DrBicuspid.com Practice Management Insider

Dear Practice Management Insider,

A Southern California dental clinic is doing something many practices shy away from: providing free care to disabled and other special-needs patients. Since opening in August, We Care Dental in Rancho Mirage has provided free dental care to almost 600 disabled patients, most of them in dire need of it.

In this latest Practice Management Insider Exclusive, we talked to Melvyn Glick, DDS, who came out of retirement to found the center, about the challenges and rewards of working with these patients and the need for more dental practitioners to do the same.

In other Practice Management Community news, dentists and patients agree that blood sugar testing in dental offices is useful and should be done routinely, according to a study in the Journal of the American Dental Association.

And dental informatics is poised to make a significant difference in the way dentists run their practices, but there is still much work to be done before practitioners can take advantage of the goldmine of information that comes from going digital, according to a leading expert in the field. Read more.

In political news, Senator Bernard Sanders (I-VT) declared during a recent Senate subcommittee hearing that America is in the midst of a dental crisis and recounted the struggles that poor, elderly, and working Americans face trying to find and pay for dental care.

And former secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Louis Sullivan, MD, wrote in a New York Times opinion piece that the dental profession and the federal government should encourage laws allowing midlevel providers (MLPs). Read why he thinks dental therapists could provide an immediate solution to providing care for the 5.3 million additional children who will be entitled to dental care in 2014 under the healthcare reform's pediatric mandate.

In a related story, an extensive review of the literature documenting care provided by dental therapists worldwide indicates that these caregivers offer safe, effective dental care, especially for children, according to a new report by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

However, MLPs still face an uphill battle in gaining acceptance by most private dentists, according to a session on building the oral healthcare workforce at the recent American Association for Dental Research's annual meeting.

Meanwhile, cash-strapped states are shouldering an extra burden to cover expensive emergency room (ER) treatment for toothaches and other avoidable dental ailments, according to a new report by the Pew Center on the States. Click here to read how much ER visits have increased and how states can reduce hospital visits, improve oral health, and reduce costs.

And the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has issued rules about the coming mandated pediatric dental coverage which require that standalone dental plans have the same cost-sharing limits and restrictions on annual and lifetime limits as qualified health plans. Click here to read details.

Finally, what hygienists are allowed to do and where they are allowed to do it would change in a number of ways under proposed bills being considered by states across the U.S. Click here to read what changes Connecticut is considering during its current legislation session.

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