As I look back on the year we had in the Dental Sleep Medicine industry and especially at Gergen’s Orthodontic Lab, I really am pleased. I know that we made a lot of progress in our business, and in the businesses of the dentists we work with. Heck, we even made an impact for dentists that don’t work with us!
My trip to Washington D.C. for a meeting in the office of Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx helped to keep policy makers aware of the dangers of untreated Sleep Apnea and the effectiveness of Oral Appliance Therapy.
If you know anything about me outside of the dental lab or sleep industry, you know my affinity for Bob Dylan. So as I look forward to 2014 a line from “It’s Alright, Ma” comes to mind, “He not busy being born is busy dying.” 2013 was the 3rd year that our lab has managed to double in size, so I better get busy being born if I want to try and do it again.
The same thing goes for the dentists I work with. In dentistry, the new year usually means that dental insurance starts over and we get a new set of visits and benefits for procedures that we used up last year, but with the sleep side it’s completely opposite.
Come January 1st every medical insurance plan in the nation resets, which means some patients will carry a $5000+ deductible. This can only make it more difficult to qualify a patient for an oral appliance. Traditionally this results in a drop in the number of sleep studies and correspondingly the number of therapies that go with them.
I brought this up in a recent conversation with Matt Kaplan of Sleep Services, and I believe their approach can help alleviate some of the financial burden that the patients face when we come back to the office in January.
When Sleep Services provide a home sleep test to a patient, they bill the patient’s medical insurance, and sometimes it can wipe out that new deductible. Fortunately for the patient, Sleep Services is very flexible and offers payment plans for patients who end up having to pay out of pocket. Home sleep testing services at $295 is one of the lowest that I’m aware of, but more importantly, I know that they do a good job and are the most dentist friendly sleep testing lab that I have ever worked with.
I hope that all the folks I’m lucky enough to know in this industry can look back on 2013 and see it as a success, but if you’re like me, you’re probably not ready to be busy dying in 2014. For me, when the New Year rolls around, it’s time to “Step It Up and Go”.