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Thursday, 14 February 2013 00:00

Dental practice management defined: managing someone else’s money. Featured

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post31 picInsurance fraud.  Malpractice.  Racketeering.  Embezzlement. 

These words alone are enough to scare anyone that owns or manages a dental practice. However, they are words that are seldom discussed amongst doctors and staff. 

Doctors trust their staff to accurately manage responsibilities in their dental practice. 

Staff trusts the doctors to accurately document and provide standard of care for services. 

And yet, some of the most feared avenues that a practice can take are the least discussed.

I attended a presentation by Dr. Roy Shelburne at an Opportunity event who openly shared his indictment in 2010 for insurance fraud, racketeering and money laundering for $17,899.57 in overpayments. 

The information presented was very powerful, and I came back with an insight that we tend to lose focus of.


When I worked side by side with the doctors of which I was employed, I saw them every business day and was aware of their, and the staffs’, triumphs and trials. 

But, until I heard in detail of a doctor who paid the ultimate price of losing his practice, and the impact it had on his family, I was reminded that it isn’t just a business, it is a key element of a doctor’s life. 

And each doctor is relying on his or her staff to conduct responsibilities with efficiency, effectiveness and accuracy, without being second guessed by another.  

As the years have gone by, and I have been in the dental field since 1986, I have often wondered why there are not more business courses for dental administrators and practice managers. 

Why such key personnel are excluded from essential continuing education and certification programs that provide the opportunity to learn the requirements for their positions?  

Where is the opportunity for doctors to hire office managers where they know the person is capable of protecting their practice from such serious consequences such as insurance fraud?  

I can see how the errors can easily take place within any practice. 

The treatment commences differently in the operatory than what was treatment planned, and the coding doesn’t get changed. 

An insurance overpayment that goes uncorrected and is pending a refund request from the carrier. 

Patient discounts not being extended to the insurance carrier prior to sending the claim. 

Patient non-compliance for recommended treatment (how many times have we seen that one?). 

These are real situations that can happen in any practice, to any one of us.  And therefore the consequences become real, and Dr. Shelburne shared the reality of those consequences.

Opportunity.  The opportunity to make a change.  The opportunity to explore new ways of doing things.  The opportunity to advance. 

Opportunity is providing the avenue for dental management education built on certification standards and continuing education designed specifically for the dental office management professional.  

I found the Opportunity debut event to be very impactful in bringing the role of the dental office manager position to the forefront of our minds. 

The weight of compliance of the practice on their shoulders, without any training except the few classes that are offered through various organizations and on the job training. 

We are relying on dental office administrators to manage the doctors’ business, staff and their money. 

Isn’t it time for them to be acknowledged with an education certification and classes designed specifically for their roles in the dental business community? 

Isn’t it time for doctors to know that the person they are entrusting their practice to have the best training based on certification standards behind them that addresses the specific needs of a dental practice?

If you are planning for a year, sow rice; if you are planning for a decade, plant trees; if you are planning for a lifetime, educate people.” – Chinese proverb

It is time to educate and provide certification opportunities for dental office managers

Giving them Opportunity is a right click.

For more information, please go to


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