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Ethics

I’m a new associate dentist…what does the ADA do for me?

From supplying life insurance, advice on which board to take, and resources to make your CV shine; the ADA has many benefits to offer. In this blog post, I’ll be focusing on what the ADA can do for the recent graduate as well as a dentist entering an associate or partnership position. This was myself a few years ago. Unfortunately I was unaware of these items below that the ADA offered; however, I would have utilized almost all of them. Hopefully the resources that I go over in this issue will be useful to you — the new dentist!

Dr. Sinclair

Dr. Sinclair

Classifieds

Finding a job after graduation was much harder than I originally anticipated. During dental school I consistently heard about the rapid retiring rate of general dentists and the lack of new dentists entering the job scene creating a huge demand.

Well if you add in a recession and a few more dental schools opening up in the US, let’s just say jobs weren’t as plentiful as I initially believed.  Besides even if there were jobs out there, where was I supposed to look?  I had never seen a job posting for a dentist on the pages of monster.com or Craigslist.

Did you know that many state dental associations have their own classified section for dental jobs? While writing this article, I paused to take a moment to check out the listings. With the help of the Virginia Dental Association, I was able to view over 25 postings for general dentist jobs in almost every part of the state. This consolidated area of postings is a great way to see what positions are available as well as a fantastic resource for posting that CV you worked so hard on. Visit the VDA classifieds here. The ADA classifieds can be found here.

Contract resources

Congratulations! You’ve been offered a job, or maybe two or three. Well how do you know this contract agreement you are getting ready to sign is fair? Do you have a 5, 10, 20 mile non-compete, and do you know what that entails?

Just imagine if there was a non-compete clause in your contract that made and job locations in a 20-mile radius around your current employment location off limits. If this was the case, you could find yourself having a 30-45 minute commute for any future employment opportunities. How will you be paid on production, collections or salary? Are you going to be an employee or an independent contractor?  Are you or your employer responsible for paying lab fees? These are just some of the questions I had to answer looking over my initial contracts, and I was unfamiliar with almost all of these terms. Each one of these choices listed above has its own pros and cons, and that is where the ADA comes in.

The ADA has a free resource for members, “Dentist Employment Agreements: A Guide to Key Legal Provisions.” This document explains many of the terms and provisions common to dental employment agreements. The material is presented in a manner to help you consider and review a contract employment. You can also contact the ADA legal department for help understanding the language in your contract. However, remember this is not a substitute for legal advice or a lawyer’s review of your contract. That scenario above about a 20-mile non-compete creating a long commute happened to a fellow dentist.  I think that makes this one service by itself worth every penny of your ADA membership — at least from all the gas money you would save.

Ethics Hotline

Chances are after you have signed your employment contract you will end up working with at least one other dentist.  Many of these dentists have gone through very similar, if not the exact, training that you went through. What happens though if you start seeing shared patients, and you disagree with the recommended treatment plan? The first step would be to discuss the plan with the other dentist(s), but afterwards if you still feel as is if it excessive or unnecessary treatment where do you turn? The ADA created their Ethics Hotline (1.800.621.8099) for instances like this. The ethics hotline is place to discuss questionable issues that may arise in the day to day happening of a dental office in an anonymous environment. Personally I have never needed this, but I find it very comforting that the ADA offers this resource to its members.

Reduced Dues

One of the most common talked about items as a new dentist is the amount of debt that has been incurred. I, like many of you, had to take out student loans to cover the cost of my education as well as my living expenses. I read just the other day where the average dental student debt upon graduating is around $240,000. The ADA and its components understand this as well.  As a new dentist, the memberships rates are drastically reduced the first 5 years of practice and are even free the first year of practice. For more information, click here.

Being an associate can be very challenging and rewarding at the same time.  It will give you the opportunity to develop your speed and skills as a dentist while in many cases working with a mentor. Associateship will introduce you to the fellowship of dentistry that the ADA embodies.  I had the privilege of working alongside several great dentists in varying office environments during my associateships and call many of those dentists’ great friends today.

