Dentist Offers Dental Care for Trade

Uninsured Patients Invited to Barter for Dental Care

Dr. Harry Rayburn of Tupelo, Mississippi, experimented recently with a “Trade Day” at his dental practice. He offered fillings, extractions and cleanings in return for traded items. The event was more about helping uninsured patients than bartering for the actual value of the dental work involved.

Patients started lining up before 6am. Not long after the office opened at 9am, 60 patients had signed in, and the rest had to be turned away. Though that’s three times as many patients as Dr. Rayburn sees on a normal day, he was committed to treating every last one.

Traded items include artwork, bicycles, cakes and pies. Some will be divvied up among the practice’s team members, and the rest will be donated to charity. Dr. Rayburn (who cites the movie “Doc Hollywood” as his inspiration) says he’s considering making “Trade Day” a regular event.

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Dental Marketing: Cosmetic Injectables, A Smart Economic Move for Dentists?

Dentists offering injectablesDepending on the dentist surveyed, the use of injectables in the dental office is either not a part of general dentistry, a smart economic move, or something dentists can do very well.

To dentists who support offering injectables as part of their dental marketing, they see it merely as a natural extension of the cosmetic treatments that they already provide. To dentists who dislike the idea, injectables are just an invitation to a malpractice lawsuit.

One thing is for sure: Injectables have become one of the most popular cosmetic medical procedures in the United States. According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, the number of non-surgical cosmetic treatments, such as injectables, has jumped 228% since 1997.

Who will fill the demand?

The Wealthy Dentist conducted a survey asking dentists if they have started administering injectable treatments such as BOTOX® and Dermal fillers for cosmetic reasons. 85% of the dentists surveyed responded, “No!” for a variety of reasons.

Here is what they had to say –

Not a part of dentistry…

“These procedures should not be done by a dentist.” (Indiana dentist)

“They’re cheesy and unprofessional!” (California prosthodontist)

“They’re not dental procedures. I don’t care if some dentists want to do them. I know one who does them and he says women can get their husbands to pay these bills from the dentist, but would be more scrutinizing about bills from a plastic surgeon.” (Illinois dentist)

“It’s not part of dentistry.” (California dentist)

A smart economic move …

“I think I will get myself trained to be able to expand my cosmetic dentistry packages.” (General dentist)

“Patients pay up front for a quick procedure with no insurance paperwork. What’s not to like?” (Florida dentist)

“A great way to see patients several times a year since these patients need regular touch-ups. It can be added to a treatment package with routine dental cleanings.” (Arizona dentist)

Something dentists can do very well…

“Of course! This is something we as dentists could do very well. However, in California the oral surgeons seem to have cornered the market, so to speak…keeping the generalists out.” (California dentist)

Dentists give more injections than any other healthcare professional, so why not?” (Nebraska dentist)

“Who’s more qualified than a dentist that is already injecting patients needing fillings, or more extensive work every single day?” (West Virginia dentist)

Just an invitation to a malpractice lawsuit …

“I don’t believe extra oral injectables are within the scope of my dental license. I believe it verges on malpractice.” (Nevada dentist)

“The liability is too high; I’d rather leave it to MD’s with higher coverage.” (Texas dentist)

“I’m not sure about the complications with state and the malpractice issues with injectables.” (California orthodontist)

What are your thoughts on dentists offering injectables?

To participate in future The Wealthy Dentist surveys, please sign up for our newsletter in the right sidebar.

Dental Office Embezzlement of $100,000 in Dental Insurance Payments

Dental Office Embezzlement of $100,000 in Dental Insurance PaymentsDental office embezzlement is still alive and well in California.

Deborah Lynn Kessler, 45, pleaded guilty to four counts of grand theft over charges that she embezzled more than $100,000 in dental insurance payments at the dental practice where where was manager.

The Orange County Register reports that Kessler signed dental insurance payments over to her personal bank accounts over the course of about three years. Investigators initially said she may have used the money to pay for an RV, boats and trips, and to cover her personal bills.

She was sentenced to two years in jail, plus an additional two more years of community supervision.

According to a 2010 Association of Certified Fraud Examiners report almost one-fourth of all embezzlement cases report losses of at least $1 million with smaller businesses being the most susceptible to fraud.

