Maintaining Readiness in the Dental Office

Setting up for the next patient is a natural part of your daily workflow. You wouldn’t dream of not having an instrument pack or cassette along with disposable items ready before seating the patient. It promotes efficiency, reduces stress and maintains a state of readiness.

Maintaining a state of readiness is equally important in the world of compliance. What if an OSHA or state board inspector unexpectedly dropped by? What if you received notification from an insurance company or Office of Civil Rights/HIPAA that your office is being audited?

Three elements comprise compliance readiness in your practice. If you can demonstrate proficiency and compliance in these areas, then it’s highly likely you will pass the inspection:


Team awareness of applicable laws and rules; training upon hire and annually thereafter. It’s not safe to assume that just because your newest employee knows about key laws and rules they fully understand your particular compliance program. Even if Suzy just had training in school or at her last place of employment, it’s wise to train her on your policies and processes as well. Be sure all training is well documented.


Complete, up-to-date manuals with policies and procedures customized to your practice. Many times a new manual is purchased with good intentions of customizing it, but it ends up in the “when we get around to it” file because no one ever filled in the blanks and made sure the templated policies fit your practice. Keep your paperwork and manuals up to date to avoid a “black mark” or possible fine.


Implementing proven compliance practices that align with your policies and procedures. All regulators expect to see your policies in action. In other words, are you following the processes and policies described in your manual? It’s far better to create written policies that revolve around your actual processes than to rely on a manual that can’t be customized for your practice.

In addition to the 3 P’s, readiness also includes knowing what to do during an audit, understanding the different types of audits and preparing staff to answer an auditor’s questions. Not maintaining an up-to-date compliance program can be costly, including steep fines, penalties and possible black marks against your license.

Interested in learning more about maintaining a state of compliance readiness in your office? Join me and Patterson on September 5 at the 10th Annual AADOM Conference where I will be presenting Anatomy of a Compliance Audit. For additional information you can check out the AADOM Conference website.

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