To become a dentist, you spent a lot of time in schools, you took a lot of tests, and you looked inside a lot of mouths. But once you started running your own practice, you realized that being a dentist means more than practicing sound dentistry. It also means clearing an endless series of administrative hurdles.
The problem is that these regulatory hurdles may ultimately be as important—if not more important—to your practice than your actual skills as a dentist. You need to comply with these rules or risk losing your license and your practice. So, how can you stay clear of all the regulatory pitfalls?
First you need to know the rules
It sounds obvious, but the first step to following the rules is to learn the rules. However, sorting out all the rules and regulations is considerably harder in practice than in theory. The CDA Regulatory Compliance Manual table of contents, alone, is six pages long. And the rules cover such a wide and detailed range of topics as:
- Your injury and illness prevention plan
- Documented training
- The containment of hazardous items and equipment
- Handling blood and other bodily fluids
- General office safety
- Office ergonomics
- Access to employee and patient records
- Radiation safety protocols
On top of these, you may face audits of your continuing education coursework, and you need to satisfy additional requirements for HIPAA, insurance and more. The more your practice handles, the more regulations you face, including any employment laws and licensing requirements that concern your staff.
Then you need to get everything organized
The rules and regulations affecting your practice can be a lot to handle, even if you’re highly organized, in addition to being highly skilled and well-educated. And if your practice is doing good business and keeping you busy? It might be worth seeking some compliance counseling.
Sometimes it takes an outside eye to spot the trouble points. To you, they may just be papers you’ll get around to filing and a class that one of your staff missed due to illness. But an outsider might see them for what they are—red flags that could trigger CDA discipline. Or outdated processes that appear ignorant of the most recent updates to the laws or rules.
Compliance counseling is like flossing for your office
You’ve probably told countless patients to brush and floss. You know that if they take these steps now, they can save themselves far more costly dental work down the road. Likewise, the steps you take now to meet compliance and update your processes may spare you from costly future investigations, litigation and discipline.