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10 steps to increase provider participation in Medicaid/streamline administration

Here are 10 steps to increase provider participation in Medicaid and to streamline the administrative process from Action for Dental Health, a nationwide, community-based movement aimed at ending the dental health crisis facing America today.

Action for Dental Health

  • Step 1: Talk with the manager of Provider Enrollment for your state and review the process for enrolling in the Medicaid program. Confirm basic information such as documentation expectations, electronic filing and ability to participate on a limited basis.
  • Step 2: Identify populations of interest that your practice will serve. Determine how those patients will access your practice, whether via local community outreach or referrals from the local community health center after being triaged.
  • Step 3: Discuss with your state dental association the current baseline of provider participation and the data that will be coordinated as reported by your state to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services in its CMS 416 report. This information is the basis for determining what positive results are being seen due to increased provider participation.
  • Step 4: Participate in a state Dental Medicaid Advisory Committee or form a committee if one does not exist in your state. Invite other Medicaid providers, both private practice dentists and those working within community health centers, to participate.
  • Step 5: Review Medicaid rates, prior authorization and enrollment processes for your state. Are adult Medicaid benefits available? Was there an increase in providers if rates were increased? Learn what negotiation and compromise efforts were performed.
  • Step 6: To streamline your credentialing and provider eligibility process, review those states making a positive difference (Oklahoma, California, Maryland and Kentucky). Invite the people who perform the enrolling process to your Medicaid advisory committee to investigate what might be done in your state to expedite credentialing.
  • Step 7: Meet with the manager of your state Medicaid Integrity Program to learn of the processes they follow for chart audits and review. Explain the need for uniform compliance training for auditors for reviews. Discuss with your Medicaid Advisory Committee.
  • Step 8: Maintain strong lines of communication with the state Medicaid program, the state oral health program, the ADA and Medicaid-CHIP Dental Association who can be resources for you.
  • Step 9: Share program successes and failures with your local dental society.
  • Step 10: Write an article for your state dental association journal about your Dental Medicaid Advisory Committee, your experiences in treating the underserved and the value that dentistry can provide in communicating with the local medical community about the importance of integrating oral health for patient overall health.

To view the full 10-step process, click here. For more information about the ADA’s Action for Dental Health, visit ADA.org/action.

Life as a new dentist — Pediatric dentist

Dentistry is made up of individuals. Here’s one of them.

Dr. Colleen Greene

Dr. Colleen Greene

Who are you?

I’m Dr. Colleen Greene, a second year resident in pediatric dentistry at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin. In 2013 I graduated from the Harvard Schools of Dental Medicine and Public Health with DMD and MPH degrees, respectively. I remain actively involved in ASDA as a past president and, most recently, co-chaired the National Leadership Conference in Chicago. This summer I will transition from resident to full-time attending in our hospital-based residency program. Fun fact: My husband was also my senior prom date in high school.

How did you get into dentistry?

My high school chemistry teacher encouraged me to consider aiming for medical school. I’ll never forget coming home and telling my mom about this exciting encouragement. Her response:  “Well, you could, but you’d be in school until you’re 30!” We laugh now at the accuracy of her prediction, since I am now exactly 30 years old and almost done with residency. Her larger point was to consider the work-life balance between a traditional career in medicine and other rigorous health care professions. To me, dentistry combined the community impact of working as a physician with the joys of working with my hands, business responsibilities and work-life flexibility.

Dr. Green (far left) celebrates her 30th birthday with coworkers.

Dr. Greene (far right) celebrates her 30th birthday with coworkers.

What attracted you to pediatric dentistry?

Growing up in a low-income family covered by Medicaid, my parents struggled to find a dental home for us. I remain really concerned about the limited access to pediatric dental care. These frustrations still fuel my drive to minimize barriers to care and I’m really optimistic about the growing public health consciousness of dental school graduates. Whether in a pediatric or general practice, there is a critical need for enthusiastic providers for children from low-income families. I want to fill that gap.

