Overcoming barriers to health care access is a top priority in dentistry. It was the basis of the ADA’s Action for Dental Health, a community-based initiative to improve oral health in the United States. A 2014 report by the Health Policy Institute (HPI) found that in 2012, only about one in three working-age adults went to a dentist. A large part of the population doesn’t receive regular dental care. We know this can result in severe morbidities and, in rare cases, mortality. How do we overcome the barriers some of these patients face? The community dental health coordinator (CDHC).
According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, homeless veterans list dental care among their top three unmet needs, along with housing and child care. Many veterans do receive dental benefits through their VA. Yet in order to qualify, the veteran must be either 100 percent disabled, have been a prisoner of war or have developed a dental condition during their service. This leaves many veterans without dental benefits and thus no dental home.
By now, you know the importance of networking when it comes to landing the perfect residency or associateship. However, when it comes to advocacy, is it really all about who you know? The short answer is yes.
Understanding the Current Dental Terminology (CDT) codes and ensuring proper coding is crucial to improve time management and make your practice succeed. It also prevents ethical and legal issues. In my previous 10-year experience as an office manager, I observed local dentists make coding errors, get audited or lose their license from insurance fraud. While most dentists are not knowingly billing incorrectly, they should know how to correct these mistakes.
The population of dental patients who need special-needs care is growing dramatically. While predoctoral dental programs are incorporating more curriculum that allow students to treat special-needs patients, they still have a long way to go to develop competent practitioners.
Lobby days are a fun and effective way to develop relationships with your congressional representatives. The goal of a lobby day is to inform politicians about the issues that affect the dental profession and the oral health of the greater community. Meeting with legislators during a lobby day will hopefully persuade them to vote in a certain way on active bills. But how do you plan a lobby day?
ASDA continues to highlight special populations as part of its National Outreach Initiative. In the fall, we are highlighting the treatment of patients with intellectual and developmental disabilities. This is a personal account of how treating patients with special needs can make a difference.