The TeleDentists: Teledentistry Option During Coronavirus​

Tags: Dental Marketing, Front Office Team, DSO Series, Practice Leadership, Billing & Coding, Coronavirus, COVID-19 Teledentistry is quickly becoming a popular option for dentists seeking to stay open and see emergency dental patients during the coronavirus outbreak. The TeleDentists service was founded by Maria Kunstadter, DDS. It offers dentists a HIPAA-compliant teledentistry method to (1) stay connected with their current patients of record and (2) connect with new patients seeking a dentist.In this video, Dr. Kunstadter talks with Patient Prism CEO Amol Nirgudkar and nationally-known dental insurance expert Teresa Duncan about how it provides revenue for dentists during the coronavirus pandemic. How The TeleDentists Service Works Dentists can visit TheTeleDentists.com website  for an overview. In a nutshell, dentists who sign up for The TeleDentists receive a custom website link (URL) that they can put on their website and share via email or text message with their current patients.  That allows current patients of record to schedule an online consultation with their own dentist through The TeleDentists service. Dentists can also connect with new patients via The TeleDentists service. Dentists can sign up to provide online consultations. When a new patient completes the online medical history form, The TeleDentists will connect the patient with a dentist who’s available to perform the 10-minute video consult. The dentist then determines if the patient needs to see a dentist for urgent care, can postpone treatment, or can go to the local pharmacy to purchase a temporary solution. Dentists can perform virtual dental consultations for patients both in their geographic area and outside of it. Dentists can also sign up with The TeleDentists to have emergency dental patients forwarded to their practice. Another dentist may be the one that performs the remote dental consultation and recommends the patient get seen quickly, and then The TeleDentists receptionist will provide the patient with the contact information for a dentist in the patient’s zip code / geographic area. The virtual consultations can take place from the dentist’s home or office. What Can Dentists Do Via Teledentistry?  The number one reason patients like teledentistry is because it lets them know if the dental problem they are experiencing is serious. Many teledentistry calls are about toothaches, pain, swelling, cracked teeth, chipped teeth, loose teeth, abscesses, cold sores, filling fell out, temporary crown came off, broken denture, etc. Parents often use teledentistry to ask questions about their children’s teeth and whether something is normal. Current patients of record who use clear aligners like teledentistry because the general dentist or orthodontist can determine whether the patient is ready for his or her next set of aligners and simply mail them out. Teledentistry eliminates the need for unnecessary exposure during this coronavirus outbreak, while still providing dental expertise. And it gives dentists a way to stay in touch with their current patients during this challenging time. It also gives the dentist the opportunity to triage dental emergency calls and determine how many members of the dental team will be needed to treat the patient in-office. How Do Dentists Bill for Teledentistry? The TeleDentists is HIPAA-compliant and includes the protocols needed to gather the patient’s data so it can be submitted to insurance companies for reimbursement. “Many of the carriers have relaxed their in-person requirement for the limited evaluation,” said Teresa Duncan, author of Moving Your Patients to Yes: Easy Insurance Conversations. “This is an unprecedented situation and carriers are being more flexible. There is a cost involved with being a teledentist and that’s why we have 9995 and 9996 codes as descriptors.  So you charge for the limited exam, and then add the descriptor code,“ she explained. The D9995 code is for synchronous teledentistry consultations, which means that the consult happened in real-time, and the D9996 code for asynchronous consultations, which is when the dentist is assessing the patient based on information that has been collected and forwarded to the dentist for review. Read the ADA's Teledentistry Guidance The TeleDentists collect a payment from the patient at the time of service for the consultation, which is typically $69 but has been decreased to $49 to increase access to care during the coronavirus shutdown. Contact The TeleDentists for more information on revenue collection.Teledentistry after Coronavirus “At the end of the day, you want to provide dental care,” said Dr. Kunstadter. “By staying in close contact with your patients and helping them when they really need it, you’ll be on a good footing when you reopen. You’ll be able to schedule those people and say let’s get that filling fixed now.” Plus, keeping patients in the dental office and not in the emergency room is vital right now. Typically, people spent $1.7 billion in emergency room treatment for dental problems. “Who would want to go into the emergency room with a toothache and come out with a virus?” asked Dr. Kundstadter. “It’s critical that we help them get the care they need. They should be calling a dentist.” Telemedicine has been around for more than two decades. Now teledentistry is catching up. “A new study shows 78% of people would like to have teledentistry as an option, and that was before coronavirus hit,” said Dr. Kundstadter. There will be even more demand now. Resources To learn more about The TeleDentists, visit thedeledentists.com/dentists. To reach Teresa Duncan, listen to her podcasts, or order her must-have book "Moving Your Patients to Yes: Easy Insurance Conversations," please visit OdysseyMgmt.com. For more videos with industry leaders and downloadable guides, visit PatientPrism.com/Guides.​

