Setting up a TMD practice
Dentistry covers a complicated area in the human body. Dental care treats the anatomy, which encompasses the entire body both functionally and physiologically. Comprehensive treatment and referral modalities are important factors to a practice limiting its care to CMCD in how it is developed and marketed.
Grow with the flow
There are two typical ways a provider includes CMCD care in their practice. The first is to add CMCD treatments into a general practice and work to differentiate this care from all the restorative aspects that a general practice provides.
The second is to develop a stand-alone practice devoted to the care of CMCD. The following items may apply to one or both approaches. There are also differences to regional and national laws to be evaluated.
There are resources to help you implement practice changes, TMD Resources and Myotronics both have various books and practice development materials.
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- Review your licenses/policies from governmental agencies such as EIN, NPI, and certifying boards. Contact insurance carriers on changes in liability and amount of time you are in practice (may reduce your premium). This review is to determine coverage for treatments that many general dentists do not do such as trigger point injections and Botox treatment, and hands-on physical therapy.
- Develop a business plan. It is recommended you use a professional for this and preferably one with experience in healthcare practices.
- Locate funding if needed for investments in physical plant, equipment, and supplies. Check with your accountant regarding taxation issues.
- Develop staff. If you are “doing” different care from what “typical dentists” do; you need to train/educate them on what you do, how you do, and WHY you do the care.
- Systems need to be added. CMCD care involves more in communications to third party payer’s and other allied healthcare providers. Assess your software and protocols for care. Involve your staff as you design your instrument setups, patient supplies, and equipment usage. Patient education is critical. Have handouts, examples, and supporting materials available.
- CMCD involves more dispersed communications, evaluation of patient records and use of consent forms. HIPPA and other agencies need to be considered on privacy of patient records. Written policies and procedures are important to have in place.
- Procedures you do are often medically coded. Become familiar with software and billing from a medical perspective. There are courses, books and services that will help you implement ICD and CPT treatments such as DentalWriter, DentalCodeology, and WEDI organization.
- Establish a healthcare TEAM!!! This is an IMPORTANT aspect providing care in this area. Head and neck pain issues are often complex and have long histories. Treatments involves other providers and you will need other providers to have comprehensive care plans developed. Additionally you will need imaging resources. Have these in place with referral paths so it is easy for staff and patients to understand and gain the data you need.
- Marketing has different needs than those of a GP. Often the potential patient is more informed and Internet savvy. Most are adults.
Balancing your life.
Patients with CMCD are rewarding with your ability to change their life for the better. Having said that they often are in pain and you know you can help and the sooner you get them into treatment the faster they will feel better.
Remember to be careful with your time. Do not oversell yourself in time and commitment as the expense of your family and health.
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