This blog post, reprinted with permission, originally appeared in the Virginia Dental Association journal. Dr. Cappy Sinclair is a New Dentist Now guest blogger and a 2009 graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University. Dr. Sinclair currently serves on the Board of Trustees at the Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, as member of 3M’s Council for Innovative Dentistry, and as an ambassador for the Dawson Academy. He started his own practice Coastal Cosmetic Dentistry 3 years ago from the ground up and is more than happy to share his success and failures with fellow new dentists. He is a member of the American Dental Association and the Virginia Dental Association. To contact Dr. Sinclair, email him csinclair@smilevabeach.com.

Learn how to help law enforcement through dental coding workshop

Registration is open for FBI-sponsored National Crime Information Center Dental Coding workshop in Sacramento, California, March 28-29.

The FBI’s Criminal Justice Information Services Division organizes these weekend workshops across the country. The training sessions are designed to provide NCIC dental coding and National Dental Image Repository instruction to forensic odontologists and licensed dentists who wish to provide assistance to law enforcement in identifying missing and unidentified persons cases.

The workshop is set for 8 a.m.-6 p.m. at the Embassy Suites Sacramento Riverfront Promenade. Participants will receive a certification for 16 hours of training at the end of the course, but they should also check the continuing education unit requirements for their organization or association to determine whether the credit is accepted.

The FBI will conduct a criminal history background check on everyone who registers, and a felony conviction will disqualify a person from participating. The FBI also asks that those who have attended a workshop before not register to allow others to participate.

The training is free, but attendees must pay for their own travel and lodging. Those who choose to stay at the Embassy Suites should reference “dental coding workshop” when booking their reservation.

There are 50 slots available, and registrations will be accepted first-come, first-served. Registrants must be licensed dentists. For a registration form, email Kathleen Oldaker at kathleen.oldaker@leo.gov.

Learn how to identify drug-seeking patients in upcoming webinar

An upcoming webinar aims to educate dentists on how to interview patients with addiction problems and identify those who are just seeking drugs.

prescription drugsInterviewing and Counseling Patients with Substance Use Disorders and Drug-Seeking Patients is scheduled for Feb. 18 from 2-3 p.m. Central time. Michael O’Neil, Pharm.D., professor of pharmacy practice at South College in Knoxville, Tennessee, will lead the webinar and review basic interview and counseling skills that help optimize patient care and protect dentists from patients who may have criminal intent.

Dentists may find themselves the targets of prescription drug diversion scams and schemes and the webinar will provide tips on how to talk to patients about their intentions and counseling that will help minimize risks to the patient and dentist.

To register, contact Alison Siwek at siweka@ada.org. Registration closes Feb. 16.

Know anyone who has volunteered internationally?

Do you know a dentist who has generously given their time, talents and skills by volunteering internationally?

Int'l Volunteer Svc LogoApplications are due April for the Certificate for International Volunteer Service, a program that recognizes ADA members who have volunteered in developing countries to improve the oral health and overall health of individuals.

Criteria for applying for and receiving the certificate include:

  • Be an active, life, student or retired member of the American Dental Association.
  • Have served in an international location with a program sponsored by a dental school or recognized nonprofit organization for a minimum of 14 days, either in one period or in several visits, in any 24-month period.
  • Have provided clinical dental service and/or taught local dental personnel or assisted in training initiatives to improve the local oral healthcare infrastructure.
  • Supply evidence of the dates of the service with a comprehensive, detailed breakdown of activities and the value of the contribution by means of a letter or testimonial from the director of the program or other appropriate official (for student members working in a dental school program this requirement shall be the responsibility of the dean or director of the outreach program).
  • Be nominated by a component or constituent society, federal dental service or dental school.
  • Be verified in writing to be a member in good standing by the component society, if such exists, or by the constituent society, commanding officer or dean of the dental school as appropriate.

Nominations are reviewed by the ADA Board of Trustees at the June meeting. Recipients will be announced within 30 days of the meeting and the certificates will be distributed to the recipient, or to the nominating component or constituent societies upon request. A certificate may be awarded to the same individual more than once.

For more information on the Certificate for International Volunteer Service or to submit a nomination, click here.

Know the difference between accidents and signs of domestic violence?

