Is It The Economy Or Your Front Line That’s Costing You?
DANB has discontinued administration of the current Certified Dental Practice Management Administrator (CDPMA) exam as of May 31, 2008, in order to evaluate the possibility of updating the exam to more accurately reflect current practice managers' responsibilities.
DANB is the nationally recognized premier certification and credentialing agency for dental assistants. Since 1948, the Dental Assisting National Board, Inc. (DANB), a nonprofit organization, has played a vital role in the oral healthcare community. Recognized by the American Dental Association (ADA) as the national credentialing agency for dental assistants, DANB serves the public good by providing a means of identifying qualified and competent dental assistants and by measuring and promoting excellence in oral healthcare delivery. DANB exam programs are accredited by the National Commission forCertifying Agencies (NCCA) for meeting the highest standards of validity, reliability and objectivity.
Last year, in conjunction with the American Dental Assistants Association and the American Association of Dental Office Managers, DANB conducted focus groups with dental team members employed as dental office managers, many of whom held the CDPMA credential. DANB learned that the scope of the CDPMA role is expanding, with many managers entering the field with strong business backgrounds rather than dental backgrounds.
As a result of these findings, and after an analysis of CDPMA exam results, DANB determined that the current CDPMA exam content coverage might not reflect the practice of many, if not most, dental practice managers today. Therefore, the administration of the CDPMA examination will be discontinued during DANB's content validation study of this aspect of dental office practice.
The current CDPMA credential is not affected by this change. CDPMAs can still annually renew their credential by meeting DANB's recertification requirements (12 hours of continuing dental education, holding current DANB-accepted CPR certification and submitting the renewal fee). After June 1, 2008, reinstatement of a lapsed CDPMA certification will only be possible if the credential has been lapsed for less than one year.
McKenzie Management’s Advanced Training Programs have long supported the CDPMA credential and have recommended that career Dental Business Office employees prepare for and take the test. In taking the proctored CDPMA exam (prior to the decision to revamp it) the challenge for Business Managers without dental clinical background was questions concerning mounting x-rays, identifying teeth numbers and other items that only an applicant with clinical knowledge would have known how to answer. For dentists seeking someone to manage the front desk, the quest to find qualified applicants with both clinical knowledge and excellent business skills has been difficult, and for some doctors impossible. The search for applicants with polished customer service skills or applicants with business, marketing, advertising and strong computer skills to fill their front office positions became the next plausible step. Because of the dental software technology and patient education products available for staff training, many business personnel can become quite an asset without prior dental clinical knowledge.
Teaching dental terminology and dental insurance coding can occur over time, as can instruction about dental procedures and their benefits. With many dental practices today producing millions of dollars, it is poor business to employ someone as a Business Manager who does not have formal business training coupled with exceptional customer service and communication skills.
Scheduling daily for a dental practice is not about filling in lines on a page—it is about constructing a profitable and well-balanced day. Understanding overhead demands and its relationship to meeting production and collection goals is basic business knowledge that is not necessarily understood by a clinical assistant who was moved to the front office because she “knows” the patients.
McKenzie Managements Advanced Training for Dentists and their teams has always maintained high-standard course information to serve the needs of the professional business administrators of today’s dental practices. The course information is designed to teach both the Business Coordinator with a clinical background and the Business Coordinator with a formal business education how to understand the business of dentistry.
In its update, DANB has also added three Background Information questions in its 2008 national exam applications and annual Certification renewal notices. These questions are in keeping with DANB’s mission of public protection and DANB’s Code of Professional Conduct, and are in line with national trends in hiring and credentialing practices. All current DANB Certified Assistants (CDPMA also) will be asked annually to respond to these questions, which relate to prior conviction of a crime, revocation or suspension of a dental credential or a court declaration of mental incompetence. This is not a background check but not disclosing information constitutes a violation of DANB’s disciplinary policy and may lead to disciplinary action. All of these changes indicate recognition for the professional status of today’s Dental Business Coordinators and Managers.
