How Can Primary Care Providers Support You?
Beyond a referral a lot of dentists don’t realize how helpful a patient’s primary care provider can be their treatment and insurance coverage. A primary care provider can give you a great deal of supporting documentation and history though to assist in your patient’s care.
Of course we are used to referrals from primary care providers that allow us to treat a patient and establish the medical necessity for their visit. What is often overlooked is imaging, clinical notes and other testing that is available to the primary care provider that might aid us in diagnosis, billing and rendering treatment.
If your patient has a history of a condition that is particularly hard to document or prove than having extensive and multiple visits worth of clinical notes documenting the problem would be helpful. Clinical notes from the primary care provider can also give you observation and background details that the patient might not be aware of. Clinical providers often notate observations about patients’ behavior, emotional state, social skills and more that might otherwise go unnoticed in your initial assessment of the patient. You won’t have gotten to know the patient yet and having the insight of someone who has seen the patient regularly for a long period of time could give valuable insights.
Imaging that you might not have available in your office (such as certain radiographs or MRIs) might also be available in the primary care provider’s records. These images can help give you a clearer picture if the patient is being seen for someone that can be picked up on radiograph. The office may also have blood testing and other lab tests that could give important pre-diagnosis information.
It is always helpful to form relationships with providers who refer to your office – not just from a business perspective but from a social one as well. Patients are more likely to pursue treatment if they feel a provider is caring about their situation and is giving their undivided attention. Make it a point to get to know your patient as much as possible before they even arrive for their first appointment.