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    Flip the calendar: review your fees and update your codes!

    It's time to take a look at how you can improve your practice.

    Every New Year brings the opportunity to reevaluate your fees and update your codes. When the holiday activities settle your office will be busy with the January and February crowd eager to use their new benefits. Let’s prepare now to make 2017 as successful as possible!

    This is a good time to review your fees and compare them with your expenses. Did your lab fees rise in 2016? Your corresponding restorative or orthodontic fees should also go up. Did you experience an increase in your disposables? Your fees associated with evaluations and hygiene should reflect this change—they are most likely your most common procedures. Did your medicaments and antimicrobials rise in cost for your periodontal treatments? Ask similar questions so that you can assess the relationship between providing treatment and absorbing the associated cost.

    Related article: 5 best practices for fee schedules in the dental practice

    Where are you with your fees? In the 50th percentile? 80th? And are you comfortable with your fees? Offices that have higher fees will see success only if the team members are comfortable presenting and explaining the investment to patients. Many great clinicians don’t see financial success due to a team member presenting fees in a less-than-confident manner. If the patient doesn’t think your team member sees the value, why should they?

    The American Dental Association amends the Current Dental Terminology codes (CDT) on a yearly basis. Your practice management software most likely issued an update in December—check to make sure you have downloaded and installed it. The new codes become effective January 1st.

    Several of the changes are just descriptor re-wordings, however, there are some new codes that will be of interest to most practices. Code D4346 (scaling in the presence of inflammation) is the big conversation piece in my webinars and lectures. This code has great potential for accurately tracking patient care, but only if your team understands it.

    Read more: New gingivitis code helps you provide ethical care

    2017 is shaping up to be a year of change and anticipation. Stricter benefit guidelines for our patients means your office must stay current and progressive with its insurance knowledge. Keep an eye on ICD codes (used for medical billing) and the impending advent of dental diagnostic codes. These two factors mean that the dental office will need to up their documentation game in order to be profitable and successful. Don’t worry—we’re here to help you with it all! 

    Teresa Duncan, MS, FADIA, FAADOM
    Teresa Duncan, MS, FADIA, FAADOM is an international speaker who focuses on revenue, dental insurance & management issues. She is a ...

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