December 19, 2012 Video : HIV Take-Home Test
September 13, 2012 Amalgam Separation
August 2, 2012 Video : CDC HIV Ruling
July 24, 2012 Video : ALARA Principles Ensured with Tru-Align
May 15, 2012 Disposing of Amalgam in a Dental Office
Dental amalgam, commonly used in dental fillings, contains mercury and when that amalgam is removed from the patient that mercury finds its way into our waste water systems (which are not equipped to deal with the waste) and eventually into our food, water and air supply. Mercury is toxic especially in high does and has been linked to a myriad of ailments in both humans and wildlife.
Over the last few decades technology has been developed to handle this area of growing concern. Amalgam separators are already mandated in many cities, counties, and states around the country and have been proven to reduce mercury levels in their environments. The ADA has a laundry list of best management practices for amalgam waste including the use of an amalgam separator.
The Environmental Protection Agency, acting as the ruling authority for the federal government on the matter, is planning a nationwide mandate for the use of this technology for dental professionals, because they are one of the top contributors of mercury waste to the environment.
So the question as a dental professional becomes, “How can my dental practice limit its’ mercury footprint?”
Here are the top 3 reasons why using an amalgam separator is essential for your practice:
1. Be Compliant. Being compliant helps you avoid fines and protects your reputation in your community and with your patients. Whether or not you are currently required to have an amalgam separator, there is no doubt you will need one soon!
2. Be Responsible. Amalgam waste affects more than just your practice; it affects our communities and our future generations because mercury waste is extremely difficult to remove from the environment. An amalgam separator is an easy way to instantly decrease your environmental footprint. Your patients will thank you and so will the environment.
3. Be a Leader. Dental professionals have the rare opportunity to be leaders in their communities. The things you do matter not just to your practice but also to your patients. Standing up for your communities' future is a great way to distinguish yourself, and to help gain the trust of your patients.
As a partner in compliance, safety, and responsibility HealthFirst is committed to supporting your practice, educating patients and helping our planet. Please feel free to check out our recommended amalgam separator here on our website and don't hesitate to reach out to one of our compliance counselors with questions you may have.
Meet the Expert
Tim Reber Tim Reber is the president and founder of Rebec Solutions, the leader of amalgam separation technology. Having spent 25+ years in the dental industry, Tim helped develop the testing and implementation of amalgam separation into common use in King County Washington, the first county to mandate amalgam separator use. Now as a leader in the industry Tim is committed to contributing to the dental industry and the environment and leaving a legacy for future generations.
This blog post is Tim Reber's express opinion.
April 22, 2012 We should welcome the conversation with our patients about dental X-rays
Recently, some negative aspects of dental X-rays have been brought to the public's attention. First with the Dr Oz show and his discussion of thyroid cancer and again this past week with the release of a study linking dental X-rays with benign tumors.
The reality is, that by utilizing ALARA principles, including radiation reduction tools and proper protection, our patients and our staff receive the minimum possible radiation exposure. So the recent increased public awareness is also an opportunity for you to demonstrate your commitment to their safety.
Below is a possible response scenario to a patient asking about X-rays.
Patient: Hi Dr. Don- I am really nervous about getting X-rays today is there any way around it?
Dr. Don: Lucy- I understand your fear and would like to let you know I have implemented several things to minimize radiation and ensure your safety. Your health is our office's top priority at all times.
Here are three important points I would make when responding to Lucy.
1. Make it clear that as doctors, our number one concern is our patients health and safety. We never take an X-ray that isn't needed and when we do it is always adhering to the ALARA principle. ALARA meaning we are taking X-rays that emit radiation "As Low As Reasonably Achievable".
2. As part of ALARA, we use a device that decreases radiation by 60-70%. It is called Tru-Align. It enables us to take fewer X-rays and lower the amount of ionizing radiation our patients are exposed to.
3. Finally, we utilize protective thyroid collars and protective aprons to further reduce the amount of radiation for our patients and staff.
As their doctor you are making the best decisions you can for their health. Adhering to ALARA means you are giving your patients the care they deserve in the best way possible.
Meet the Expert
Donald Cohen, DMD Dr. Donald Cohen is a licensed practicing dentist in New York State for over thirty years with over 20 years of teaching experience at Columbia University SDOS and over 20 years as an Attending Dentist at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in New York City. He is past president of the New York State Society of Dentistry For Children and is currently Director of Compliance for Health Compliance Team Inc., a national compliance company delivering total on-site compliance solutions to dental offices and numerous seminars.
Dr. Cohen is employed by HealthFirst and this blog post is his express opinion.
March 10, 2011 Ask the expert: Scalpel blade removal - Or It's Cheaper and Safer To Use Disposables
reposted from Medical Environment Update
Q: If our facility does not use disposable safety scalpels, is it okay to remove the blade by hand?
A: Removing scalpel blades is noncompliant unless "the employer can demonstrate that no alternative is feasible or that such action is required by a specific medical or dental procedure," according to the November 21, 2008, interpretation letter "OSHA's position on the use of fingers or a two-handed procedure with a hemostat to remove scalpel blades." In short, you should be using safety scalpels.
If there is a documented medical necessity, "blade removal must be accomplished through the use of a mechanical device or a one-handed technique," explains the letter. Citations involving the unnecessary capping, bending, or removal of needles and sharps in medical practices average $1,300
Donald Cohen, DMD Dr. Donald Cohen is a licensed practicing dentist in New York State for over thirty years with over 20 years of teaching experience at Columbia University SDOS and over 20 years as an Attending Dentist at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in New York City. He is past president of the New York State Society of Dentistry For Children and is currently Director of Compliance for Health Compliance Team Inc., a national compliance company delivering total on-site compliance solutions to dental offices and numerous seminars. Dr. Cohen is employed by HealthFirst and this blog post is his express opinion.