DCSIMG
Header Logo Band

Dental spending growth slower

According to ADA News, government actuaries cited slower growth in dental spending than projected just three months earlier in a study revising the post-recession National Health Expenditures narrative from “low rates of growth” to “slowdown.”

Annual growth of dental servicesThe 3.6 percent increase in the 2013 rate of growth in the overall health economy is the lowest on record since NHE record keeping began in 1960, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Office of the Actuary said.

CMS actuaries in a September 2014 report had projected that 2013 dental spending would total $113 billion at a 1.9 percent annual growth rate. The study published in December 2014 by the journal Health Affairs said actual dental spending increased by just 0.9 percent to $111 billion.

Dental services spendingDental spending and the annual growth rate had been inching upward since 2009 when it increased minimally from $102.4 billion to $102.5 billion or 0.1 percent over 2008. The 2013 growth rate is the lowest since then.

To read the full article, click here.

IHS dental externship applications due Feb. 28

For dental students wondering whether a career with the Indian Health Service Division of Oral Health or a position at a specific IHS or Tribal site is right for you, an IHS externship can give you the experience to help make your decision.

IHSThe IHS Division of Oral Health (DOH) is currently accepting applications for 2015 Dental Externships. If you are seeking a life-changing cultural and pre-professional experience, we encourage you to apply. The application cycle is open from Jan. 2 to Feb. 28.

According to IHS.gov, externs will have the opportunities to work in the state-of-the-art facilities, in a career position with excellent pay and benefits, Loan Repayment Program, job stability, potential for advancement and mentoring by experienced staff, and the opportunity to provide much-needed care to appreciative patients.

For more information on IHS dental externships and how to apply, click here.

Dentist ranked top 2015 occupation

“Dentist” is number one on U.S. News & World Report’s list of best occupations of 2015 for offering “a comfortable salary, low unemployment rate and agreeable work-life balance.” Dentists also top the publication’s list of best health care occupations.

“Dental hygienist” is number 5 on the top 100 list and number 4 on the health care list, which has “dental assistant” at number 67.

“Today’s students want it all. And dentistry really does deliver that. What other profession allows you to care for patients, make a good living, work as part of a team and have flexibility?” said Dr. Richard W. Valachovic, president and chief executive officer of the American Dental Education Association.

The U.S. News & World Report quoted Dr. Ada S. Cooper, an ADA consumer adviser, on the process of becoming a dentist and professional opportunities that “will find you – you won’t need to hunt them down.” It’s also a good idea to get involved in local and state dental associations for networking purposes, the report said.

To read U.S. News and World Report’s full review on dentists, click here.

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.

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.