In a year where high-profile accusations of family violence have rocked the National Football League, the ADA House of Delegates streamlined Association policy on family violence during its meetings at ADA 2014 — America’s Dental Meeting in San Antonio, according to ADA News.

An employee crying

Resolution 89H-2014, Educating Dental Professionals in Recognizing and Reporting Abuse, states that “the ADA supports educating dental professionals to recognize abuse and neglect across all age groups and reporting such incidences to the proper authorities as required by state law.” The House rescinded policies from 1993 and 1996.

“Family violence has been a hot topic in the news media as high-profile players in the NFL have been accused of violence against children or partners,” said Dr. Lynn Douglas Mouden, chief dental officer for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. “There is a universal mandate for U. S. dentists to report suspected cases of abuse or neglect of children, but dentists should also be aware that some states also mandate reporting cases that deal with adults and elders as well.”

Are you able to discern the difference between accidents and intentional injuries or signs of violence? Do you know what your state’s law in regards to reporting family violence?

If your answer is “no,” Dr. Mouden suggests attending the 7th Biennial National Conference on Health and Domestic Violence, set for March 19-21, at the Renaissance Washington, D.C. Downtown Hotel.

“With training, dentists are better able to discern the difference between accidents and intentional injuries, or between otherwise normal conditions and the signs of violence,” Dr. Mouden said. “Because laws vary from state to state, dentists should work with their state dental association to learn more about the laws regarding reporting of family violence and about opportunities to learn more about preventing family violence.”

For more details on the conference, hotel accommodations or to register, click here.

Volunteers sought for Navy humanitarian missions

According to ADA News, the University of California San Diego Pre-Dental Society nongovernmental organization seeks civilian volunteers for U.S. Navy hospital ship humanitarian mission trips from April through September 2015.

The USNS Mercy will travel to Southeast Asia and the Oceania Islands, with stops in Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Philippines, Micronesia and Vietnam. A smaller ship will make stops in Kiribati, Micronesia, Solomon Islands, Philippines and Vietnam. The USNS Comfort will travel to the Caribbean, Central and South America with stops planned stops in Belize, Guatemala, Jamaica, Nicaragua, Panama, El Salvador, Colombia, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Honduras and Haiti. This is the first time both hospital ships will be on humanitarian missions at the same time, and the first U.S. Navy mission trip since 2012.

“These missions change the lives of participants from our nation, partner nations and host nations,” said Dr. Irvin B. Silverstein, UCSD Pre-Dental Society director. “Our participants have been able to help with and see some amazing things and bring friendship, understanding and build closer relationships with different people in the world. These are not just humanitarian missions. They help forge diplomatic ties and help create friendships.”

UCSD Pre-Dental Society seeks dentists, physicians, pharmacists, optometrists, nurses, dental hygienists, dental assistants, medical assistants, medical and dental lab technicians, pharmacy techs, physical therapists, biomedical repair technicians, sonographers, translators, educators, engineers and all other health-related professionals.

Both ships will leave about April 1. The pre-dental society NGO will serve as a civilian partner in the Navy’s humanitarian missions.

Volunteers can choose the length of time and countries in which they will serve. Professionals must serve at least two weeks; technicians and assistants must serve at least four weeks. Preference will go to those who can volunteer for longer periods. Volunteers must pay for their transportation to and from the ship. Once aboard the ship, the Navy will cover volunteer expenses, including food and lodging.

Request an application via e-mail at ucsdpds.missions@gmail.com or dsilverstein22@cox.net as soon as possible to begin the credentialing process.

Maintaining a positive online reputation

Do you know what your patients are saying about you? Your online reputation depends on whether and/or how you react to what people say about your services.

Today, according to the ADA Center for Professional Success, many patients investigate your office prior to an initial appointment using Google, Yelp, and many other review and research sources. Make sure you are doing everything you can to maintain a positive online reputation.

PBHSADA Business Resources and Protective Business and Health Systems (PBHS) recently hosted a webinar on managing your online reputation. A recording of the seminar along with the question and answer section is now available for ADA members.

