Sessions, Agenda and Speakers

Thursday, January 25th, 2024

7:30 am – Registration
8:15 am – Ninth District Dental Society Welcome Address
8:30 am – Ben Tuinei 
7 Steps to Negotiating PPO Fees, Increase the Efficiency of Insurance Administration and Firing PPO’s Without Your Patients Firing you

12:00 pm – Lunch
1:00 pm – Cliff Gratz 
New Paradigm in Oral Implantology: Morse Taper Implants and Platform Switching

2:30 pm – Blake McClellan 
How to Effectively Grow Your Practice Through social media

4:15 pm – Happy Hour and Hors d’oeuvres in the Trade Show Hall

friday, January 26th, 2024

7:30 am – Check in
8:00 am – Christopher Jones DMD, MS, FACP 
Conquering Implant Complications: Etiology, Prevention, and Treatment”

12:30 pm – Lunch
1:15 pm – Pamela Strahs 
Navigating your Route to Practice Success

2:00 pm – Varisha Parikh  
Digital Dentistry: The New Standard in Implant Workflows

Ben Tuinei

Ben Tuinei, Veritas Dental Resources | Expert Insurance Analyst
January 25, 2024

3rd party payor negotiating, more specifically Dental Insurance Fee Negotiations, is still a foreign concept to dentists nationwide, and worldwide. Mr. Tuinei has spent the last 14 years improving and perfecting this relatively new effort in the Dental Business world and will be sharing a few secrets about how to effectively negotiate better fees with dental insurance companies in his lecture “3rd Party Payor Fee Negotiations”.

Mr. Tuinei began his dental career in 2007 while working for a small dental corporation in Phoenix Arizona managing all insurance related functions. He was hired as the Cheif of 3rd Party Payor Operations. During his first few months, he created systems and operating protocols and restructured a 12 person billing department that improved collections from a  low 65% to 98%.  At the same time, Mr. Tuinei learned how to effectively negotiate with 3rd party payors that gave a boost in annual insurance related revenue of nearly 1 million dollars for a team of only 10 general dentists. Mr. Tuinei’s early experience in negotiating with 3rd party payors caught the attention of other large group practices and hundreds of solo dental practitioners in Arizona, Utah, Nevada, Idaho and Colorado.  Consequently, he unintentionally discovered an under-served section of the dental industry: 3rd party payor negotiating (aka insurance fee negotiating).  Mr. Tuinei opened Optimum Dental Solutions in September 2009 to serve the needs of dentists who were actively seeking assistance in improving their insurance reimbursements. In 2014 Optimum Dental Solutions was rebranded to Veritas Dental Resources. Veritas stands for truth and is a core value you will not find while dealing with dental insurance directly.

During its first 2 years in operation Optimum Dental Solutions contracted with over 400 dental practices influencing a combined $10 million in additional annual revenue increases by implementing Mr. Tuinei’s proprietary PPO optimization strategies and effective 3rd party payor negotiating.  To-date, Mr Tuinei has worked with over 7000 dentists influencing over 3 billion dollars of newly negotiated revenue for his clients. Mr Tuinei currently serves as the President of Veritas Dental Resources.

Mr. Tuinei is going on his 24nd year as a professional public speaker. He currently serves as the President of Veritas Dental Resources and sits on the Board of Directors for The Dental Business School, Business Ownership Mentoring of America, The Dental Leadership Academy, and a co-host on The Navigating Dental Insurance Podcast.

Mr. Tuinei has been recognized by several state Dental Associations and various dental study clubs as “The Authority” on PPO strategies and PPO fee Negotiating.
Please see his most recent article in Aesthetic Dentistry Magazine titled “Play to Win” and his PPO Pandemic Strategy article in Dental Economics.

