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Course aims to make Medicaid easier

April 06, 2016

By Jennifer Garvin

The rules and regulations of Medicaid may never make the New York Times bestseller list, but they're crucial to any dentist working in community health.

The Association wants to make navigating Medicaid easier for providers, which is why the ADA is hosting several Medicaid boot camps in 2016.

The courses are sponsored by the ADA Council on Access, Prevention and Interprofessional Relations Medicaid Provider Advisory Committee. The first, Maintaining your Sanity and Practice Viability as a Medicaid Provider: Embracing Program Integrity, debuted Jan. 30 during the Yankee Dental Meeting in Boston. Upcoming dates include April 8 in Phoenix and October during ADA – 2016 in Denver. There is also a one-credit introductory Medicaid course available on ADAOnline.  

Dr. Wasserman

Dr. Doherty
"For someone who is thinking about becoming a Medicaid provider, courses like these are very important," said Dr. Michael Wasserman, ADA First District rep to CAPIR from Massachusetts. "If you know how the system works and what the rules are, it will make your life easier."

The course covered a wide range of Medicaid topics, including the importance of concise and accurate patient documentation.

"Because it's Medicaid and because funds are generated on the federal and state level, you have to make sure you document everything," Dr. Wasserman said. "In Massachusetts, once you get to know the system, it's not onerous at all."

"Dentistry is a very technique-centered profession," said Dr. Mark Doherty, executive director, DentaQuest Institute. "We treat people who are a little uptight; you want to make them comfortable. Sometimes the last thing you're thinking about are rules and regulations. It's easy to make a mistake. Providers are busy trying to do put patients at ease and provide care in a timely fashion. There may be multiple patients waiting to be examined. Sometimes the last thing a dentist may want to do is paperwork. But this documentation aspect is one of the most important things you can do."

According to Dr. Doherty, who also chaired the course, some 230 people participated in the Yankee Dental Meeting event, including a mix of private practice and public health dentists. Several hygienists, administrators and medical directors attended the course as well.

The course also taught participants the role of medical necessity in treatment planning as well as the basics of how to recognize fraud abuse and allegations.  

"Once you finish with the patient, now is the time to write it up," Dr. Doherty said. "Even if you have someone waiting. When I talk to young dentists, I tell them to make sure you don't go from A to Z and skip Q, R, and S. Take your time. If you didn't write it, it didn't happen. Finish the circle of care."

And when in doubt, Dr. Doherty offered this: "Do the right thing and you'll always be OK. It's easy to sleep at night as long as you do it right and that's what this course does, it teaches us the importance of doing it right."