by Wendy Briggs, RDH
There have been some exciting new developments regarding CAMBRA, caries management by risk assessment. This is something that we are teaching many of our hygiene providers to utilize in the course of hygiene appointments.
Some exciting new changes for 2014 is that there are now codes from the ADA and CDT that can be added to the patient record and submitted to insurance when you’re performing CAMBRA in your practice with your patient. Are you using these codes yet, and have you embraced some of the resources that we’ve made available for the risk assessment conversation with many of your patients?
The American Dental Association says, “A patient’s risk for developing caries is a moving target.” A patient with a relatively good dental history and minimal decay may suddenly develop a high number of carious lesions. What causes this? How can we minimize the damage from increased risks, if we aren’t aware of what the patient’s risk status is? The National Institute of Health says, “Considerable benefits could be achieved if people at high risk level could be identified before cavities develop.” This is the purpose behind our efforts to complete a risk assessment survey on each patient.
Many patients are frustrated by having cavities consistently. It seems to them that no matter what they do, they always have a problem. That’s why we created a Proactive Prevention Brochure for hygienists to utilize with risk assessment. Our goal is to have our members accomplish a Risk Assessment conversation with every patient in hygiene. When we do this each visit, it builds value for the hygiene appointment. In the patient’s mind it becomes more than “just a cleaning.”
We’ve created some resources to help make that happen. We offer to our members a copy of our Proactive Prevention Brochure. Inside of this brochure are educational resources to help patients understand the importance of their risk status. The risk assessment survey that is in this brochure has been adapted from the ADA’s recommended CAMBRA surveys. We converted it to a patient friendly format, using language the patient can understand. We also simplified it in order to minimize provider time.
When we have a risk assessment conversation, we drive interest in preventive services. Once you discuss with the patient what their risk status is, it enables you to more effectively discuss or talk through the preventive solutions that are available to them. If a patient is at high risk for decay there are some steps we can recommend as providers that can help to minimize that risk.
If you would like a copy of this brochure, a simple way for you to access this resource is to request complimentary trial access to our member website. We offer a 60 day trial to our member library where this brochure and other valuable resources are housed.
Now for the exciting part.. new ADA CDT codes for 2014. There are now codes to submit for documentation (and to insurance if applicable) that are connected to a patient’s risk status. If you are doing a risk assessment survey and you have determined a patient to be of low risk, then the code is D0601. If they are moderate risk you would use the code D0602, and if they are high risk you would use D0603.
We now have a way to document our efforts with Caries Risk Assessment and submit these codes to insurance. What benefits are there associated with this? For now, it seems that building value with the patient and enhanced documentation are the key reasons for utilizing these codes. In the future, we may see an increased preventive benefit for those determined to be high risk. As dental professionals we must first utilize the codes, and perform the assessment. Changes in the future depend on this step first!
Embracing preventive services, utilizing all resources available to our patients to help them minimize disease, having tough conversations.. this is what separates the truly exceptional providers from the rest. Maximize your potential to influence your patients. What you will find is a higher appreciation as well as a higher level of satisfaction in your role as an advocate for your patients.