7 Steps to Negotiating PPO Fees
This course will provide details on a proven step by step process on how to successfully negotiate fees with insurance companies. Participants will also learn about “leasing arrangements” PPO’s have with each other and how that could impact fees for dental offices in both a positive and negative manner. While negotiations in every industry are different, this course will teach basic negotiating skills that are specific to dealing with dental insurance companies. Participants will leave this course knowing with a better understanding of how insurance companies determine reimbursement rates and how they (the participants) can negotiate better reimbursement terms from most dental plans.

Increase the Efficiency of Insurance Administration
It is no secret that insurance companies have invested a lot of time and effort in employing questionable claims processing guidelines in an effort to reduce what they pay out to dental practices. The insurance industry has mastered a number of concepts found in the book “The Art of War” to help them master deceptive business tactics against dental offices. This course will bring light to these Art of War concepts in a way that will allow participants to better defend themselves from the apparent and perceived “abuse” they receive from insurance companies. At the end of this course participants will have a better understanding on how to apply Art of War Concepts to counteract abusive, illegal, or otherwise unethical acts on the part of insurance companies. An example of this is how do you really get an insurance company to stay out of clinical care? Do insurance companies have a right to deny a case of scaling and root planing because they (the insurance plan) doesn’t agree with your diagnosis? Are insurance companies allowed to alter or change Current Dental Terminology? How do I reduce the rate of denials on covered treatment that patients need? This course will provide key answers to these questions and more.

Policing Illegal and Unethical Acts by Insurance Companies 
One of the reasons why insurance companies push the envelope on engaging in unethical, or otherwise illegal activity, is because most of their acts go unchallenged by dental offices. Yes you may send a stern letter or an aggressive appeal to the insurance companies but those appeals often fall on blind eyes and deaf ears. As a result, your concerns never get addressed and these insurance related problems never go away. Many in the dental industry know that State Insurance Commissioners are there to advocate on behalf of patients for insurance coverage issues but most dental practices get turned away when seeking the assistance of a government entity like the Insurance Commissioner. This course will teach participants on how to effectively engage government entities in a partnership to advocate on behalf of patients who are not gaining access to insurance benefits they need paid for and benefits they need. Participants will leave this course with a better understanding of which government entities can be involved in the claims appeal process and what steps should be taken to get those governing entries involved in fighting for your patients rights.

Non-Covered Services and the Federal HITECH Act of 2009
Most states have passed laws that prohibit insurance companies from enforcing low PPO fees for non-covered services. However, since nearly half of all dental plans are issued by an employer that “self-funds” their dental benefits, most state laws become obsolete as Self-Funded plans are governed by ERISA at the federal level. Federal laws indicate that ERISA eligible dental plans are exempt from state laws and state licensing requirements. As such, many dental practices are not able to charge their full or otherwise fair fees for non-covered services. This course will teach participants on what their options are in being able to bill patients fair and reasonable fees for non-covered services by fully utilizing provisions of the federal HITECH Act of 2009. The purpose of this course is to provide participants with knowledge to employer them to place safeguards in their billing protocols so as to protect the financial integrity of quality care. In other words, this course will teach you how to not pay for your patients treatment needs, especially for non-covered services that are priced below (on PPO fee schedules) your material cost to deliver the treatment.

Firing PPO’s Without Your Patients Firing You
While the vast majority of doctors despise how insurance carriers treat them, it is a known fact that the insurance industry has done a fantastic job at spreading rumors that you (the doctors) need them more than they need you. It is a common misconception that if you drop an insurance plan you will lose all patients that have that insurance. I believe this lie has been perpetuated by the insurance industry as we’ve observed thousands of dental practices terminate their agreements while still retaining patients who have that particular insurance plan. This course is designed to teach doctors and their teams on how to eliminate restrictive in-network contracts in a way that influences a high patient retention rate. This course unveils the history of how dental insurance plans gained so much control over the dental industry and how an individual dentist can free herself/himself from insurance control.

