposit is:

  • Easy. Simply enroll online to get started.
  • Fast. Payments are deposited more quickly into your bank account than with mailed checks, making funds available sooner.
  • Eco-friendly. Direct deposits cut down on the need for mailed checks and other paperwork, as well as reducing the need for bank visits.
  • Convenient. Your electronic remittance advice and pre-treatment estimates are viewable online, and they’re printable whenever you choose, reducing clutter.
  • Safe. With direct deposit, information about your claims and payments is safely stored and viewable for you online. Avoid the headache and hassle of lost, delayed or stolen paper checks.

How do I enroll?

Log in to Provider Tools and select EFT and ERA. (Electronic funds transfer (EFT) transmits funds for claims payments directly into your bank account. Electronic remittance advice (ERA) is an electronic version of the explanation of benefits (EOB) for claims payments.)

To fill out the online form for direct deposit, you will need to provide:

  • Your contact information, including your name, address, email address, contact name and phone number.
  • Your Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN). Note: If you have more than one practice location under a TIN, you’ll need to enroll separately for each location.
  • Your National Provider Identifier (NPI). Under federal HIPAA provisions, direct deposit is a transaction that requires an NPI.
  • Your bank/financial institution information, including your routing number and the account type and number (make sure your bank is a member of the Automated Clearinghouse Association – ACH).
  • Bank information confirmation, such as a copy of a voided check or a bank letter that verifies the bank routing number and account number.

Allow 15 business days for your request to be processed. You can make changes to your account information at any time, or even cancel your EFT enrollment, by using the EFT and ERA tool in Provider Tools.

Can I enroll in direct deposit with all Delta Dental companies at once?

Yes. As you fill out the direct deposit enrollment form, you’ll see a section titled Delta Dental Member Company Data Sharing Authorization for EFT. To enroll for direct deposit with all Delta Dental companies at once, simply select Opt in to National Sharing.

How often will I receive electronic payments?

Payment frequency depends on your claim activity. Delta Dental issues payments at least once a week. For the fastest claims processing, submit free real-time claims using the Submit Claim or My Patients tools. Claims are often processed within moments.

How will I receive claim payment statements (explanation of benefits/EOBs)?

Delta Dental sends details for each payment to My Documents, which is easily accessible by logging in to your account and selecting My Claim Documents. You can view all the payment details right there in your account, or you can choose to download and save them elsewhere and/or print them.

Where can I get more information?

Visit Provider Tools for additional information, videos and live webinar schedules that can help simplify reimbursements and many other aspects of your practice.

Online claim disputes are available through Provider Tools

Disputing a claim should be as easy as possible. Now instead of dealing with a complicated process, you can submit and track claim disputes online directly from your Provider Tools account. Here’s what you need to know to get started.

Claim disputes begin with claim adjustments

Before filing a dispute, you need to file a claim adjustment first. Filing an adjustment gives us the opportunity to review and correct any errors in a claim as quickly as possible. All claims submitted within the last 90 days are eligible for adjustment review, regardless of how they were submitted.

Claim adjustments can also be filed online. First, you’ll need a Provider Tools account. If you don’t already have one, it’s easy to register. Just follow the three-step process outlined on the registration page.

An adjustment didn’t solve my issue. How do I dispute a claim?

When adjustments don’t solve your issue, opening a dispute is the next step. Just log into Provider Tools then follow these steps.

  1. On the Provider Tools landing page, select My claims. This section will display all the claims you’ve submitted, regardless of the method you used to submit them.
  1. Search for a claim. You can search your patient’s name or the claim ID. Once you’ve entered the information, click Search claims.
  1. View a claim. Just click on the claim ID to view the claim.
  1. Choose a contact email address. You can choose from your practice’s email address or the email address used to create your Provider Tools account, or select Other to enter a new email address.
  1. Begin the dispute process. You’ll need to scroll to the bottom of the claim page and click the Dispute the decision link. Please note that claim disputes will only be accepted after a claim adjustment has been processed.
  1. Describe why you’re disputing the claim. After you begin the process, you’ll be directed to the claim dispute form. Here you can enter your reason for disputing the claim and attach any supporting documents.
  1. Click Submit and you’re done! Once your submission is complete, you’ll see a confirmation message and you can rest easy knowing that we’ll be in touch with the results of your dispute.

What’s the benefit of submitting disputes online?

Submitting adjustments and disputes online empowers you to take charge of the appeal process. With the addition of claim disputes to Provider Tools, you can now manage these requests from a single centralized location. The real-time dispute dashboard lets you see how many disputes have been submitted, how many are currently undergoing review and how many have been processed. After you submit your dispute, you’ll receive a written response from our Grievance and Appeals team within 45 days.

Stay tuned for more updates. If you’re interested in learning more about Provider Tools, consider attending an educational webinar.

5 tips for ergonomics in the operatory from Dr. Daniel Croley

Before he moved to the world of dental insurance, Dr. Daniel Croley, Chief Dental Officer at Delta Dental, managed two practices in Chicago. While managing those practices he began to suffer from repetitive strain in one shoulder and this strain developed into a severe shoulder injury. After eight years of practice, he made the difficult decision to look for a new position that would leverage his knowledge without being a risk to his health.

