DrBicuspid.com Practice Management Insider

Dear Practice Management Insider,

While the recent "fiscal cliff" negotiations will increase taxes for many U.S. dentists, the cloud does have a silver lining for those who can take advantage of increased deductions for new equipment and the extension of other tax breaks.

We spoke to CPA J. Haden Werhan, who specializes in financial planning for dentists, to find out how they can benefit from the tax changes, as well as ways they can offset the new higher taxes. Click here to read more.

In a related story in the Practice Management Community, most products made by U.S. dental labs will not be subject to the new 2.3% federal medical device tax that took effect last month. But sleep apnea devices, snore guards, and most of the materials and components labs use to make many products or restorations will be. Read what the tax means for dentists and how it will be collected.

In other healthcare reform news, while some 5.3 million children will gain dental coverage in 2014 thanks to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), up to 11 million adults could drop their own dental coverage when their children are covered separately, according to the National Association of Dental Plans. Click here to read what changes in dental coverage may lie ahead.

In a related story, many baby boomers are wondering about dental coverage after they retire and no longer have such insurance through their employer. In her latest Dental Diaries entry, Dr. Sheri B. Doniger discusses what she tells her patients who are looking for alternatives to paying for dental care out of pocket.

And several states are moving forward with plans to meet the 2014 health insurance exchange mandate of the ACA. But how are these exchanges faring when it comes to establishing dental benefits packages for children and adults? Click here to find out.

Meanwhile, ongoing economic turmoil, declines in dental spending, and reimbursements cuts can take a toll on dental practitioners. But Dr. Don Deems points out that understanding your personal values can help with decision-making and keep you on track for what is meaningful in your life as well as your practice.

And some good news for dentists: Spending on dental services in the U.S. is showing modest but gradual increases, according to estimates from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Read how the dental economy and out-of-pocket dental spending has grown over the last few years.

On the technology front, do you use Dropbox, YouSendIt, or email to send images and other patient data to your lab or colleagues? If so, you might want to rethink the practice, given the growing emphasis on HIPAA compliance and patient privacy. Have you considered trying "the cloud"?

Finally, are electronic patient records part of your five-year plan? In our new series, EHR Countdown, healthcare IT expert Mike Uretz will share his expertise on how to evaluate and select electronic health record and healthcare software solutions, structure and negotiate contracts, and provide vendor management and oversight.

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