Billing Dentist or Treating Dentist Signature on Claim Form?
As a professional billing service we have to be on top of all of the issues that can affect the collections of monies owed to the practice. One of the up and coming issues is that of locum tenens.
A locum tenens is a person who temporarily fulfills the duties of another. For example, a locum physician is a physician who works in the place of the regular physician when that physician is absent, or when a hospital/practice is short-staffed. These professionals are still governed by their respective regulatory bodies, despite the transient nature of their positions. (wikipedia) This application of Locum Tenens is primarily temporary working assignments for licensed dentists.
How does this apply to eAssist? When a locum dentist provides services for a dental practice as a substitute or as a temporary dentist, he or she must be licensed by the applicable state and have a current DEA license as well. Practices will ask eAssist if or where the name of the locum dentist should appear on the claim form. When we posed this question to a reputable national dental organization, we received the following response:
“The treating dentist (presumably the locum tenens doctor in your case) must sign the form under the area circled below (#53). It should not be signed by someone who did not provide the care, or have oversight of the care (as when an employer dentist would sign that an employee hygienist had performed certain treatments). The doctor signing is verifying that they provided the treatment that was done on the patient or as in the case of the hygienist’s work; it was done under the direction of that dentist.
The dentist treating the patient is the one who should be listed and also is the one who should sign, as it is under their license that the work was done. (Please note that there are some very limited exceptions to this, such as when a dental student is performing work under the direction of a licensed dental instructor, but I sense this is not the case here.)
The owner dentist’s information can go into the Billing Dentist or Dental Entity section (#48 on the form below) of the claim form, if one wants payment to go to that account, rather than to the treating dentist.”