For more information about McKenzie Management’s Advanced Training courses, email firstname.lastname@example.org, call 1-877-777-6151 or visit our website at www.mckenziemgmt.com.
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Every 11 minutes, a new name is added to a list on which nearly 100,000 people currently reside, awaiting a call. Although no one argues the call is worth waiting for, the average wait time spans three to five years, which is much too long for far too many.
As a result, 18 people die every day because they can wait no longer1. Astonishingly, this list does not reflect a pool of cancer patients, the homeless or the wounded from the war. Instead, it is the ever-growing national transplant list, which sadly confirms that the need for organs is vastly greater than the donated supply2.
What’s even more baffling is that this public health problem is rarely talked about when discussing universal healthcare and the right to life. Could it be that most individuals (like myself) feel they have already done their part by declaring their intentions on the back of their driver’s licenses? Perhaps it is that most people are unaware that this generous declaration is insufficient to address our nation’s current demand.
Intriguingly, other countries have what is known as a presumed consent law3 that assumes a person wishes to donate unless he or she expressly “opts out.” No doubt the United States could greatly benefit from this model.
Donor rates are increasing, but not enough. Furthermore, potential donors who grant permission before their passing would be horrified to discover a family member overruled their decision while grieving the loss. This incredible loophole is most vulnerable when the donor isn’t officially registered with a donor registry4.
Indeed, these circumstances call for a serious review of our nation’s donor policy. Likewise, donor registry awareness becomes critically important as our nation continues to seek more resourceful opportunities for organ and tissue donation.
Blessed by the miracle of medical technology and the ultimate gift of human kindness, individuals are now learning that they don’t have to wait for their passing to give renewed life. Bone marrow, lobes of the lung, fractions of the liver and kidneys can be obtained from living donors. In fact, an entire kidney can be donated from a living donor, because both the donor and recipient only need one each for normal function.
The superlative advantage of living donation is that it makes it feasible to donate now - while living - rather than waiting for one’s passing to make a difference to another.
Auspiciously, because of an increase in living donor awareness, more than half of all kidney donors in the United States are from living donors. In 2007, there were 10,587 deceased donors, but as many as 6,039 living donors5. In total, there have been 117,717 deceased donors and 92,693 living donors as of the date of writing this article. Yet we still lose over 6,500 lives a year because of a shortage.
Living Organ Benefits
A living organ is considered a “healthy organ” when taken from a living donor with continuous circulation prior to removal. This differs significantly from deceased organs, particularly those from fatal incidents that occur outside a hospital. In such cases, organs often stop functioning hours before a decision is made to donate, which disqualifies them for transplantation.
Although hospital donors typically have a brain-based definition of death, this classification only accounts for 2% of hospital cases. Yet as organizations like the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS)1 continue to educate the public, and hospitals continue to foster more effective policies for victims of brain death and cardiac death, we can increase the donor pool.
Of course, the real work must come directly from the government and the general public as a genuine and like-minded effort to embrace renewed life opportunities. Upon doing so, our nation’s wealth of human kindness shall no doubt meet this dying cry for help.
This article will be continued in two more parts, alternating over the next four weeks.
1. United Network of Organ Sharing: www.UNOS.org
2. John Hopkins Medicine Press Release; Altruistic donor makes possible the first “domino” three-way kidney transplant operation, May 19, 2005.
3. 2005 National Survey Organ and Tissue Donation Attitudes and Behaviors. www.OrganDonor.gov
4. Formal registration for organ and tissue donation: www.donatelife.net
5. OPTN:The Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network. http://www.optn.org/data/
Risa Simon is a certified management consultant, professional speaker and published author who inherited a rare cystic kidney condition, which has positioned her among the many in need of a kidney transplant. After observing family members and friends with Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD) struggle with dialysis and unrealistic waitlists (and after experiencing her own challenges in trying to find a compatible donor), she decided to join a movement to increase awareness in the humanitarian call for “living” and “paired” donation. For more information, contact email@example.com