Tag Archives | ethics

Filing Billing for Dentists to Help Patients

An interesting article titled “You want me to do what?” written by Douglas Auld appears in the March 2016 issue of JADA. The article discusses a patient who has an an abscess on a mandibular right third molar which requires extraction. The treatment was done in December and the patient had already used their full benefits from their dental insurance for the year. So the patient suggested to the dentist to bill for the extraction in January and also suggested to file it as a surgical extraction and apply the difference to his balance. The article asks if it is ethical for dentists to do any of this. The article states that a dentist has a duty to communicate truthfully with third parties. It says “A dentist who submits a claim form to a third party reporting incorrect treatment dates for the purpose of assisting a patient in obtaining benefits under a dental plan, which benefits would otherwise be disallowed, is engaged in making an unethical, false or misleading representation to such third party.” Therefore the dentist should file the claim with the correct date of service or wait until January to perform the treatment. The article says “A dentist who incorrectly describes on […]

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Should a Dentist Work While They are Sick?

An interesting article titled “Ethical concerns of working while ill,” appears in the Sept. 2015, issue of JADA (vol. 146, no. 9, pp. 711-712). The article talks about a dentist who over a period of a few days got progressively sicker. The article questions whether or not he should work or take time off until he gets over the illness. The article discusses a NSF International survey of workers that says 26% of all workers go into work when sick. The article says that 42% of Americans  work while sick. The article states that dentists have an obligation to do no harm to their patients. If they report to work while sick and are treating older patients who have increased risk of getting pulmonary illness this can be a problem. The article states that dentists also need to provide a certain standard of care of treatment. If they are sick the quality of their work may be worse and thus they won’t provide care to the proper standard. If a dentist reports to work while sick they may also get their staff members sick. This can cause a cascade affect in their dental practice. The article states “As a practical matter, […]

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How to Address a Patient who Had an Interrupted Treatment Plan

An interesting article titled “Following up with a patient whose treatment has been interrupted” appears in the November 2014, JADA, and written by Michael H. Halasz. The article discusses a patient who received a complex treatment from a military dentist. The treatment started but because of deployment of a large number of troops in Iraq the treatment was interrupted so that the dentists could attend to other troops. The article addresses if the patient was abandoned during this time. The American Dental Association Principles of Ethics and Code of Professional Conduct states “Once a dentist has undertaken a course of treatment, the dentist should not discontinue that treatment without giving the patient adequate notice and the opportunity to obtain the services of another dentist. Care should be taken that the patient’s oral health is not jeopardized in the process.” The article states that if the dentist felt he was going to resume the treatment of the patient after handling the deployed troops, then he acted reasonably. However, one could also argue that since the dentist did not know how long he would be tied up with the other troops, he had an ethical obligation to inform the patient to have […]

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The Ethics of a Dentist Leaving a Practice

An interesting article written by William Walton, appears in JADA December 2014, titled “Addressing the ethics of leaving a dental practice.” In the article, a discussion of what a dentist should ethically do when they are at a current dental practice and are moving to a different dental practice. It is stated that the American Dental Association Principles of Ethics and Code of Professional Conduct provide guidance on what should be done in such a situation. It is suggested that once a dentist knows they are moving to a different practice they notify their patients of this and the departure date. Further, if a patient is in the midst of a treatment plan, then discussions should take place regarding if the treatment can be finished and if this is unlikely then other options for completing the treatment should be discussed. This will allow the patients to be involved in their treatment decisions. Another issue at stake is that of patient abandonment. The dentist should not discontinue the treatment without giving the patient adequate notice and the opportunity to seek the services of another dentist. If needed interim dentists can be used. The article addresses a few issues in regards to […]

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Familarize Yourself with the ADA’s Principles of Ethics and Code of Professional Conduct

The American Dental Association also know as the ADA, in 2012, update their Principle of Ethics and Code of Professional Conduct document. It is available over at http://www.ada.org/~/media/ADA/About%20the%20ADA/Files/code_of_ethics_2012.ashx. As many Americans make trips to the dentist, it is useful to familiarize yourself with the ADA’s document to better determine if your dentist is being ethical and serving your needs well. If you don’t feel this is the case you have options to report your dentist and of course you can find a new dentist. Additional comments on the ethics and professional conduct of the ADA and it’s members is over at http://www.ada.org/en/about-the-ada/principles-of-ethics-code-of-professional-conduct. It states “The dental profession holds a special position of trust within society. As a consequence, society affords the profession certain privileges that are not available to members of the public-at-large. In return, the profession makes a commitment to society that its members will adhere to high ethical standards of conduct… The ADA Code is, in effect, a written expression of the obligations arising from the implied contract between the dental profession and society.” It should be noted that the position is that ADA members voluntarily agree to abide by the code. Further the code falls into three […]

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