Dr. Daniel Croley
Dr. Daniel Croley

Even with the help of specialists, the risk of permanent injury as a dental professional is high, and it’s not uncommon for dentists or hygienists to experience musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) due to poor posture. In fact, at least 62% of dentists report having at least one complaint of pain. MSDs are also the leading cause for early retirement for dental professionals.

The good news is that you don’t need to accept pain as a part of your job. Here are Dr. Croley’s tips to reduce the risk of injury when you practice.

1. Position yourself

With packed schedules and deadlines, taking any additional time to properly position yourself may be easy to overlook. But overlooking your positioning time after time will take a toll on your body at some point. When you sit down with a patient, remember to:

  • Move your stool as close as possible to your patient’s head so that you don’t overextend your arms or back.
  • Keep your feet flat on the floor or the footrest of your stool.
  • Adjust your stool height so your thighs slope slightly downward.
  • Hold your wrists in a neutral position and minimize wrist movement.
  • Maintain an erect, neutral spine instead of bending forward or leaning over your patient.
  • Distribute your weight evenly in a tripod pattern, between your two feet on the floor and your stool.

2. Position the patient

The position of your patient is just as important as your own position.

  • Recline the patient so your working area is at or just above your elbow level. If you can’t get an ideal position, adjust your stool height accordingly.
  • Have the patient move to the very end of the headrest with no space at the top.
  • Ask patients to tilt their head as needed to maintain your line of sight instead of leaning.

3. Engage your core

The goal of engaging your core is to use the muscles around your mid-section to act as a brace for your upper body and spine. Whether you’re sitting down to do a procedure or standing for long periods, that support protects the weaker muscles of your upper body from the strain it takes to lean over.

Some people interpret “engage” to mean “suck in,” which doesn’t provide your body any support. Instead of sucking in, think of the way your muscles tighten before you laugh or cough. That tightening is an engaged core.

Engaging your core muscles all day can be exhausting, especially if you’re not in the habit of doing it. Consider training your core muscles to make it easier to maintain good posture for longer.

4. Use equipment

Consider using a loupe to minimize the need to perch on the edge of your stool to see. If your overhead light is too dim or casts too many shadows, consider a head-mounted light as an alternative. Avoid gripping instruments tightly.

5. Stretch and exercise

Stretch to release strain. When possible, take 10 minutes to get up and stretch your spine, arms and legs. Stretching during and after work can help relax strained muscles.

For practice owners, investing in ergonomic training and supporting healthy practices has long-term benefits like preventing unwanted retirement, reducing canceled appointments and lessening the need for disability leave.

With very busy personal schedules and maintaining the production required to maintain a dental practice, it can be difficult to prioritize time-consuming tasks like ergonomic evaluations and training.  Sometimes you just need to get into non-ideal physical positions to gain the required access.  You can’t eliminate all physical strain, reducing it is still helpful. Even small changes can have a huge impact towards becoming an ergonomically healthy practice.

Explore the benefits of teledentistry

You probably already know that interest in teledentistry has risen greatly over the past few years, especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. But now that people are returning to their normal lives, there’s no reason to discontinue virtual exams. Televisits are here to stay and can be convenient for both patients and dentists.

Advantages of virtual dentistry for dentists

When you implement teledentistry in your practice, you can see your patient base and revenues increase. You’ll also enjoy:

  • Efficiency. You can reserve televisits for more minor issues and checkups while seeing patients with more serious concerns in the office. And since virtual dentistry appointments average about 10 minutes, you can see more patients than you can in-office visits.
  • More revenue. Fitting in more appointments means more revenue coming in. Also, patients who set up a televisit with you are more likely to see you for in-person procedures as well, which can mean more business. It’s also easier to schedule patients for second opinions, which can be a new revenue stream.
  • Safety. Dentists and hygienists are exposed to many infectious diseases every day. With televisits, there’s no infection risk.
  • Reduced costs. The more patients you see remotely, the less personal protective equipment (PPE) you’ll need to use, which means a reduction in supply costs.

Advantages of virtual dentistry for patients

Patients benefit from the convenience of seeing you straight from their location, which means minimal time away from work. They’ll also be less anxious, and it increases access to many disadvantaged groups who may not have previously sought dental care, including homebound patients and people with disabilities.

Delta Dental’s internal data shows there are still patients who aren’t fully utilizing their teledentistry benefits, so this is an untapped market. The service is available to 37 million Delta Dental enrollees as a covered benefit.  A 2021 McKinsey & Company study showed that around 40% of surveyed consumers said they would continue using telehealth going forward. This is up from 11% before the pandemic.

How to get started with teledentistry

Delta Dental’s Virtual Consult allows patients to schedule live (synchronous) virtual video visits with a dentist. You’ll be able to assess their issue, offer treatment (including medication) and schedule follow-up visits.

Delta Dental will provide you with a free software platform to conduct these teledentistry sessions.

If you’re interested in learning more about the Virtual Consult program, just fill out the online form and we’ll contact you about getting started.

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