What do you say to new dentists who may be interested, but will rule out a position in working at a hospital, as oppose to working at or starting a practice?

It’s hard to balance out an interest in public health with the competing need to avoid personal bankruptcy! Student debt is a giant factor for many dental students, myself included. The benefit of pursuing hospital dentistry is that large health care systems tend to be financially more stable than independent community health clinics and therefore compensate very fairly while handling lower reimbursements. I’m impressed with the comprehensive benefits package at my hospital and thrilled to help fill a big need for more dental providers in our state. It’s the best of all worlds at this point in my career.

Any advice for someone wanting to follow your career path?

Remain as open-minded as possible to every opportunity that comes your way. Get involved in activities you enjoy that you believe will make a meaningful impact in your community, for patients and colleagues. Take it one year, one semester or one day at a time. Avoid the regret of playing it safe and not exploring the chances to serve that will come your way.

If you could have any job other than dentistry, what would it be? Why?

It’s honestly hard to think of a different job that would better blend all of the things I love to do: talk, write, educate, comprehensively manage cases, surgically restore health, etc. It’s a great gig! I love the varied responsibilities. You’ve stumped me.

Dr. Greene recently participated in the new ADA Practical Guide to Internet Marketing, co-authoring a chapter on blogging. Interested in sharing your experience as a new dentist? If you are fewer than 10 years out of dental school we’d love to hear from you! Contact us at newdentist@ada.org

Millenials in dentistry: When generations collide

In a Dental Economics article, Dr. Ryan Dulde asks and explores the question: What happens when tech-savvy, hyperconnected narcissists take over the dental profession?

“As more baby boomers plan retirement, millennials are arriving in dental practices as associates or partners,” according to Dr. Dulde, who co-founded the National Leadership Conference for the American Student Dental Association. “Generations clash when millennial dentists must share their work environments with hiring/selling dentists who are often of the baby boomer generation and an office staff that can span across two or even three different generations.”

Dr. Dulde also explored the stereotyping of millenials, their work-life integration, their use of technology and their optimism.

“Make no mistake: Millennials are anything but lazy,” Dr. Dulde said. “We’re a creative, entrepreneurial, high-achieving generation ready to work hard for our ambitious goals and a sense of purpose. It may not be a perfectly smooth transition, but dentistry can look forward to strong leadership from the next generation.”

To read the full article, click here.

10 steps to starting a Head Start program in your office

Head Start began as a summer program in 1965 and serves the nation’s most vulnerable children. It focuses on school readiness with inclusion of medical, dental, nutrition and mental health.

Action for Dental HealthAction for Dental Health has created a basic 10-step process to launching your own Head Start program in your dental office.

In essence, the 10 steps are:

  • Step 1: Call the local Community Action Agency and speak with the director about oral exam federal compliance opportunities.
  • Step 2: Discuss with local officials (county commissioners) what percentage of their Head Start children have received dental exams and what more can be done.
  • Step 3: Arrange appropriate follow-up care for those children identified with dental needs.
  • Step 4: Present in-services on early childhood decay to local pediatricians/family medicine staff and promote the need for caries risk assessment, anticipatory guidance and referrals to establish a dental home.
  • Step 5: Become a registered state dental Medicaid provider.
  • Step 6: Meet with community leaders from United Way, local foundations or faith-based communities to discuss health needs/support for young children to access dental exams.
  • Step 7: Discuss opportunities to partner with local business community in holding events aimed at Head Start children receiving dental screening services and oral health education.
  • Step 8: Utilize local dental society meetings to coordinate Head Start screenings and follow-up care.
  • Step 9: Evaluate the success of the program.
  • Step 10: Visit the Women, Infant, Children Department (WIC) in the local health department or county offices and determine need for children under age 5 to have dental exams.

To read more on the 10 steps to starting a Head Start program in your office, click here. For more information, contact Dr. Jane Gover, director of the ADA Council on Access, Prevention and Interprofessional Relations at groverj@ada.org. For more information on Action for Dental Health, visit ADA.org/action.

