Christine Taxin is a vision-driven person finding strength and direction from her inner convictions. Her energetic, thought provoking and successful program development shines a bright light for others to preview the future and find their place in it. She is the founder and president of Links2Success, who delivers continuing education seminars for dental and medical professionals and serves as an adjunct professor at the New York University (NYU) Dental School and Resident Programs for New York City Programs. As a provider of continuing dental education, Ms. Taxin has been a guest speaker for many meetings. The AGD has approved her company Links2Success as a national provider of PACE continuing education credits. Ms. Taxin was awarded a fellowship with the ADIA and has taught billing to them for three years. Ms. Taxin will continue to travel across the country teaching dental and medical coding, with the skill to learn how to utilize diagnosis codes within the dental world. Her main concern is to provide every patient that has a medical necessity the ability to utilize all of their insurance benefits, to benefit the patient and the oral providers who have taken the role of oral physicians.
In this episode we discuss:
- Her personal struggles with mental health and its effects on the oral cavity
- Helping dentists file for dental conditions under medical insurance
Can you tell us a little bit about your story?
My husband is a dentist and I have been in the dental and medical field for a long time. Our only daughter went off to college and had been treated for learning disabilities throughout her childhood, but got into college and wanted to go, and she went off to college. We received an emergency room phone call that our daughter had had an episode. And we didn’t understand what this episode was but we jumped in the car and headed to the hospital to learn that she had a full blown bi-polar attack. It was like looking at someone that didn’t know. It was a big learning curve for our family and our daughter. She is my hero, because she has fought very hard to get back to herself. What we did not know, was that combinations of psychiatric drugs that help people regain their life, has a very huge side effect. It effects the oral cavity. The physician at the facility she was staying at called her father and told her that she needed emergency dental help. She needed root canals, extractions, had cavities and this medication was destroying her dentin. She had been in her fathers office every three months to have her dental care taken care of so we knew that there was a reason for all of this. This kind of situation doenst just happen in three to four months time. It took me about a year, working with mental health professionals across the country to realize that it was the medicine causing the breakdown. We do recognize that dry mouth causes decay and bacteria development with perio, but we didnt even think to look at was that medications that help psychiatric people are destroying another part of their body. I now work hand in hand with a lot of organizations to help get the word out to parents that can afford it, that they can be using their medical insurance as a way to help supplement these costs.
Can you explain a little about how medical insurance can cover this type of work?
One of the things that I have investigated to a high degree, is that during my time, having the ability to access dental care for free became easier because when my daughter came home, she was able to see her father. But while she was away, even though the doctor was generous, we did not want him to do it for free, he has a job to do, and he included my husband and we were grateful for that. He had a lot of children that needed work that did not have the financial means of paying, so I started to help parents access their medical insurance to get this paid. One of the things that I found, is that there are plenty of plans that will help pay, because on these medications they need to have scaling and re-planing and certain carries lesions taken care of because it is a direct result from the medication and the illness they are dealing with. So it is similar too, and think about this, we have people going in for chemo therapy and we are taking care of them prior to their cancer treatment. We know that if they loose a tooth, they cant grow it back like their hair, but we can keep them being re-mineralized with MI paste. We need to do the same thing in the world of psychiatric, and so I started to bill for patients that were away with my daughter and we were very successful because we were able to write the kind of medical narrative that is needed to justify it as a medical necessity. Without treating it, the patient is just going to get sicker. You know that if you are taking care of a patient, it doesnt matter what you are doing in the office but if we can get them in more often with a better way to finance it, then we have a better chance of keeping them healthier. What a lot of dental insurance companies have done that is good, is they have added on, for additional maintenance visits if the patient had a medical necessity. So when I teach the world in dentistry, I teach them as many ways to help people maximize benefits.
So youre saying that the medical company will pay for procedures like fillings?
Yes because the patient is not neglecting their oral cavity. They may be doing the best home care that they can possibly do but we all know that floss is not going to kill bacteria. When you have dry mouth you have a lot of bacteria. There is good bacteria and bad bacteria and they tend to get more bad bacteria because of their illness. So their illness is compromising their body and it shows a lot in the oral cavity because the bacteria buildup in the oral cavity is more bad than good. There are specific diagnostic codes for situations like that. So we would first code the condition, and then we would look at their medical problem. Why are they taking this medication? What ever it is, its the reason to back up your diagnosis and the need to keep them in your office every three months instead of every six months.
If I wanted to use this in my practice, where would I start?
Everyone asks me that question, and it has to be a decision made by each office. One of the first things I would ask dentists is, “What is your patient base?” Ill give you an example, one of my amazing students, that is now working with me teaching this. She started in an implant organization. There are only three reasons people lose teeth: one is trauma, which is 100% covered under medical, caries, or perio. So we know trauma is covered, but what about the other two. How many teeth did this patient lose because of this infection. Perio and caries are an active infection and patients dont realize that it is affecting every thing about them. So if they are not doing everything that we are recommending in the beginning, its just going to get worse and they lose more teeth and they lose more bone. So that is basically how I start the education. If you believe the patient has a medical necessity and that the reason for losing all these teeth is that they have an active infection, the first thing we are going to do is bring them back to health with a clean oral cavity, we are going to place those implants, which are a medical necessity because they cant chew or swallow properly when you are missing that many teeth, and then over dentures so that they can function again. But including with that, if they want us to even go to bill medical, the patient has to agree to stay within the practice for every three to six months to stay and continue to stay healthy. So you have to follow up with what will work. So my students organization did such an amazing job of educating patients on this level, that they have been receiving payments of up to 80,000 dollars from medical for full mouth rehab.
What are some ways we learn more about this type of billing?
I have three ways of learning. One is that we do a three day hands on coarse. The first day we do a lecture on the “how” and the “why.” We give you free tools to use in your office so that you can start to look at assessments better and we teach you how to access the dental benefits first. On the second and third day, we work hands on with you and we break up the offices and we actually walk you through calling a medical insurance company, the laws that are in place to protect the dentist from getting a “we dont cover this” answer, and we help you navigate your first few phone calls to get information and then we walk you through your own patients claim forms. By the time that you finish, you have learned how to fill out the medical claim form, we have given you a free tool that you can keep online that reminds you how to fill out this form, and you get three months of hand holding from us online every single day.
The second way is that you can go to our online school and you get access to these courses at an hour at a time for a six month period, and you take tests after each module. Then you can utilize that school for six months if you ever need to go back for something. And then we make sure you know how to fill out a form, you send it to us, we look at it, and we give you our feed back.
The third and final way, is that we are working with a medical billing company and a credentialing company. The people at the credentialing can help doctors get in network with medical insurance, and the medical billing company can help you set up a system where you send them the paper work, we supply you with the paperwork that you send back with all the diagnostic codes and all that and we will do the billing.
How can we get in touch with you?