Cliff Gratz

Cliff Gratz, Director of Implant Solutions Neodent
January 25, 2024

Cliff Gratz provides a 20-year career in the dental implant industry, showcasing his expertise and deep understanding of the field. His journey began as a sales representative and trainer for 8 years with Nobel Biocare. Building upon his experience, Cliff ventured into establishing his own dental implant practice, focusing on comprehensive full arch rehabilitation using implants, in the Philadelphia area. Continuing his pursuit of professional growth, Cliff transitioned to the role of National Account Manager for ClearChoice Dental Implant Centers. Presently, Cliff serves as the Director of Implant Solutions at Neodent, a position he earned after excelling as a sales representative, trainer, and Regional Sales Manager within the organization. In his current role, Cliff plays a vital part in developing and nurturing relationships with key opinion leaders throughout the United States. This involvement enables him to stay at the forefront of implant innovation and fosters collaborative efforts between various departments, including Sales, Training, Marketing, and Education. Cliff Gratz’s multifaceted background and comprehensive experience have made him a respected figure in the dental implant industry.

New Paradigm in Oral Implantology: Morse Taper Implants and Platform Switching
Development of dental implants through the past few decades has seen many different designs and surface treatments to assist with achieving primary and secondary stability to achieve osseointegration. The provisional restoration of these implants is a vital part of overall implant treatment in regard to both esthetic and functional concerns. There are a number of abutment options available that enable fabrication of esthetically pleasing restorations for both single and multiple unit prosthesis. These prosthetic connections, when restored properly, play a key role in bone crest height maintenance, implant success, and overall patient satisfaction. This presentation will discuss these available options and how to best utilize them to deliver successful outcomes.

Learning Objectives
At the conclusion of this seminar, participants will be able to:
• Understand the benefits of the morse taper connection and how it relates to implant success.
• Discuss abutment characteristics that are considered when selecting the components and how they effect the esthetics of the final prosthesis.
• Recognize the important role that the abutment plays in the final outcome of the restoration.

Blake McClellan

Blake McClellan, Senior Product Manager, Implants & Surgical
January 25, 2024

Blake McClellan co-founded several disruptive organizations in dental such as the Dental Influencers Alliance and Implant Compare; a live-streaming surgery application. Building his brands through Instagram, YouTube, and other social platforms.Gaining a global audience of over 50k followers in dentistry and featured on several podcasts and dental publications over his 13 years in the industry.

Currently, Blake is the Senior Product Manager for ZimVie dental focusing on the next generation of innovations in implant dentistry.

Christopher Jones

Christopher Jones, DMD, MS, FACP
January 26, 2024

Dr. Jones served in the US Air Force after high school and worked as a structural journeyman renovating and constructing facilities for 6 years. After completing his service obligation, he attended Boise State University for his undergraduate studies. He then attended Case Western School of Dental Medicine in Cleveland, Ohio where he was recognized for excellence in prosthodontics and esthetic dentistry. During his 1st year of dental school, he was selected for one of the US Air Force’s competitive health profession scholarships. While in dental school his exposure to more challenging patients ignited his passion for solving complex dental situations, which led him to apply for a prosthodontic residency.

Immediately following dental school, he completed the US Air Force’s 8-week commissioned officer training course; he was a distinguished graduate and commended for his remarkable leadership skills. He then attended the prestigious advanced prosthodontic residency at the historic Wilford Hall Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas. He concurrently attended the University of Texas Health Science Center and earned his Master of Science in biomedical sciences for his research on the link between bruxism and obstructive sleep apnea. Because of his exceptional clinical skills and aptitude for education, he was assigned to be the prosthodontic instructor for the Advanced Education in General Dentistry residency in Omaha, Nebraska. He was responsible for educating and mentoring dentists on advanced restorative and prosthodontic techniques. This included many didactic and clinical hours of education working side by side with each resident. The following year, he successfully challenged the rigorous 4-part ACP examination to become the only board-certified prosthodontist in Idaho; a distinction less than 15% of prosthodontists hold. After more than 13 years of US Air Force service, he began the next chapter of his professional career by entering private practice at Boise Prosthodontics in Idaho.

