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Dental Deserts


Misty Mattingly, Charlie Craig, and Sarah Smith explain GA HB 684

Dental Deserts

In the state of Georgia, 118 counties out of 159 have too few dentists to treat those residents.  16 Georgia counties have NO DENTIST at all.  Clearly, this leaves a large, rural population in the state with limited or NO access to even basic, preventive dental care.

Today, there are only 5 states that do not allow hygienists to operate under a dentist’s supervision unless the dentist is physically on site where the dental hygiene care is provided.  One of those is Georgia.

President of Georgia’s Dental Hygienist Association, Misty Mattingly, stopped by, along with Sarah Smith and Charlie Craig of Solution Road to talk about a measure before the Georgia House of Representatives that will address the lack of access to preventive screenings and treatments that are provided by hygienists.

Currently, Georgia law requires that a dentist is ON SITE while a hygienist administers care.  Obviously, this is impossible in 16 counties without some sort of medical mission on the part of dentist and hygienist, and limited in 118 Georgia counties.  Under HB 684, hygienists would be able to be supervised remotely by a dentist rather than requiring them to physically be on site.  This would empower hygienists to provide diagnostic screening and preventive care in these areas with limited to no access.

When problems requiring restoration such as a filling or crown would be identified by the hygienist during these visits, they would be referred to a dentist for appropriate care.  Without question this is a win for all parties, particularly the patients who today, have problems often going undiagnosed until serious, often resulting in an ER visit for evaluation.

Insurance Reimbursement

John Oxendine PC

John Oxendine talks insurance reimbursement.

Insurance Reimbursement

This week’s show was part of our monthly series with MAG and we focused our conversation on legal issues around commercial insurance reimbursement for physicians.  Former insurance commissioner for the state of GA, attorney, and expert on the subject, John Oxendine, joined me in the studio to talk about some important things physicians need to know relating to commercial insurance reimbursement.
There are laws that lay out requirements for timeliness of payment and/or communications regarding submitted claims that must be adhered to by insurance companies.  Additionally, there are also rules around documentation of assignment of representation that can be the difference between losing five or six figures to insurance company claw back or being able to deny those requests to return payment for previously-delivered care.
John Oxendine is uniquely qualified to provide advice and information to physicians on the subject of health insurance reimbursement.  He spent over 15 years as Georgia’s State Insurance Commissioner.  He has worked closely with MAG, the Georgia Association of Physicians of Indian Heritage, AMA, and numerous other health care provider organizations.
While Insurance Commissioner, John created a division at the Department of Insurance to help physicians with claims payment issues.  Additionally, he was the first commissioner in the country to levy large fines against insurance companies not in compliance with the state’s prompt pay law.
Special Guest:
John Oxendine, Attorney, John Oxendine PC
John Oxendine PC
  • Doctor of Law, Mercer University, Walter F. George School of Law
  • Former Commissioner, Georgia Department of Insurance, 1995-2011