What to Know When Adding Sleep Apnea Treatment to Your Office
Our days are filled with patients coming in for restorations, root canals, crowns, bridges, implants, and hygiene visits. The practice is plugging right along. Our staff is adjusting to our busy schedules like a well-oiled machine.
Life is comfortable.
We understand what we do, and our patients love us for it. Our doctors impress us all by learning new things. Continuing education is a priority and encouraged at all levels.
And then this.
“We’re going to start treating patients who have sleep apnea.”
The bombshell had been dropped… NOW WHAT?
If your doctor comes back from a course inspired to incorporate sleep apnea treatment into the practice, have they considered the “hows” like:
How do you…
- Keep track of sleep patients in your current software?
- Schedule these patients, and for what?
- Connect and communicate with the local sleep physicians?
- Communicate between staff when your patients have questions?
- Get reimbursed by medical insurance?
- Know what to charge?
- Accept Medicare (and do you want to)?
- Create a team to which you can delegate these new responsibilities?
HOW, HOW, HOW?
Is your head spinning yet?
Far too often, doctors take these courses with good intentions but without consideration of the questions above.
Guess what! You just hit a dead end!
There is help out there, and you will survive.
While the below steps are an oversimplification, they will give you a general idea of how to get started.
Receive training and education
First things first!
Doctor, you can’t do this alone. You need a team in place. Invest time and travel with key staff members to get them educated.
Let them learn with you so they understand the importance of what you are trying to add to the practice and for your patients.
It’ll give them the knowledge and confidence to answer patients’ questions. Let them help guide the rest of your staff in the right direction.
Put your trust in them, and you’ll be surprised at how quickly they will want to make this successful with you.
Sign up with a third-party billing company
Medical billing is a huge learning curve for a staff that is used to billing dental claims only.
Medical billing requires a whole new language and understanding.
Don’t stress out the new sleep team. Encourage them with outside support along the way.
Medical claims are very time consuming. Your staff will still be involved, but the bulk of the work will fall on someone that has experience.
Let experts help until your team is confident to submit on their own and have the time to do so.
It’s a win-win for you, your team, and the patients.
Use practice management software to make life easier
We used Dental Sleep Solutions software and still do. Dental Sleep Solutions (DS3) took our hands and walked us through the process. We’re still holding strong four years later.
I do believe our success is a result of their guidance.
Add sleep dentistry to your practice
Sleep dentistry is possible in a practice. Let it be yours.
All you need to do is take the necessary time to learn and implement your new knowledge.
The joy of hearing a patient tell your doctor that he and his staff have “literally” saved their life is the best reward one can experience.
I’m proud to be a part of that “Sleep Team” that made a difference!
Meet the Author
Tracy Gryger joined the dental industry ages ago – in 1986 to be exact – and is proud to have worked in the same practice for the past 35 years.
In her experience as a dental assistant and then office administrator, Tracy has seen numerous changes in the industry. Her career has seen her through the successful growth through industry transitions and mergers with other practices.
Tracy received her AADOM Fellowship in 2017 and Mastership in 2021.
When she isn’t busy at work, she and her partner Tom enjoy spending time in their woodshop and, more recently, beekeeping. Tracy is the proud mother to her daughter, Emily, and enjoys spoiling her many “grand pets.”