Research: Number of dentists will continue to grow in U.S.

A new research brief published by the ADA Health Policy Institute show the number of dentists in the U.S. will continue to grow over the next generation.

Under the most likely scenarios, the ADA’s model predicts that dental school graduations will exceed dentist retirements. The net increase of practicing dentists will exceed the corresponding growth of the U.S. population.

Health Policy InstituteThe new report, available at ADA.org/researchbriefs, shows the number of dentists practicing per 100,000 people today has climbed more than 4 percent from 2003 to 2013 and is projected to climb 1.5 percent from 2013 to 2018 and 2.6 percent by 2033.

Another HPI analysis found that the percentage of the U.S. population reporting that they were unable to access needed dental care declined between 2003 and 2012. These declines occurred across all age groups.

Additional ADA research suggests that the most effective policy changes to address access to dental care would focus on more prominent barriers to care such as cost, geography and education. Barriers related to the availability of a dentist were reported much less often by a very small percentage of the population and declined in all areas.

New research from HPI includes:

• “Dental Care Utilization Rate Highest Ever Among Children, Continues to Decline Among Working-Age Adults.” HPI found that from 2011 to 2012, dental care utilization increased among children and decreased among working-age adults.

• “Dental Benefits Expanded for Children, Young Adults in 2012.” More children had dental benefits in 2012 than in the previous year, representing a continuation of more than a decade-long trend. The percentage of children without dental benefits is at its lowest rate since the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, the source of HPI’s data for this brief, began tracking dental insurance coverage in 1999.

• “Fewer Americans Forgoing Dental Care Due to Cost.” The percentage of the population reporting cost as a barrier to receiving necessary dental care fell in 2013. This is the third year of this decline, reversing the increase that occurred from 2000 to 2010. Despite improvements in affordability over the last few years, cost still remains the most critical barrier to obtaining needed dental care.

• “Supply of Dentists in the United States is Likely to Grow.” Under what HPI considers the most probable scenario, the per capita supply of dentists in the United States is projected to increase through 2033.

• “Most Important Barriers to Dental Care are Financial, Not Supply Related.” Between 2004 and 2012, fewer Americans reported needing dental care but not getting it. In both periods, among a group of 11 types of barriers to receiving needed dental care, financial barriers were mentioned most often. The level of financial barriers was highest among low-income, nonelderly adults.

• “A Ten-Year, State-by-State Analysis of Medicaid Fee-for-Service Reimbursement Rates for Dental Care Services.” HPI found that the average Medicaid fee-for-service reimbursement rate was 48.8 percent of commercial dental insurance charges for pediatric dental care services and 40.7 percent for adult dental care services. Over the past decade, Medicaid reimbursement for pediatric dental care services relative to market rates fell in 39 states. The available evidence strongly suggests that enhanced Medicaid reimbursement, in conjunction with other reforms, increases provider participation and access to dental care for Medicaid enrollees.

All of these briefs are available at ADA.org/researchbriefs.

Where are you choosing to live after dental school?

According to the New York Times, young college graduates aren’t only looking to cities such as New York, Washington and San Francisco to start their careers.

Based on a report published by think tank City Observatory, the number of college-educated people age 25 to 34 are moving within three miles of city centers. And metropolitans getting the biggest share of young people with a bachelor’s degree or higher level of education include Houston, Nashville, Denver, Austin and Portland, Oregon.

Denver Skyline

Denver

For example, Denver, which has seen a 47 percent increase in the number of college graduates age 25 to 34 from 2000 to 2012, is attracting the young and educated because of it’s a booming industries, sunshine, mountains and the perception of cultural cool such as microbreweries and bike-sharing, according to the article.

In addition, the article said, about 25 percent more young college graduates live in major metropolitan areas today than in 2000, which is double the percentage increase in cities’ total population. All the 51 biggest metros except Detroit have gained young talent, either from net migration to the cities or from residents graduating from college, according to the report.

