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Practice Support Team

Kathy Edwards, RDH, Margaret Boyce-Cooley and Dana Morano of the Practice Support Team

Burkhart’s Practice Support Team provides support to doctors by answering hundreds of questions that come in through our toll free number and email. It is our pleasure to provide answers and resources—at no fee—to all of our Burkhart clients! Consider it a value-added service from Burkhart. We’ve compiled the most frequently asked questions and shared some insight on those here:

Q: I’m thinking about purchasing the charts from a nearby retiring doctor. Is there any insight you can give?

A: This question has come up quite a bit lately as doctors look for ways to grow their patient base. Here are some variables we recommend you consider and that transition specialists would ask the purchasing doctor to evaluate:
• Is the new office’s patient base within five miles of the purchaser’s office?
• Are the doctors’ clinical philosophies similar?
• Does the purchasing doctor offer treatment that the selling doctor referred out?
• Are the insurance participation levels/offerings congruent?
• Is the patient experience more favorable at the buying doctor’s practice?
• Serious consideration should be given to staffing levels needed in the purchaser’s practice. Team members transitioning to the buyer’s practice should be considered ONLY if busyness levels and job performance warrants it.

We also strongly encourage doctors, even though selling doctor is retiring, that the purchasing doctor get a non-compete agreement drafted and signed by the selling doctor (if your state allows). We’ve seen quite a few instances where the doctor said he was retiring and doesn’t end up doing so. We’ve seen them actually go as an associate in another practice or open another practice. Not good, obviously, for the success of onboarding the other patient base.

For referrals to transition specialists, please feel free to contact the Practice Support Team or your Burkhart Account Manager.

Q3: What should I do about implementing ICD-10 codes?

A3: Beginning October 1, 2015, all healthcare providers were required to report ICD-10 codes on all claims requiring a diagnosis code. If you never report diagnosis codes on your claims, then you may be minimally affected by ICD-10. Further changes with Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act with regard to mandated pediatric dental benefits may necessitate further changes in reporting. We are encouraging doctors to check with their individual insurance plans regarding the plan’s intentions for ICD diagnostic code implementation. Practices can work directly with their existing software since the current electronic dental claim standard and the 2012 ADA paper claim form both support the use of ICD-9 or ICD-10 codes. We suggest practices contact their practice management software company and ask how best to implement ICD-10 specifically with them. Also, monitor the ADA website for consistent, updated information regarding ICD-10.

A useful resource also comes to us from Dr. Charles Blair’s Practice Booster® (formerly known as Insurance Solutions) store, Diagnostic Coding for Dental Claim Submission. This can be ordered directly on the website for $169.95.www.practicebooster.com

Keep in mind that inclusion of the code is not required unless the patient’s dental plan requires a diagnostic code for adjudication purposes. According to the ADA, a plan would typically only require the diagnostic code for a service or services connected to the patient’s systemic health.

Q: I’ve just started my practice and need to build my patient base. What can I do? 

A: Ideally, you will need to dedicate around 5% of collections to your marketing budget each year until you become busier, gradually reducing the budget as active patient volume increases.

We suggest the following steps to gain more new patients:

1. A well designed, optimized website is a must!

2. Increase your Facebook posts to include both business and social posts done twice weekly keeping in mind the highest read rates are on Wednesday and Thursday from 2-4 pm.

3. Consistently ask for patient reviews and ensure they are posted on Yelp, Google, Facebook and your website.

4. Locate a well-respected beauty salon closest to the practice. Offer free whitening for everyone who works in the salon if they are willing to have information about your practice in the salon and refer people to the practice.

5. Add post-op calls from you personally each evening for
those patients who had endo treatment, extractions, children with anesthetic and any additional special circumstances.

6. Utilize your technology to allow patients to know that you are high-tech-use your intra-oral camera routinely, not just for problem areas.

7. Incorporate referral scripting for you and your staff to use such as, “How was your visit today? We love when our patients are happy. We’d be happy to take care of a friend of yours (or your husband, your son…).” Or “We are accepting new patients and we would love to see any of your friends or family who may be looking for a dentist.”

Practice Support Team offers links to valuable WEO Media’s webinars at no charge on Burkhart’s website under “What We Do/Practice Support Team.” We are happy to set up a phone call for Q&A after viewing the webinars.

Q. I had a PracticeView conducted on my practice a few months ago. Is there anything else the Practice Support Team can help me with?

A. One of the things we stress as we wind up the PracticeView Presentation Meeting is the value of recare. We are passionate about making the most out of doctor’s time and commitment during PracticeView. We encourage scheduling a call 3-6 months after the Presentation Meeting to review the implementation of recommendations and allow us to provide additional system support.

Other tools we offer:

• Our bi-weekly emailed Healthy Practices Newsletter that will touch on most common issues seen in practices and provide solutions, systems support, tools and/or resources to address those topics.

• Email or phone support, providing answers/resources to a practice’s specific questions and concerns.

• Partnership with our Account Managers in providing back-up
and resources as they support their clients.

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