Insurance Coding for Intraoral Camera Use
The office where I currently work has been using an intraoral camera for new patient exams and maintenance appointments at no charge. Now the doctor wants to charge a fee. I know insurance companies will not reimburse for this service and expecting patients to freely accept paying is somewhat overwhelming. Instead of using technology to make patients aware of what is really going on and hopefully accept treatment, we will be taking a huge step in wrong direction. Can you give me some suggestions – RDH with ethical dilemma.
Thank you for the courage to inquire about a rather sensitive issue such as this. As you know, dentists have the right to set a fee for services provided even if it not traditional or customary or reimbursed by insurance. However, you are right – having used intraoral technology as an educational tool without a fee previously could make it awkward to add a fee for the same service. Should the dentist persist in wanting a fee to be attached to this service my advice would be to literally role play with the team how to present this to patients based upon what message the dentist wants to convey. Frankly, I do not have any advice for those verbal skills since I am of the opinion that one should not charge for this service. Intraoral technology has a built-in return on investment through increased case acceptance once patients can actually see conditions in their own mouth. If you charge a fee for intraoral pictures then the patient has the right to refuse the service to avoid the fee, and consequently the value of the technology is lost.
Best to you!