With so many factors that go into treatment planning (cost, insurance coverage, time requirements, length of procedures, knowledge of the treatment, fear), sometimes we may lose sight of what is best for the patient. Never make assumptions. Get to know your patients. Make sure that he or she understands what the procedure entails and is clear on the pros and cons of every treatment option. Taking the time to listen to the patient and explain all possible treatment options and ways for future prevention is paramount to treating each person in the best way possible.
Recent scandal has unfortunately emerged out of a Canadian dental school, Dalhousie University Faculty of Dentistry, located in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Thirteen fourth-year male students were part of an online Facebook group entitled “Class of DDS 2015 Gentlemen.” Within the private group, misogynistic posts were allegedly made describing female classmates, “hate sex,” and the use of chloroform, among other degrading, misogynistic comments. Screenshots of the posts were brought to administrators’ attention on Dec. 8, 2014, and on Jan. 5, 2015 the 13 involved students were suspended from clinic. On Jan. 9, the university also announced that an external third-party task force would investigate the situation. The university, along with the female students affected, has decided to pursue a restorative justice process, which is more victim-centered and will give the affected students a say in working toward a resolution. What can we learn from this situation?
As dental students, we tend to focus on gaining as much clinical experience and knowledge as we possibly can during our dental school years. We try our best to avoid the confusing world of insurance, not thinking about the eventual contracts we will likely sign with dental insurance companies, or “third party payers”. Within these written agreements are a number of possible stipulations and common practices that will affect the way we run our practice and treat our patients.
For example, what if I told you that as an out-of-network, or non-participating provider, a dental insurance company could refuse to forward reimbursement to you, as this would be considered a “perk” of being an in-network contracted dentist? Read on for a list of common dental insurance practices for which every dental student and new dentist should be aware…