Upgrade Your Dental Office Payment Options

By Brian Eggert, IC System

Here’s something you may not realize about Americans: We’re still pretty attached to paper checks, and your dental practice is probably no exception, even if credit card payments are still accepted at the front desk. Still, it’s pretty clear the paper check is on its way out. In one decade, the trusty check has gone from the most common form of non-cash payment to being eclipsed by debit cards, credit cards and electronic funds transfers, according to the Federal Reserve. Take steps to upgrade your dental office payment options. Reducing check payments also reduces the time and labor to process payments, allowing you to receive payment more quickly. This makes payment processing more efficient and decreases time and money spent on collections.

Start Accepting Electronic Insurance Payments
Dental practices have an opportunity to recapture time and money by making the switch to electronic funds transfers when processing insurance payments. According to the National Association of Dental Plans, only 11 percent of dental plans are not equipped to issue electronic payments. Yet in 2015, 92 percent of dental practices still accepted payment from health plans and providers by paper check, while the remaining 8 percent were considered fully electronic (ACH/EFT), according to the 2016 CAQH Index.

What’s interesting about this report is a majority of dental practices are already submitting claims (74 percent) and verifying eligibility and benefits (58 percent) through fully electronic means. Upgrading the system to one that accepts electronic payment from payers is the next logical step. When comparing the time spent and costs for every transaction, the savings benefits are clear:

  • Providers spend anywhere from 5-17 minutes on each paper check, versus 1-4 minutes on electronic payments.
  • Processing each check costs providers $2.89, compared to $0.69 per EFT.

Add Payment Features
In real life, patients are customers — people who have a lot of other bills to pay, and chances are, they’re using debit and credit cards. Along with that, it’s important to remember that in the span of a decade, customers now have an array of safe, easy and convenient ways to pay by credit card online and with their mobile devices. They value having control over when and where they pay. They also want to be sure it’s safe.

A secure online payment portal lets your patients pay on their terms. Even better, if the widget lets them set up automatic, recurring payments to pay down higher-cost procedures, that ensures on-time payments to you.

Adding mobile pay services at the front desk and online also is a simple and secure way to streamline the payment process for patients in and out of the office. These add another layer of security in the transaction, but allow customers to settle up without having to dig out their credit or debit cards.

Need collection help? Call us at 800.279.3511 to REQUEST PRICING!

IC System is an FDA Services (FDAS) Crown Savings Merchant. FDAS has researched and vetted business solutions so FDA members can take advantage of exclusive deals and discounts offered through the Crown Savings program. Members who participate will save time, money and hassle, putting the focus back on patient care. Crown Savings benefits members and the association as the program produces revenue for the FDA through use of the association’s trade dress and mailing list. Greater participation means more revenue for the association to add value to the FDA membership. For more information, go to fdaservices.com/ic-system.

E-FORCSE Registration Tutorial

Do you want to see how easy it is to register for the E-FORCSE database? Watch FDA President Dr. Jolene Paramore complete her registration in the video below.

 

E-forcse Registration Video from Florida Dental Association on Vimeo.

For technical assistance, please call ​877.719.3120. If you have questions specific to state policy, you may contact E-FORCSE 850.245.4797 or e-forcse@flhealth.gov.

Controlled Substances Legislation Goes Into Effect July 1

 

On July 1, new laws and rules go into effect for the prescribing and dispensing of controlled substances in Florida. Below is a snapshot of the changes and how they will affect you.

Limits Prescribing of Controlled Substances for Acute Pain

  • Three-day limit prescription for acute pain
    • Acute pain: the normal, predicted, physiological and time-limited response to an adverse chemical, thermal or mechanical stimulus associated with surgery, trauma or acute illness.
    • Exceptions for acute pain includes cancer, a terminal condition, palliative care and traumatic injury.
  • Exception to three-day limit is a seven-day limit prescription for acute pain (dentists can write a seven-day prescription using their professional judgement that their patient needs more than a three-day limit). Must write on prescription “acute pain exception” and document in patient’s record their acute medical condition and lack of alternative treatment.
  • For treatment of pain other than acute pain, a prescriber must indicate “non-acute pain” on a prescription for an opioid drug listed as a Schedule II controlled substance.

Dispensing Limits on Practitioners

  • Dispensing controlled substances listed in Schedule II, for the treatment of acute pain, may not exceed a three-day supply, or a seven-day supply based on the same parameters listed above for prescribers.
  • Dispensing controlled substances listed in Schedule III, for the treatment of acute pain, may not exceed a 14-day supply.
  • Verifying the identity of an individual must be done prior to dispensing a controlled substance, if not already known to the dentist.