How Teledentistry Has Changed – In the Past 30 Days​

What has changed for teledentistry since the onset of Covid 19?  In a word, everything. For Patients Patients can no longer visit their dentists as most offices have closed or are only seeing emergency patients.  Patients can no longer go the Emergency Room for dental pain as they are standing on long lines or getting turns away.  Patients are still getting toothaches.  Many are finding The TeleDentists at www.theteledentists.com where they can see a dentist, usually within 10 minutes, who can remediate the problem, get a prescription sent to a local pharmacy, and get information about local dentists whose offices are open for emergencies.  For Dentists Many have closed their offices in compliance with the American Dental Association recommendation that dentists nationwide postpone elective procedures in response to the spread of the coronavirus disease.See: https://www.ada.org/en/publications/ada-news/2020-archive/march/ada-recommending-dentists-postpone-elective-procedures Dozens of dentists have found The TeleDentists to be able to remotely provide service to their own patients, or patients of The TeleDentists. For The Telehealth Industry Established telehealth/ telemedicine providers have seen a substantial increase in patient volume especially as President Trump and Vice President Pence have extolled the benefits of telemedicine in their daily briefings and announced relaxed regulation and expanded Medicare benefits. https://www.cms.gov/newsroom/press-releases/president-trump-expands-telehealth-benefits-medicare-beneficiaries-during-covid-19-outbreak https://mhealthintelligence.com/news/feds-ok-interstate-licensing-paving-way-for-telehealth-expansion  Among the new policies, the CMS Fact Sheet listed these key takeaways:For the duration of the emergency, Medicare will pay for telehealth services furnished to beneficiaries “in all areas of the country in all settings” at the same rate of as regular, in-person visits.HHS will not conduct audits to track whether there was a prior patient-physician relationship for claims submitted during the public health emergency.Patients must initiate services, but physicians may inform their patients on the availability of telehealth services. In addition,States are allowing license flexibilityThe general policy regarding medical licensure and telehealth is that the physician must be licensed in the state where the patient is located at the time of treatment. The AMA telehealth guide notes that CMS has waived this requirement for Medicare patients and that states may request a waiver for Medicaid patients. “Discretion” on HIPAA rulesThe OCR, the HIPAA-enforcement arm of the HHS, announced that it will exercise “enforcement discretion” and would not impose penalties for noncompliance with regulatory requirements during the “good faith provision of telehealth” services during the COVID-19 national public health emergency.Prescribing of Controlled SubstancesThe Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) published a COVID-19 Information Page on the Diversion Control Division website, providing guidance relating to the COVID-19 public health emergency, including the ability to prescribe controlled substances via telemedicine without a prior in-person exam.Some Telehealth companies have been forced to let patients know to expect delays.  This notice was found on the web site of a major provider: We are experiencing longer than normal wait times due to the COVID-19 pandemic. For The TeleDentists Significantly increased patient volumes, hundreds of interested dentists, new business opportunities, very little sleep. We have signed agreements with two multi-state DSOs (dental service organizations) and will be implementing service for their dentists and patients this week.  We are also in discussion with several major insurance companies who want to provide relief for their patients during the crisis.  Our dentists have stepped up significantly.  Our partners have been understanding.  Our technology vendor has been able to handle the increase in volume. Is this the turning point we hoped for which will put teledentistry on the map? We at The TeleDentists are amazed and humbled by the response from healthcare workers and support staff around the country and are hoping to do our part.  We pray that readers of this blog and their families are healthy and safe.  We’re all in this together. Howard Reis, CEO, The TeleDentists​

DONT CLOSE YOUR DENTAL OFFICE: THE TELEDENTISTS ARE OPEN FOR BUSSINESS

The TeleDentists have a national network of dentists providing video consults for patients with dental emergencies.  They provide “Talk to a Dentist Now” 24/7/365 Dentist availability for patients and “My TeleDentist” for providers.  There are several opportunities to engage. Offer teledentistry (via video consults) to your patients experiencing dental emergencies during the crisis. Let your patients know that they can “talk to a dentist now” by visiting the website, .Sign up to be a teledentist and get paid on a case by case basis.  The case volume is currently low, but expected to increase dramatically due to some pending contracts.For additional information on any of the above, contact Leah Sigler at leahs@theteledentists.com.​