“There is a very strong track record of places that attract talent becoming places of long-term success,” Edward Glaeser, an economist at Harvard and author of “Triumph of the City” told the New York Times. “The most successful economic development policy is to attract and retain smart people and then get out of their way.”

As new dentists, what factors came into your decision on where to live and work after dental school?

Editors’ Pick: Favorite New Dentist Now blog posts of 2014

It’s been an eventful 2014 for New Dentist Now as it continues to feature resources for new dentists and dental students, along with news and insight on the dental profession and beyond.

Just in case you missed them, here’s a look back to some of our favorite and most popular blog posts of the year.

ASDA annual session set for February 2015 in Boston

Bringing together students from all 65 U.S. dental schools, the American Student Dental Association will host its 2015 annual session Feb. 18-21, 2015, in Boston.

ASDA Annual SessionRegistration deadline is Jan. 16 to guarantee hotel reservations at the Westin Boston Waterfront. Some fees may apply for late registrations.

Highlights at the event include the business meeting of the House of Delegates, elections of ASDA national leaders, the Dental Expo, prominent speakers within dentistry addressing hot topics, and awards recognizing the achievements of ASDA chapters and members. ADA leadership and staff will also be participating in the annual session. The meeting concludes with a celebratory gala.

For more information and to register, visit asdanet.org/annualsession.

Have you ever attended the ASDA annual session?

Small GPR program in Evanston, Ill. delivers volumes of experience

Dental school is only the tip of the iceberg. The more I learned, the more I realized what I didn’t know. A general practice residency (GPR) was the next logical step.

Dr. Carolyn Norton

Dr. Carolyn Norton

I was looking for a small residency program with sufficient fixed prostho and endo experience. What I got was exactly that plus significant oral surgery experience, my own full time assistant, and a wealth of mentors who also teach for some of the best continuing education institutes in the country. Being one of two residents at the NorthShore University Hospital in Evanston, Illinois, my dental education is specific to my interests and my patients’ needs. My attendings ask me what I want to learn, and that’s what we pursue. The attendings are truly there because they love to teach and want to help me succeed as a general dentist.

I also wanted a program where I had responsibility. I wanted to deal with emergencies and difficult cases. In dental school, all difficult cases were sent to the graduate specialty clinics, or an oral surgery resident would swoop down and save the day. I needed to learn how to take care of business myself. I alternate the call schedule every seven days with my co-resident, covering four hospitals within the NorthShore University System. Every time I get paged and go in for an emergency, I see something I have never seen before and learn something valuable. Being on call is never time wasted. It is exactly what I needed.

If you’re interested in a GPR, it’s important to know what you want out of the experience. Go visit the program and talk to previous residents. You can find more information about my GPR program here. All programs are very different, so you need to do your research.

I still find plenty of time for the gym, spending time with loved ones and enjoying Chicago. I am more than happy with my GPR experience and already feel confident about entering private practice. And to think, I still have six months of learning left.

 

Dr. Carolyn Norton is a New Dentist Now guest blogger and a 2014 graduate of the University of Florida College of Dentistry. She is half way through a 12-month general practice residency at the North Shore University Hospital in Evanston, Ill., affiliated with the University of Chicago. Dr. Norton was a contributing editor for the American Student Dental Association from 2012-14.

From Baghdad to Memphis, Dr. Mack provides dental aid

Memphis, Tennessee’s daily newspaper The Daily News featured this week an article on Dr. Edward Mack, a new dentist practicing in East Memphis, and his work as a brigade dentist in the U.S. Army with the 82nd Airborne Division in Baghdad.

According to the story, Dr. Mack, an endodontist, spent seven months in Iraq, treating close to 1,000 of the division’s 3,500 soldiers.

“Some of it was extraction and some of it was routine,” Mack told The Daily News of the dental work. “Some of it was palliative. We were in combat situations. I had to work out of a backpack.”

Dr. Mack received the Combat Medical Badge as well as the Army Commendation Medal, according to the article. He is a member of the ADA, the Tennessee Dental Association and the Memphis Dental Society.

To read the full story, click here.