Mandatory Two-hour CE Training on Controlled Substances

  • All health care providers who are authorized to prescribe controlled substances and are registered with the United States Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) to prescribe controlled substances must complete a board-approved two-hour continuing education (CE) course by Jan. 31, 2019, and at each subsequent licensure renewal. Failure to take the two-hour CE course could impact licensure renewal.
  • The new law limits approved providers authorized to offer the two-hour CE course to include only statewide professional associations of physicians in Florida that are accredited to provide such educational courses (some collaborative efforts have been granted, but are limited, and must have approval from appropriate health care boards). The ONLY approved CE providers are: the Florida Medical Association, Florida Osteopathic Medical Association, Florida Academy of Family Physicians and Florida College of Emergency Physicians.
  • This two-hour CE course is now available online. To access the course, please click here.

Mandates Checking the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) Database

  • Florida’s PDMP database is known as E-FORCSE (Electronic-Florida Online Reporting of Controlled Substance Evaluation Program), which is administered through the Department of Health. To register, please click here. For step-by-step instructions on how to register, please click here.
  • Providers must check the PDMP database (E-FORCSE) before prescribing or dispensing Schedules II, III, IV and V controlled substances for patients 16 years old or older starting on July 1, 2018. For a list of controlled substances, please click here. For step-by-step instructions on how to search for a patient in the PDMP, please click here. For step-by-step instructions on how to search for multiple patients at once, please click here.
  • Providers are exempted from checking the PDMP database for “non-opioid” Schedule V controlled substances (does not contain any amount of a substance listed as an opioid).
  • Health care providers are authorized to designate multiple staff members to check the PDMP on their behalf. For more information on designate/delegate management, please click here.
  • Failure to check the PDMP database prior to the prescribing of a controlled substance could be subject to a non-disciplinary citation from the appropriate licensing board.

For more information, please visit flhealthsource.gov/FloridaTakeControl or floridadental.org/e-forcse.

NTP Study Strengthens Evidence Showing Fluoridated Water is a Safe Way to Prevent Tooth Decay, But Critics Ignore the Study They Once Welcomed

AFS logo

A study led by researchers at the federal government’s National Toxicology Program (NTP) has found no link between elevated levels of fluoride and cognitive harms. Released in February, the NTP study examined rats that consumed food and water with varying exposures of fluoride during their prenatal development through their adulthood. At these exposures, the researchers reported that they “observed no exposure-related differences in motor, sensory, or learning and memory performance” for any of the nine different tests they conducted.

Although fluoride critics often assert that fluoridation is harmful to the thyroid, the NTP study revealed that thyroid hormone levels were not altered by exposure to levels as high as 10 or 20 parts per million (PPM) of fluoride.

Critics’ Noteworthy Silence

When the NTP study was first announced, the Fluoride Action Network (FAN)—the leading anti-fluoride group in the U.S. — welcomed the news with a headline declaring that the study’s findings “could end fluoridation.” FAN cited the NTP’s “cutting edge scientific tools” and wrote that the NTP’s decision to conduct a study “puts a lie to [proponents’] claims” about fluoridation.

The American Fluoridation Society (AFS) noted that FAN has been distinctly quiet since the NTP study results were publicly released.

“Critics of community water fluoridation were thrilled when the NTP said they would conduct a thorough study of this issue,” said AFS President Johnny Johnson. “However, they have been as quiet as a church mouse since the NTP’s findings were made public. Once again, they choose to ignore the studies that don’t fit into their fear-based mindset.”

The NTP research studied rats that consumed water with three different concentrations of fluoride (0, 10 and 20 PPM) and two different fluoride levels in food: 20.5 PPM (a standard diet) and 3.24 PPM (low-fluoride diet). The only side effect found by the NTP study was inflammation of the prostate gland, which was observed only at a fluoride exposure that was far above the level of human exposure by drinking fluoridating water.

In addition to the NTP study, research published in 2015 by the Journal of Public Health found no link at all between fluoridation and IQ scores. This 2015 study was conducted in New Zealand, where fluoridation programs are common. The New Zealand study examined a large sample of people and examined IQ scores collected over a 31-year period.

Few public health topics have been researched as thoroughly as CWF. In fact, the database maintained by the U.S. National Library of Medicine contains more than 56,000 studies or research papers on fluoride. And the Library’s records include more than 6,400 studies that focus specifically on fluoridation.

Two other recent reports reinforce the safety of fluoridated water. In a report issued this March, Public Health England reviewed the evidence surrounding fluoridation and reached this conclusion: “The findings of this report agree with the view that water fluoridation is an effective and safe public health measure to reduce the frequency and severity of dental decay, and narrow differences in dental health between more and less deprived children and young people.”

In April, the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) issued a report stating that “there is currently no scientific basis for concerns about the safety of children and adults” due to fluoride exposure from foods and drinks.

For more information, visit americanfluoridationsociety.org.