DrBicuspid.com Practice Management Insider

Dear Practice Management Insider,

The rain in Washington, DC, last week didn't dampen the mood as leading oral health advocates gathered on Capitol Hill to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the surgeon general's report on oral health in the U.S.

At a September 29 reception co-hosted by Oral Health America and the Dental Trade Alliance, the speakers noted that while much progress has been made in the past decade, there is more work to be done, especially in increasing access to care for underserved populations, educating the public about the importance of oral health, and ensuring that the oral health provisions in the Affordable Health Care for America Act are funded.

Click here to read our latest Insider Exclusive and learn what you can do to help promote these critical issues among your patients and colleagues.

In other news out of Washington, DC, two U.S. federal agencies are taking issue with certain dental products. On September 24, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a safety alert to dental practitioners and dental handpiece manufacturers following new reports of patients being burned by handpieces that overheat during treatment.

Three days later, the Environmental Protection Agency announced its intentions to regulate dental amalgam waste with a new rule that will require all U.S. dental practices to separate the mercury from their amalgam waste prior to disposal.

Meanwhile, organized dentistry has been busy lobbying against two measures that would affect the day-to-day business of dentistry: a proposed 2.3% excise tax that would be levied on manufacturers of most dental devices, and a new 1099 provision that would require small businesses to report all purchases of more than $600 annually to the Internal Revenue Service.

At the state level, Texas legislators are considering a range of cuts to children's dental programs as they grapple with a $9.9 billion budget deficit, and the state's Children's Health Insurance Program could be on the chopping block. Read more.

And the Georgia and Michigan dental associations have each released white papers outlining their recommendations for resolving access-to-care issues in their respective states. Not surprisingly, the midlevel provider model is once again at the forefront of the debate. Click here to read how their perspectives do and don't match up.

In other Practice Management Community news, with more people visiting their dentist than their physician each year, dental practitioners can help identify patients who may have HIV or AIDS and not know it. And the earlier the diagnosis, the better the treatment outcomes. Read more.

And though office romances may be tempting, when a dental practitioner becomes romantically involved with a staff member or patient, the potential for disaster looms large. Practitioners not only risk losing money and their reputations but their license as well.

Finally, a dentist in Brazil is using readily available technologies such as an iPhone and practice management app to provide much needed care to elderly and disabled patients who are unable to get to a dental office. The experience has been so rewarding, her practice is now completely mobile. Click here to read her inspiring story.

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