First let us ask the question: What value do you bring to your hygiene appointment?
I recently had the opportunity to observe several good hygienists who were providing a great prophy but that was all they provided for the patient visit. I think hygienists and patients forget that the hygienist is a healthcare provider.
When a patient looks at their statement they see charges for a prophy and exam. Some patients look at the dollar amount and think the cost is a lot. Many patients will view the appointment as “just a cleaning appointment.” This will affect future appointments. Patients don’t see the value in keeping the prophy appointment. Patients think it’s okay if I cancel my appointment because it’s “just a cleaning.” We need patients to see the value in the prophy appointment. We need to education our patients, so they see the value they are receiving from their healthcare provider. Complete and post the following codes to show this value on the patient statement.
- Oral Cancer Screening D0431
You may be doing a simple screening but are you explaining each time why you are doing this screening. Are you posting the code for oral cancer screening?
This brings value and urgency to the appointment. I.E. smokers, diabetes
- Periodontal Charting D0180
Part of educating your patients is telling them what the perio charting numbers mean before you chart at each visit. This way the patient knows 1s and 2s are healthy and so on. This way the patient already has an idea if something is going on with the health of their gum tissue. Be sure to post the comprehensive periodontal evaluation.
- Oral Hygiene Instructions D1330
Many hygienists speak to their patients about home care, oral hygiene aids as well as over the counter rinses. By charting this code you are adding value to the patient appointment and you have covered yourself legally.
Most hygienists will say, I just don’t have the time for all of that. I agree, if you are given 30-45 minutes for the hygiene appointment. The truth is a 60 minute hygiene appointment out produces a 30 minute or 45 minute patient visit. When adding this value to the patient appointment your patient will think twice about canceling their cleaning appointment. Statistics show that by bringing more value to the patient visit, you will increase patient retention.
Think about this as free marketing. Patients will walk away with an increased trust level, the best oral health care, and they will tell friends and family where to go for a thorough cleaning and exam.