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October 2018

Regulating Cell Phone Use in the Office

Cell phones have become an essential part in the lives of many people, but an addiction for others. What happens when cell phone usage starts interfering in an employee’s performance at work?

According to Jodi Schafer, owner of Human Resources Management Service and author of the MDA Journal’s Staff Matters column, office managers can create a policy or revise an existing policy to regulate cell phone usage, but enforcing such a policy could be a nightmare.

To begin, Schafer suggests using the following three-prong test:

Is a policy necessary? Determine if the problem can be addressed through other means, such as a policy already in place that relates to productivity or professionalism in the office. If an existing cellular phone use policy exists, determine if it is still viable. However, that policy is useless if it has been ignored over time. To use it again, the staff must be notified in advance of the decision to strictly enforce the policy going forward and of any disciplinary actions for violating it.

Can the policy be administered? This is where you have to ask yourself, “Is this policy realistic, and can it be fairly administered?” Think about how to enforce the policy. How will you know if an employee’s text is work-related unless you confiscate the phone? Think of the potential conflicts in that approach. What if an employee receives a text telling her that her children’s school is in lock down? Will that employee be disciplined for receiving a personal text during work hours? Yet, how is that different from the employee who received a text from her daughter saying that she forgot her lunch? You may find yourself in a position of determining what merits allowable communication versus what is a personal cell phone call.

Is it legal? Yes, according to Schafer, it is legal to restrict your employee’s access or use of personal cell phone during the workday. In fact, some dentists do so to avoid potential HIPAA violations, since smart phones contain cameras. What is not legal, however, is discrimination. So what you do for one you do for everyone at the practice.

In the end your best approach might be to address the employee’s tangible behavior of failing to complete the work assigned. This is best handled through an established professionalism and/or production policy. The focus should not be on the use of the cell phones, but instead on the message it sends to patients and its impact on the employee’s overall production.

Healthy Kids Dental Changes — Effective Oct. 1, 2018

As of Oct. 1, 2018, Healthy Kids Dental program patients have a choice between coverage under Delta Dental or Blue Cross Blue Shield/DentaQuest.

If your practice participates in Healthy Kids Dental, your patients should now be asked whether their Healthy Kids Dental coverage is through one of these providers. You must also make sure that each dentist treating covered patients is contracted with the appropriate insurance company. To participate with Delta Dental, dentists must have a contract with Delta Dental. To participate with BCBS/DentaQuest, dentists must have a contract with DentaQuest.

Review the following tips for participating in the Healthy Kids Dental program:

  • Always verify benefits ON the date of service prior to performing the service.
  • Avoid scheduling HKD patients during the first week of the month when eligibility files are transferred from the state to the dental plan.
  • If you must treat patients during the first week, CHAMPS will always have the most current eligibility information.

CHAMPS Enrollment

If your office bills any type of Medicaid plan — including Healthy Kids Dental or Healthy Michigan Dental — your dentist must be enrolled in the state’s CHAMPS Medicaid system by Jan. 1, 2019. Each dentist who provides treatment to patients covered under these plans must be enrolled in the CHAMPS system or claims for service dates after that date will be denied.

For more information, look in the October MDA Journal, which features helpful information for dentists and staff. Additional resources can also be found in the Dental Benefits section of the MDA website.

Perinatal Oral Health Guide Available

A new perinatal oral health guide from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services can help your practice provide the care your pregnant patients require.

During Pregnancy, the Mouth Matters: A Guide to Michigan Perinatal Oral Health includes information on infant mortality and perinatal health in Michigan, guidance for dental professionals, a visual guide for common oral health conditions, and referral resources to assist in facilitating timely and important oral health care for pregnant women. The guide also includes tear-out forms to help practices provide appropriate oral health care for their patients.

Recent surveys have shown that more than half of pregnant women in Michigan did not receive oral health counseling during pregnancy and nearly 42 percent of those pregnant women who needed and were seeking dental care were unable to receive it.

Poor dental health during pregnancy has been linked to low birth weight and pre-term birth which are the leading causes of infant death. The evidence-based standard of care has proven there is no reason to delay dental care during pregnancy.

The guide is available on the MDA website. Make sure your dental office has a copy available!


CDBP Program Wins Award!

The Michigan Dental Association recently received a coveted Diamond Award from the Michigan Society of Association Executives for its Certified Dental Business Professional program.

The MDA accepted the award at the MSAE Diamond Award dinner held Sept. 20. This is the highest award that MSAE gives in the category of professional development.

The Certified Dental Business Professional program allows dental office managers and business staff to earn the CDBP credential by taking 30 credits of MDA courses offered at Annual Session, one-day seminars, scientific sessions, or online. Whether you are a new office manager or a seasoned dental team member, this certification will help any dental practice function more effectively and efficiently.

The development of the CDBP program was based on information gathered through focus groups consisting of dentists, office managers, assistants, and hygienists. The groups were asked specific questions to identify their needs relating to the business aspect of the practice. Course topics have since been developed based on the data collected.

If you haven’t checked out the program details, visit the CDBP page on the MDA website for more information.