The average embezzlement scheme lasts for 18 months before detection.

The U.S Chamber of Commerce estimates that employee embezzlement costs American companies $20 billion to $40 billion a year. A long-term employee is 15 times more likely than a stranger to steal from a company.

Some of the best ways to prevent dental office embezzlement is by implementing a segregation of duties, keeping petty cash to a minimum and requiring dual signatures on checks.

Has your dental practice ever been the victim of employee embezzlement? What happened, and how did you handle it?

For more on the Orange County Register story see: Dental worker guilty of stealing more than $100,000

Two Out of Three Dentists Recommend Dental Careers

Majority of Dentists Seem Happy to Be Practicing Dentistry

Dental Survey ResultsIn our most recent survey, two out of three dentists reported that they would recommend a career in dentistry to their children or grandchildren.

Female dentists were far less likely to recommend a dental career than were their male counterparts. While only 28% of male respondents said they would not recommend dentistry, fully 55% of female respondents did.

While 36% of general dentists said they would advise against a dental career, only 7% of specialists felt the same way. This suggests specialists may be happier with their careers than general practitioners.

Here are some comments from dentists…

  • “It is a wonderful career where you can truly be the boss. What could be better?” (Ohio prosthodontist)
  • “I like the profession but dislike the business of dentistry.” (New York dentist)
  • “I don’t know who is earning all that money that I read about in various surveys, but it sure isn’t me.” (Illinois dentist)
  • “Ask any physician. They’ll all admit we’ve picked the right profession.” (North Carolina dentist)
  • “I thinks the physical strain is too much. Disability comes fast.” (California dentist)
  • “It is a part of me.” (South Carolina periodontist)
  • “I wouldn’t want my children to have to experience the stress that I had to go though.” (Massachusetts dentist)
  • “Helping other people with their physical and psychological health is extremely rewarding.” (North Carolina dentist)
  • “I love the practice of dentistry, and my son is starting dental school this fall.” (Kentucky dentist)
  • “It has been corrupted by the influence of dental insurance.” (Pennsylvania dentist)
  • “It has turned out to be the best thing I could have done both personally and professionally.” (New York dentist)

Post your own comments or read the complete dental career survey results…

Orthodontic Braces: Taxpayers Spent $424 Million for Children in Texas

Orthodontic Braces: Taxpayers Spent $424 Million for Children in TexasIn June of this year, The Wealthy Dentist published a story about Taxpayers footing the bill for orthodontic braces in Texas.

In Texas, Medicaid pays dentists for orthodontics per procedure, instead of a lump sum for the “finished mouth” of straight teeth.

This has made Medicaid orthodontia a lucrative dental business in Texas.

WFAA-TV of Texas has been investigating this story for the last six months and has uncovered hundreds of millions of dollars of questionable Medicaid spending on dental braces for children in Texas. Their news reports prompted federal investigators to now audit the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, which controls the Medicaid funds.

According to the WFAA website –

In a letter to the state, the Inspector General says it will examine the “authorization process for orthodontic treatment” under Texas Medicaid. “The objective of our audit,” the letter continues, “is to review the State’s controls to ensure that only medically necessary orthodontic cases are paid.” The time period covered by the audit is September 1, 2008 through May 28, 2011.

The new station’s investigation revealed that during that period, Texas taxpayers spent $424 million on orthodontic braces for children under Medicaid. Taxpayers spent $100 million in 2008, $140 million in 2009, and $184 million in 2010, state records show.

Texas dentist, Dr. Christine Ellis, who teaches at UT Southwestern Medical Center, has twice traveled to Washington in an attempt to convince lawmakers to scale back Texas Medicaid orthodontics payments and divert funds for more pressing dental needs.

Her attempts fell on deaf ears. According to the WFAA-TV article, Ellis said, “There’s no response. No one is putting the brakes on this thing.”

Billy Millwee of the Texas Health and Human Services Commission is now telling WFAA-TV that if taxpayers money has been lost, the Attorney General might take action to get it back. He went on to say that Texas will have a new managed care Medicaid dental program beginning next spring.

For more on this story see: Feds Investigate Texas Dental Medicaid Program and Taxpayers Footing the Bill for Braces in Texas.

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