Why We Do This
Dental-Chiropractic Collaborative has found that traditional medicine has fallen behind in addressing the epidemic of sleep disordered breathing issues that impact our health.
From this realization it has become necessary to find ways to reach the over 40 million Americans who are suffering from sleep disorders but not yet diagnosed. Many primary care physicians are not adequately screening for sleep apnea and instead are treating the resulting pathologies rather than the source of these pathologies.
Seven of the top 10 prescribed drugs written for patients today are drugs for medical conditions related to sleep apnea. These include drugs for diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke, insomnia, depression and excessive daytime sleepiness and much more. These drugs alone cost Americans and tax payers billions of dollars every year. Insurance rates are sky rocketing. The medical costs, automobile accidents, lost work and major environmental disasters it has caused is estimated to exceed 154 billion dollars per year.
DCC has teamed with medical billing experts, medical sleep labs, educational experts, professional office management coaches, marketing professionals and experts within the dental and medical professions because of this issue of poorly addressed need, to manage the unmet crisis with a new approach and unprecedented shift in attitudes of cooperation between the fields of dentistry, chiropractic medicine and other allied professionals.
The reason for this new alliance is that dentistry is able to treat the obstructive form of sleep apnea which accounts for 90% of diagnosed sleep apnea patients and also because dentists and chiropractors see patients much more regularly than do primary care physicians.
This allows these professions to screen patients with simple questionnaires we have designed specifically for you along with training on how to do consultations to find these untreated suffering patients. Work flow forms have been developed as well.
Over the past three years, DCC has been working with an Iowa medical sleep lab owner group that right now works with professionals in Iowa, we have also been working with a national medical billing and medical coding education company. The both have become disillusioned with some attitudes in the medical profession they have dealt with and branched out to dentistry for their services.
DCC worked with the Iowa company to develop a software portal that makes it extremely simple for dentists and chiropractors in Iowa to screen a patient with a few simple online forms that qualify the patient for a sleep study and can be done at home in the patient’s own bed. This company will expand nationally and others have expand nationally. Their model includes home sleep studies, as does the in-office sleep apnea training partners we work with nationally.
These home sleep studies for many can be more accurate because the patient sleeps more normally at home than in a sleep lab. The companies have qualified sleep Medical Doctors review the online information via a patient interview in your own office or at their home.
One of the services DCC works with offers several unique capabilities for dentists and chiropractors engaged in sleep medicine. Their portal has the value added ability to do a unique Store-it-Forward technology now available in Iowa only. It allows health professionals to initiate tele-health visits conveniently from their offices…(like having a virtual physician available every day in your office). When their medical providers access the Store-it-Forward file, review it and add their physician notes, ultimately their medical provider will order a sleep study if indicated. This company has the ability and is researching the rules to pay the dentist or chiropractor to administer this test for their patients. The company will even send the sleep test to the patient at home, if you prefer, and read the test and provide a prescription for the dentist or chiropractor.
For this diagnostic service, the dentist or chiropractor does not have to do anything but recommend this in office interview to the patient. If the MD believes a CPAP is needed instead of oral appliance, then that can also be done remotely. However, if a doctor working with DCC prefers, DCC has expert medical billing educational programs to teach them how to work with medical insurers to pay for services they did not know they can be reimbursed for. Both chiropractors and dentists can increase their list of services and fees. Dentist can learn how to preserve patient's dental benefits by knowing how to bill medical for cone beam scans, TMJ therapy, implants, other airway images and much more. Some chiropractors will want to order cone beams from those dentists with large volume scans that show cervical vertebrae.
The dentist also benefits from increasing referrals of pre-qualified patients for oral appliance therapy for obstructive sleep apnea.
Chiropractors benefit from the expertise of sleep studies and their interpretation by a qualified MD done for them, however there are even more benefits. The chiropractor benefits from not only treating the co-morbidities caused by sleep apnea, but also from sales of supplies and ancillary maintenance products if they wish to do that. They also benefit from the treatment of patients being referred back to them from the dentists. These referrals include diseases caused or worsened by obstructive sleep apnea such as temporomandibular pain, various dystonias, headaches and forward neck posture caused by the stress of restricted breathing and the night teeth grinding initiated or worsened by obstructive sleep apnea.
There are millions of people un-diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea and it is also destroying the fine dentistry that dentists perform caused by jaw clenching. Dentists have realized we must reach these patients in the medical arena, not just the dental market. However, many dentists have found that patients they refer to the medical profession are lost and never come back for treatment, but instead are given a CPAP which only half of them will use. Often this is not effective care.
People are looking for alternatives to traditional mask and forced air systems to breath. They also want a portable devise they can use for travel.
If you are going to make this work, you need a team to get these patients for you, instead of only trying to get your present patients to enroll in this care. This could include social media help and other forms of marketing that DCC can offer.
“After years of frustration trying to get sleep disordered breathing care implemented and profitable, Dental-Chiropractic Collaborative finally has shown me that sleep apnea treatment can be a rewarding part of my practice.”
So, why should you join us? You should be excited about a new paradigm shift in both dentistry and chiropractic. This close working relationship has never been done before and patients are going to benefit from not only less expensive care but better care.
You will see increased revenues for services you never addressed with patients before.
You will have the support of a team of professionals all working together, special medical billing experts, dentists trained in sleep therapy, social media niche marketing, chiropractors educated in sleep apnea screening and care, cross referrals and special referral and screening forms specially made for this special area of care, educational opportunities, and membership in a new national collaborative association, the first of its kind.
Let’s work together for the betterment of the health of our patients, and the enhancement of our respective professions.
Richard Downs, DDS