He shares 4 children with his wife of 25 years, Becky. When he’s not at work, he can be found spending time enjoying the beautiful scenery that Idaho has to offer; hiking, camping, and exploring with his family. He also enjoys riding his dirt bike, watching movies, playing basketball, and running.

Pamela Strahs

Pamela Strahs, Practice Consultant with Henry Schein
January 26, 2024

Pamela Strahs, a Practice Consultant with Henry Schein One: My passion for dentistry began as a dental assistant in the 1980’s. Shortly thereafter, I was offered the opportunity to manage a general practice, in Southern California where I spent 22 years as their Practice Administrator. With my strong desire for continued personal growth and development, I certified as a Dentrix Trainer, and started my own Consulting Practice specializing in Staff Development. As avid outdoorsmen, my husband and I made the decision to relocate to Montana, and in 2018, and I joined the team of Consultants at HS One! I am truly passionate about what I do, and love sharing my 35+ years of Industry knowledge to assist practices with increasing revenue, patient retention, decreasing staff turnover, and empower practices to make decisions and take actions that bring them closer to their ultimate vision of growth and success!

Navigating your Route to Practice Success
We all have our preferred navigation method for getting from point A to point B. Some people prefer to use Google Maps, others prefer to use Waze, and some still stop by the AAA office to pick up a physical map. Regardless of which method you choose, you will discover there are usually several possible routes you could take to arrive at your desired destination. Based on the data you surmise about each route, the pros and cons are analyzed before a decision is made. We know insightful data should drive the decisions we make about the future of our dental practice but knowing which data to consider and how to apply that data to your specific practice’s needs, culture, and objectives can seem overwhelming at times. Dental practices are not “one size fits all.” Industry-standard KPIs are helpful but they must be analyzed and evaluated with your specific practice’s demographics, goals, and team in mind. Join us for an informative course on how to utilize data to help you navigate your path to success.

Varisha Parikh

Varisha Parikh, Dentsply Sirona
January 26, 2024

Dr. Varisha Parikh is a prosthodontist with her own private practice in Los Angeles, California. She completed her degree in dental medicine at the Arizona School of Dentistry and Oral Health and obtained her speciality training in Prosthodontics at the University of California, Los Angeles. Her practice primarily focuses on utilizing digital technology for implant fixed and implant removable prostheses. She enjoys sharing her clinical expertise and experience with colleagues around the world and as a lecturer for the UCLA Department of Advanced Prosthodontics.

In her spare time Dr. Parikh enjoys trying new restaurants and spending time at the beach.

Course Description : 
As digital technology continues to advance, it has become an essential tool in implant dentistry. This course will provide a comprehensive overview of full chairside digital implant workflows in private practice. Participants will learn how to utilize digital technology to enhance efficiency, precision, and patient outcomes in implant procedures. The course will cover the entire process from digital treatment planning to chairside milling of custom abutments and the final restoration. Participants will gain a deep understanding of the advantages of digital implant workflows over traditional analog methods, including reduced chair time, improved accuracy, and increased patient satisfaction. The course will also delve into the latest digital implant tools and software, including intraoral scanners, implant planning software, and chairside milling machines. By the end of the course, participants will be equipped with the knowledge and skills needed to implement full chairside digital implant workflows in their private practice, positioning them at the forefront of digital dentistry in implantology.

Three learning objectives:

  1. Understand the benefits of utilizing full chairside digital implant workflows in private practice, including increased efficiency, accuracy, and patient satisfaction.
  2. Learn how to incorporate digital technology into implant procedures, including digital treatment planning, intraoral scanning, implant placement guidance, and chairside milling of custom abutments and restorations.
  3. Gain knowledge and skills in the latest digital implant tools and software, including implant planning software, intraoral scanners, and chairside milling machines, to improve implant outcomes and enhance patient experiences.