Cliff's Notes

The Business of Dentistry

“The HITECH Act & Legislation” & “Priority #1 New Patients”

Cliff’s Notes for August 28, 2011


Cliff Marsh, Henry Schein ……Cell: 201-321-7494……Fax: 201-262-2210…..E-mail:

“Laws or ordinances unobserved, or partially attended to, had better never have been made.”

President George Washington in a letter to James Madison, Mar. 31, 1787


In This Week’s Issue

  • The HIGHTECH Act & Congressional Legislation! (More from the NHII)
  • Priority #1, New “Quality” Patients!
  • Product Review – Prodx Spa Glove!
  • Commentary for Sunday, August 28th.


The HIGHTECH Act………………………………………………………

In today’s technical world, security has become a big issue. We all have routers & software to protect our electronic systems from viruses, but have you taken steps to protect your patient’s information? Does your staff understand the ramification of a HIPPA violation? Well, here is one more thing to add to your plate, The HITECH Act!

What is the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH Act)? Don’t you love it, they are now thinking of names to fit the acronym, go figure.

The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH Act) legislation was created to stimulate the adoption of electronic health records (EHR) and supporting technology in the United States. President Obama signed HITECH into law on February 17, 2009 as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), an economic stimulus bill.

The HITECH act stipulates that, beginning in 2011, healthcare providers will be offered financial incentives for demonstrating meaningful use of electronic health records (EHR). Incentives will be offered until 2015, after which time penalties may be levied for failing to demonstrate such use. The Act also establishes grants for training centers for the personnel required to support a health IT infrastructure

There are Three Significant Areas that Effect Healthcare Organizations in regards to protecting Private Health Information. This is where you need to employ a “defensive” business strategy.

  1. New Federal Breach Disclosure Laws – Making it mandatory for Healthcare Institutions to publically announce breaches of private health information.

Example: Mr. & Mrs. Smith are separated and Mom has legal custody of little Jonny. Dad brings Jonny for his appointment because Mom can’t leave work. You find a small problem and discuss it with Dad. However, Mom has legal custody and without her written permission to talk to Dad, you violated HIPPA confidentiality. If Mom decides to challenge this situation, you would be required, by federal law, to publically announce the breach.

  1. Health & Human Services Audits – New Security Audits are no longer an option that HHS can exercise. They are not required to perform regular audits.
  2. Fines and Repercussions – The disclosure of data theft incidents will result in lawsuits, customer upheaval, loss of stock and brand recognition and cost to healthcare providers of millions of dollars in losses.

Suggestion: Contact your State Dental Association. If you are not a member, you may want to consider joining. As an example, the NJDA has a staffed legal team that up-to-date on all of the new regulations and suggestions for compliance. They will also consult with your legal team should any situations arise.

Prevention, detection, and incident response measures are the fundamental tools that are needed to help healthcare providers protect health record data and solve HIPPA compliance. This means a concerted effort to protect data inside databases and overall security and accountability across the enterprise. The practice management software you are using directly affects your ability to comply. When choosing software, pick a big company with a lot of resources.

You need to start planning on securing your data base today. I am trained to identify HIPPA & OSHA violations and I see them in every dental office I walk into. For my clients I provide at no cost a basic regulatory compliance review. Please feel free to contact me at any time to schedule an evaluation.

Priority #1 – New “Quality” Patients!……………………………………………..

Nothing happens in your practice until the patient sits in the chair. How does that happen? Or should I say “how did it used to happen”?

You need to start by understanding how many patients you need to sustain your practice. A healthy single doc practice with 4 days of hygiene needs an active patient base of 1200 people to maintain a $1M business. Both numbers may vary depending on the type of dentistry you do and the insurance programs you work with, but the average will hold true. The average is based on every patient receiving a prophy & exam twice/year and that every patient will require $600.00 in additional dentistry. Now remember, some patients may need $3k in work and other nothing, but it’s the average we need to use as a measurable statistic.

The value of the average patient is about $850.00. If you take your active patient base (active being a patient seen in the last 24 months less the ones that have left the practice) and multiply that number by 850 you should come out with a number close to your gross production. If it doesn’t, we should talk. You should also take your gross collections and divide it by the number of patients. Anything over 850 is good, if it is under, we should talk.

2:05 Add to

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MAGIC FORMULA: How Many Patients Do You Need

Getting the new patient is one thing, keeping them coming back is another. That part falls on your team and you are still the team leader aren’t you? Team participation is a whole other topic that we’ll review another time. However, think about this; if you have 1,200 active patients and you did 1,400 prophy/exams last year, what happened to the other 500 patients? 500 patients @ $850.00 each = well, you do the math. A DPAT report is designed to identify problems in production. It’s a 32 page report that should be run annually, 30 days after your year end.

Losing out on 500 patients tells me you have a problem with your re-care program. Call me at any time to evaluate the cause, effect and possible resolutions.

Product Review – Prodx Spa Glove!………………………………………………..

When we think about new patients, we think about them sitting in our chair and enjoying our personalities so much that they want to return at least every 6 months. That’s exactly what the office down the street is doing. Maybe it’s time to re-create your patient’s experience. This product is great! Women patients love it and with the winter approaching it may be something you want to utilize.

Part of your “new patient” program should include a return visit. Doing something different enhances your efforts. Maybe the Spa Glove isn’t for you, but try to be unique.

SPA Gloves with Sample Patient Brochure!

Here is a 20-minute spa treatment for your hands – easy as slipping on a pair of gloves! A unique way to pamper and treat the hands of every patient while helping them to relax and to keep their hands away from the face during dental procedures. Each glove contains a high quality serum that is activated by body heat, allowing the serum to permeate the top three layers of the skin. Unlike messy paraffin treatments that seal the surface of the skin and create a mess for the office, these disposable gloves go cleanly and directly from the assistant to the patient and are bio-degradable for safe disposal.

Product #102-2322 – $53.49 – 25 pair. You can’t understand the effect until you try it!

Sunday, August 28, 2011………………………………………………….

I just a few hours we will engage the full rage of Ms. Irene. The rivers in Northern NJ will overflow, trees will fall, power lines will break and we are all going to do a lot of complaining. 

But then the Sun will come out, the rivers will recede and the land will dry. We will once again be reminded that we are only a part of the natural environment. New healthcare technologies are designed to respect that environment and they continue to be improved.

Let’s put aside the positive financial aspects and look at some examples.

  1. Digital Radiography eliminates all radiograph production waste, reduces chair time and contrary to popular belief, there is no or little additional cost to the practice.
  2. Optim 33tb Disinfectant is rated as the most effective and is non toxic as well as fully biodegradable. You need to use disinfectants anyway. No additional cost to the practice.
  3. Digital Impression Systems eliminate all impression related items as well as waste. Chair time is also reduced by about 50%. Again, there will be no or little cost to the practice.

I can keep going but I’m sure you get the picture. Anyway, enjoy the day, be safe, and make sure you have extra batteries.

“I came in from the wilderness a creature void of form, come in she said I’ll give you Shelter from the Storm”

Bob Dylan

September 1, 2011 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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