It is not uncommon that we recommend patients to see a specialist. Our philosophy regarding referrals is based entirely on quality of care, skill of practitioner, and patient experience. We recommend a referral when we feel that the outcome of a given procedure will be better in the hands of another healthcare provider – usually a specialist.
Most often, we refer for oral surgery, implants, periodontal procedures and root canals. CT evaluations, oral cancer screenings and second opinions are also referred to providers outside of this office. The individual or group that we recommend is not a random choice. My decision is based entirely on credentials, quality of care, skill, communicative ability and chair side manner. In our opinion, the specialist is the best choice for a given procedures; however, they may not be the least expensive. Referrals are not based on insurance plans, companies, or networks. There is no financial or other compensatory “kickback” for referrals to referring doctors, practices, or offices. Moreover, patients should know that the recommended doctor or practice has my professional respect and that the quality and standards found there most closely mirror mine and this office’s.
We like to point out that the quality of care of specialists varies greatly. Individual skills, office technologies, and chair side manner are highly variable in the local area. We make recommendations based upon whom we would select to perform a given procedure on my teeth; it is only with that in mind that we will refer patients to that doctor or office.
We often get questions about insurances, including who is in-network, and with which plans they participate. We understand that personal financial restrictions, especially with the current nature of the economy, are a factor for patients. Unfortunately, we have also seen “bad dentistry” - poor diagnostic and communicative skills, and overall below average experiences - that has cost my patients more money and time than if they had followed the original recommendation. We have found that, on average, out-of-network providers cost about 20% more out-of-pocket than in-network providers. Keep in mind that some procedures, such as implant placement, are not covered by insurance companies, which results in no out-of-pocket difference between in- and out-of-network providers.
We always encourage my patients to see whomever they feel comfortable with when it comes to their healthcare. When a referral is given from this office, it is in the spirit of trying to find the best match of skill and chair-side manner for a specific procedure or goal. Patients are welcome to choose any provider or group, and we at the Virginia Dental Center will work with your choice. My recommendation is simply that, a recommendation. If you feel you need to see a provider in a certain network, please contact that network for a recommendation.