Wash. dental cutbacks taking a toll; more CDT changes on the way

Dear DrBicuspid Member,

The Washington Dental Service Foundation -- an affiliate of Delta Dental -- is urging members of the state Legislature to rethink cuts made to Medicaid adult dental benefits nearly two years ago, noting that emergency room (ER) visits for dental treatment have increased dramatically since the cuts took effect.

In January 2011, the state Legislature eliminated nonemergency dental benefits for nearly 450,000 adults; during a recent 18-month period, there were 54,000 dental-related visits to Washington ERs, costing more than $36 million, according to the foundation. Will reinstating some benefits reverse this trend? Read more.

Meanwhile, the process by which the ADA's Code on Dental Procedures and Nomenclature (CDT) is revised has undergone a revamping itself, with a more broad-based maintenance committee and greater transparency. Click here to read what prompted the changes, plus a sneak peek at some new and revised codes that will take effect in 2013.

In other technology news, as more dental offices transition to digital dentistry, many opt to take a "best of breed" approach as they invest in new hardware and software. But how can you ensure that multivendor programs and devices will work together seamlessly? Health IT expert Mike Uretz offers some helpful tips.

And in a related feature, Dr. Marty Jablow answers a reader's question about how to open image files that she receives as email attachments when she doesn't own the same imaging system as the sender.