DrBicuspid.com Practice Management Insider

Dear Practice Management Insider,

The potential pitfalls of getting involved with a patient's personal finances became clear this month when New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo launched an investigation of 10 healthcare providers -- six of them dental offices -- that helped their patients sign up for CareCredit healthcare credit cards. The probe calls into question a financing option that has become increasingly popular during the economic recession.

You can read all about the investigation -- and get some practical advice on how to help patients pay for much-needed care, especially in lean times -- in our latest Insider Exclusive.

In other Practice Management Community news, the most recent ADA salary and economic confidence surveys indicate that, as in other sectors of the U.S. economy, many dentists are beginning to see signs that the recession is easing. Click here to read more.

But the recession has created some unique business opportunities as well. Gray-market dental products are showing up more and more, according to industry experts, and dental practitioners may not know they're using them. While you may be tempted by ads offering products at discounts of 10% to 50%, just remember the old maxim: If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Read more.

And two new websites offer patients the ability to bid online for dental and medical services and pick the best offer from competing practices. Is this a marketing tool worth looking into? Read more here.

On the technology front, just months after the introduction of Apple's iPad, many dentists are already singing its praises. Early adopters say it's great for charting, displaying x-rays, managing dental records, and entertaining and educating patients. Read more here.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued two reports suggesting how the 510(k) review process for medical devices could be improved. The goal, the agency says, is to encourage innovation, provide regulatory predictability, and ensure patient safety. But some industry observers say these changes will disrupt a system that has served patients well for more than 30 years. Read that story here.

And the pitfalls of even the most basic office technology became clear with recent reports of patient data found on copy machines. Does your office copier pose a HIPAA risk? Click here to read more.

In other news, new workforce models as a potential solution to access-to-care challenges continue to prompt discussion. As the ADA House of Delegates prepares to debate the issue of midlevel providers at the association's annual meeting in October, two regional groups recently met at ADA headquarters in their ongoing efforts to help individual states examine their options. zRead more.

Finally, a valid economic model is the key to resolving the debate over midlevel providers, asserts Robert Wartell, D.D.S., a general dentist in private practice in Santa Fe, NM. In his Second Opinion column, he outlines what he sees as the real economics of midlevel providers.

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