Cliff's Notes

The Business of Dentistry

Dental Clinical Liabilities

Cliff’s Notes For September 22, 2008 …..E-Blast…..
Cliff Marsh, Henry Schein ……
Cell: 201-321-7494……Fax: 201-262-2210…..
cliff.marsh@henryschein.com

“Defense Wins Games & Offence Sells Tickets” “Defense Wins Games” is a well known phrase in competitive sports and it hold true for most situations that I have been involved with over the years. Let’s talk about some of the defensive points in a dental practice. To start, we need to examine your clinical liabilities.

1.Quality and broken appliance issues are rather easy to deal with, we have all been there. As long the patients chart is clear, up to date and all treatment plans have been signed off on and approved the resolutions to these situations are usually not too painful.

2. Oral Cancer. It takes about four years for an oral cancer to become invasive. The ADA guide lines only require visual screening. New technologies can now detect abnormal tissue before it becomes cancerous. If you do incorporate this new technology , the patient must sign a waver should they not want the procedure. This is regardless of whether or not the service is free or at a specified cost. If a long time patient develops oral cancer while under your care, you will have to legally defend yourself. The better records you have (defense) the less it will cost and the faster the case will be over. It may sound cold, but the court is not interested in how much you “care”.

3. The ADA has stated that periodontal disease affects over 80% of the adult population in the United States. Over 35% are at an advanced stage that require “soft tissue management”. I know that all you hear lately is “soft tissue, big $$” but in the real world the dollar is the offense. The defense is your early diagnosis and treatment. If a patient has been coming to your office for several years and develops a periodontal condition, it had better be noted in their chart of the previous concerns and conversations you have had with them with regard to “gum disease. Make sure they signed the chart. Now let’s look at the #1 non-clinical issue……..Employment law. Yes there is such a thing and it is designed to protect your employees from you and you from your employees. You need to have an employee file for everyone that works for you. From the first application they fill out (and they all need to fill out employment applications) to the day they leave. Everything regarding their tenure must be documented and signed by all parties. You need to have an employee handbook that clearly states office policy. You can not terminate an employee without due cause and such cause must be documented and signed or witnessed Consult your legal advisors for more details. I can’t tell you the amount of exposure you will have if you don’t do this right. It is time consuming, but it is part of running a business. As always, I am available if you should have any questions or concerns (201-321-7494) or you can contact our compliance specialists (Health Compliance Team)) directly at 1-800-724-1263. Cliff’s Notes is a client exclusive service.
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October 16, 2009 - Posted by | 1

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