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Protocols

Talking About Sleep Health in the Dentist’s Office

Dentists who are enthusiastic about dental sleep medicine know that the medical nature of the field makes it a sensitive topic to broach with patients. Dentists are not typically the first professionals one calls to seek treatment for sleep apnea; the traditional perception of dentists is that they are chiefly tooth doctors and gum specialists, and have little to bring to sleep medicine.

For this reason, we at Medical Billing for Dentists have developed a set of protocols that have proven the most successful ways of initiating conversations about sleep health with patients. Often dentists who are starting to implement and organize their sleep medicine program are unaware just how critical the right language and timing can be—and few understand the importance of medical dental billing in getting their patients the sleep health care they need.

To learn more about our protocols for sleep medicine success, call us today at 866-602-6550 to arrange a phone consultation with one of our experienced staff members.

Protocols for the Whole Team and the Whole Process

For patients who are not getting effective sleep apnea treatment from their medical providers—for whatever reason—we find that it sometimes “takes a village” to make them receptive toward having a conversation with their dentist about sleep health. That’s why we offer explicit guidance for the language that each staff member should use when addressing the topic, including flowcharts and protocols to orchestrate (a) getting patients on board, and (b) taking them through the steps of effective treatment.

The 8 Steps of Dental Sleep Medicine

From our years of experience in this field, we know what works, and will share these best practices with you and your staff. There are essentially eight steps to getting patients the sleep health care they need. As you’ll see, medical dental billing can be a pivotal choke point for many patients.

Step 1 – Screening Patients for Sleep Health Issues

This won’t look quite the same as the way we screen for oral cancer or gum disease, of course. Rather, it consists of generally helping patients and staff learn to be more aware of sleep health issues, and how they may manifest.

Step 2 – Planning Recommendations for Testing

This step requires a discussion of how and where we direct patients for sleep testing. The protocols for this step will vary significantly depending on individual factors of medical history: for example, has the patient been sleep tested before? Are they complying with treatment from medical providers? What factors may make them more receptive to testing?

Step 3 – Getting Patients Tested

Our protocols cover the best ways to (1) give at-risk patients options that are likely to be received positively, and (2) establish and maintain a positive relationship with an established sleep testing facility/clinic.

Step 4: Putting Together the Case

Much of this step involves gathering the documentation needed to direct medical billing for case presentation. This will lay the framework for us to develop a successful medical dental billing scheme for your patient. These behind-the-scenes protocols allow us to check benefits, deductibles, and other medical history and insurance information—all toward the goal of presenting a case your patient will accept.

Step 5: Presenting the Case

Our protocols are geared toward sharing the findings of our medical dental billing investigation and presenting the case to the patient by so he or she understands insurance coverage and out-of-pocket expenses.

Step 6: Treatment

For practices who need this, our protocols cover choosing an appliance that will be successful for the patient. For example, this usually involves taking dental impressions and using them to predict the value of various appliances that may be appropriate to the patient’s needs.

Step 7: Post Delivery Follow-up

We can help you determine whether the appliance may need adjustment or titration, and how to implement these adjustments so the patients does not view them as evidence of “another sleep apnea failure.”

Step 8: Follow-up Sleep Testing

As a final step, nothing is better at establishing efficacy than follow-up sleep testing.

Medical Dental Billing: A Critical Piece of the Sleep Medicine Puzzle

In the field of dental sleep medicine, billing is not a post-treatment matter. Your ability to make a positive change in a patient’s life will often rest entirely on your ability to get him or her past step 4 (case presentation). At Medical Billing for Dentists, we have learned through trial and error that case presentation for sleep medicine is rarely as straightforward as it is with more traditional dental services.  Our protocols are designed to get your patients the greatest possible coverage, so you can give them the best possible outcome.

To learn more about our protocols for sleep medicine success, call us today at 866-602-6550 to arrange a phone consultation with one of our experienced staff members.

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