NATIONAL CHILDREN'S DENTAL HEALTH MONTH

By Leah Sigler The February 2020 is National Children's Dental Health Month, bringing together thousands of dedicated professionals, healthcare providers, and educators to promote the benefits of good oral health for children. This year marks the 75th anniversary of community water fluoridation. In 1945, Grand Rapids, Michigan, became the first city in the world to fluoridate its drinking water. The American Dental Association and oral healthcare specialists are committed to fluoridation of public water supplies as the single most effective public health measure to help prevent tooth decay. More than 70 years of scientific research has consistently shown that an  of fluoride in community water is safe and effective and prevents tooth decay by at least 25% in both children and adults. The  named community water fluoridation one of 10 great public health achievements of the 20th century. “National Children’s Dental Health Month has a special meaning now that I am a grandmother,” said Dr. Bonita D. Neighbors, a former member of the ADA Council on Advocacy for Access and Prevention who also served on the National Fluoridation Advisory Committee. “Drinking fluoridated tap water supports my granddaughter’s health through proper hydration and by preventing cavities. As a profession, let’s celebrate with our patients and our community one of the top 10 public health achievements of the 20th century, community water fluoridation. As dentists, we know the important role of pediatric oral health on systemic health and disease prevention.” Why should we focus on children’s dental health? According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, more than 50 percent of children will be affected by tooth decay before age five. Furthermore, according to the Office of the Surgeon General, more than 51 million school hours are lost each year to dental-related conditions. These staggering statistics are what keep dentists and other dental specialists awake at night. In order to combat the silent epidemic of oral disease, it is important to implement preventative measures. For example, the 2-2-2 Rule. Help keep your child’s teeth healthy by using the 2-2-2 rule: visit your dentist two times a year, and brush and floss TWO times a day for TWO whole minutes! How do you get kids to brush their teeth? Many pediatric dentists recommend parents follow the “tell, show, do” model: Tell: In age-appropriate language, explain how to brush and floss and how those actions keep teeth clean and healthy Show: Let children watch when mom or dad brush and floss their own teeth Do: Help children brush and floss their teeth in the morning and before bed and keep a regular routine so they know it’s expected. Continue helping to brush a child’s teeth until age 4 or 5. After that, let them do it themselves, but supervise them until age 7 or 8. both children and adults should brush for two minutes, twice a day It is time to invest in preventative dental care! According to the American Dental Hygienists Association, every dollar spent on preventative dental care could save $8 to $50 in restorative and emergency dental treatments and potentially more in additional types of medical treatment. A child should see a pediatric dentist when their first tooth appears, or by his or her first birthday. By introducing children to dentists and good oral hygiene early, they will establish life-long healthy habits. These health habits will prevent oral disease in future generations. For more questions on children’s dental month and how to keep your child’s mouth health, contact one of The TeleDentists’s Oral Health Specialists! ​

Dental pain does not have a schedule

On average, in The United States, six million people annually experience an urgent dental problem but lack access to a regular dentist or are unable to find a dentist who can see them quickly. Typical dental office hours are Monday through Thursday, 9-5. But everyone knows dental pain does not have set hours. So, what do you do when you have a dental emergency in the middle of the night? The American Dental Association documents over two million annual ED visits in the US for nontraumatic dental problems. However, Hospital Emergency Department (ED) dental visits are significant, costly public health problem. Furthermore, EDs not equipped or staffed to provide definitive dental solutions; the patient’s symptoms might be treated, but problems not resolved. Finally, the answer is here: The TeleDentists. Much like any other specialty using tele-medicine, dentists are now able to perform video consults connecting through the patient’s laptop, tablet or smart phone to a virtual dentist. The TeleDentists deliver vital dental services virtually wherever, whenever a dentist is needed. They provide help with dental emergencies, answers to oral health issues, and training/education for patients and staff. People in need of support can consult with their dentist online and get the benefits of the right specialist so their care will be specific to their medical/dental needs. Oral disease is considered a silent epidemic worldwide and The TeleDentists is doing everything they can to alleviate this crisis. Here’s how it works:Dentist diagnoses the patient’s problem using advanced virtual care technologyDentist provides e-script for antibiotic and/or non-narcotic pain medication.Dentist arranges follow-on care as needed The TeleDentists, the first national provider of teledentistry, is now offering teledentistry for your dental practice! By utilizing this new technology, our office is enhancing patient access to dental care and pain relief. We can eliminate guesswork as to what is happening in a dental emergency, thereby avoiding unnecessary trips to the office, and more importantly, ED or Urgent Care clinics. Finally, we are able to improve your oral health by providing virtual dental consults at any time, for any situation. This innovative model of teledentistry saves patients time and money by providing expanded access to your dentists.

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