In this webinar Jay Levine, president of PBHS, offered tips and best practices to monitor your public reputation and take a proactive approach to addressing online reviews. To view the webinar, accessible to ADA members, click here.

This information is provided courtesy of PBHS, the only marketing company endorsed by ADA Business Resources. Learn more about PBHS, click here or by calling 855.932.4232.

 

Marketing the dental practice: Know the rules

Marketing your dental practice is key to attracting new patients but it’s also important to do so ethically and to follow the law.

“The key is to be informed,” said Dr. Kevin Sessa, chair of the ADA Council on Dental Practice. “When you know the rules, you are better equipped to avoid breaking them. As dentists and small business owners, we’re all looking for ways to attract new patients and to retain our existing ones. Marketing your practice is a great way to do that but it’s important to do so in a legal and ethical way.”

The ADA has several resources that can help new and veteran dentists understand not only the basics of marketing and advertising but how to promote their practices within the law. One such publication, “Advertising Basics for Dentists and Dental Associations: A Guide to Federal and State Rules and Standards,” is an overview of federal and advertising-related laws and regulations.

It’s also a primer that includes links to useful electronic resources; discusses state advertising regulations; and also has a section on codes of ethics in dentistry.

Members can read the online publication hereEthical marketing. The publication emphasizes that while dentists can advertise their practice, they shouldn’t solicit patients in any form of communication that’s false or misleading. Dentists can find additional legal and ethical resources on ADA.org.

“Truthful, nondeceptive advertising of a dentist’s qualifications, services or facilities can help patients make informed choices about practitioners and services,” according to the publication. “On the other hand, advertising that is false or misleading harms patients by making it more difficult and costly for them to make informed choices.”

Knowing the basics of advertising laws also helps dentists know when to seek legal advice. Those with more questions or who need clarification can contact the ADA Division of Legal Affairs at legaldivision@ada.org.

The ADA also offers “Internal Marketing: The Key to Dental Practice Success,” through its ADA Catalog. Chapters discuss cultivating referrals, developing practice newsletters and websites and utilizing social networking profitably and responsibly.

The 122-page book (P080) costs $49.95 for members and 74.95 for nonmembers; the e-book (P080D) is $39.95 for members and $59.95 for nonmembers; and the print and e-book bundle is $59.95 for members and $84.95 for nonmembers. All can be purchased on ADACatalog.org.

Stay tuned for The ADA Practical Guide to Internet Marketing, coming in January.

 

October issue of New Dentist News available online

The latest issue of the New Dentist News is now available online.

The October 2014 issue includes articles to help new dentists with marketing, finances and handling ethical dilemmas.

October 2014 New Dentist NewsInside this issue include:

  • Marketing snapshot — How one practice does it.
  • Marketing the dental practice: Know the rules.
  • Working with a marketing firm.
  • Advice from a lender: Be prepared before seeking a practice loan.
  • Tap the ADA Ethics Hotline for ethical dilemmas.

To read the New Dentist News, click here.

What tips have you learned when it comes to marketing your dental practice or yourself as a dentist?

Tap the ADA Ethics Hotline for ethics dilemmas

Avoid hot water when it comes to sticky practice situations with the ADA Ethics Hotline, a member benefit made possible by a joint effort between The Council on Ethics, Bylaws and Judicial Affairs (CEBJA), the New Dentist Committee and the ADA Member Service Center.

Ethics           Though a ready asset for any ADA member, new dentists in particular may find the hotline of great value, as they are likely experiencing first-time dilemmas. The hotline was initially created targeting new dentists, but has evolved as a membership benefit befitting every member.

The Ethics Hotline is not a legal resource but rather a service for helping to resolve ethical dilemmas much like an ethics consult service. Members may access the new member service by calling the ADA toll-free number and stating that they have a question for the ethics hotline. To reach the Ethics Hotline, call the ADA Member Service Center and ask to be connected to the hotline. All calls are confidential. Leave a confidential voicemail message.

A member of CEBJA will contact callers within 2-3 business days to arrange a mutually agreeable time to discuss the dilemma presented. Indicate very time-sensitive dilemmas in the message and CEBJA staff and members will do their best to accommodate the request for feedback.