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Your Dental Office News, August 27, 2022: Schedule Now, Holiday Schedule, Out-of-Network, Keto Chili!

Summer vacations are officially over and we’re now back to school. This time of year is always a whirlwind as we try to figure out our new schedules and catch up on everything we didn’t tackle if  we were away. We want to remind you to take a deep breath and relax – you got this! 

While you’re taking a breather, we hope that you enjoy this newsletter. In this issue we share with you important updates about our appointment schedule, provide some clarification on in- versus out-of-network insurance benefits, and more! 

In This Issue:

  • Schedule Now for School Breaks
  • In-Network Vs. Out-of-Network Insurance Benefits
  • Honoring Our Team Members
  • Recipe of the Month (from Oscar, Front Desk Coordinator/Assistant): Chili
  • Please Leave us a Review!

We wish you a safe and fun Labor Day!

SCHEDULE NOW FOR SCHOOL BREAKS

We know it’s hard to think about Thanksgiving and winter holidays while we’ve barely hit pumpkin spice season, but if you’re planning to come in for a cleaning during school breaks and the holidays, you need to schedule now. 

We are currently scheduling routine cleanings into late November, early December. Appointments with the doctors for restorative treatments are also being scheduled a couple of weeks out. 

We will be closed:

  • Thanksgiving on Thursday, November 24th and Friday, November 25th. 
  • Christmas on Monday, December 26th
  • New Year’s on Monday, January 2nd.

If you can’t schedule an appointment on your preferred day, schedule for the next available date and ask to be added to our “ASAP list.” We will call you if we get an opening in our schedule, and hopefully be able to get you in sooner. You can also give a call a couple of days in advance of your preferred day to see if we had any last minute cancellations. The holidays are a tumultuous time and our schedule is constantly changing. We hope that we’ll be able to see you soon!

IN-NETWORK VS OUT-OF-NETWORK INSURANCE COVERAGE

We often get asked if we accept a certain type of insurance. While we are in-network with several insurance plans, we accept ANY PPO plan with Out-of-Network benefits. 

For most plans, the percentage of coverage for in- versus out-of-network is usually the same. 

But what does out-of-network actually mean? In practice, there will often be no or minimal out-of-pocket cost. Your insurance company will bill you the difference of what it dictates a procedure should cost (“Allowable Fee”) and the fee we charge for the procedure (“Usual and Customary Rates,” or UCR).  Our UCR fees are based on our zip code, and we monitor them so that our fees are average for our area. As a result, our UCR fees are usually still within or very close to the Allowable Fees set by a lot of insurance companies. For most patients using their Out-Of-Network benefits for Preventive and Diagnostic Services, in- and out-of network fees are often quite similar and you won’t have to pay a lot out-of-pocket.. 

If you use your out-of-network benefits in our office, we will help check your insurance benefits in advance, and submit claims on your behalf. For Restorative Services we will even submit pre-treatment estimates so that you will be prepared for your out of pocket costs. However, please remember that you are ultimately still responsible for understanding and knowing your benefits.

Sometimes seeing an out-of-network provider is advantageous, allowing you to find the most suitable dental office for your specific needs. It is very important to feel at ease every time you see your dentist, to trust their judgment, and not to feel that they’re pushing treatment on you.  If you go out -of- network, you will have more choices – you can choose a friendly, caring, and welcoming office like ours, that will help you to feel stress-free when going through your dental treatments.

When it comes to choosing doctors, you have more choices than you may think.  It is advisable to base your choice on things such as good quality oral care, long lasting materials and guaranteed treatments rather than in- versus out-of-network coverage. This will save you a lot of time and money in the future, not to mention toothaches.

Honoring Our Team Members

To learn more about our team members, visit Our Team page on our website.

Saying Goodbye and Best of Luck to Lindsey

Lindsey has been with our practice since 2010 and has been a favorite hygienist for many of our patients. We have been lucky to have her as part of our amazing team for the past 12 years and are sad to announce that she has left our practice to work full-time for a periodontal specialist. We wish Lindsey the best of luck in her future endeavors and will sorely miss her beautiful smile and bubbly personality around the office. Lindsey asked us to share with you that she will miss her patients and team members dearly, and she thanks everyone for their friendship, laughter, and smiles over the years. She will continue to work with us on special projects such as expos for patients with special needs, and may be able to come in occasionally on a Friday or Saturday as a substitute hygienist. Thank you, Lindsey, for your passion, hard work and dedication! 

Welcome Oscar!

Please join us in welcoming our newest team member Oscar! Oscar moved to the area from New Jersey and is slowly getting the hang of pumping his own gas. He joins our team with 12 years’ experience as a dental assistant and front desk coordinator, and enjoys helping patients achieve the best patient experience. Oscar has a love for fashion, design, and cooking. Among the many talents he brings to our office, Oscar is bilingual in Spanish and English!

MVP – Kristy

Every month we recognize a team member who has gone above and beyond for our patients or other team members. 

In July, we recognized our dental assistant Kristy! Kristy is always the team player with the best positive attitude. She communicates kindly to our team members and patients. She is dependable in that she is  always on time and is a great substitute team leader when Annette is out. Kristy was voted MVP because we can always count on her!

Invisible Worker Recognition

With vacations and illnesses, everyone in the office was under pressure to fill in where needed. We want to recognize our entire amazing team for their hard work and professionalism while working under these stressful times, made even more so by being short-staffed. 

LOW CARB KETO CHILI

Source: https://www.wholesomeyum.com/recipes/low-carb-chili-in-crock-pot-or-instant-pot-paleo-gluten-free/

An EASY low carb keto chili recipe without beans, made in a Crock Pot, slow cooker, or Instant Pot pressure cooker, using common ingredients. Only 15 minutes prep time.

 PREP: 15 minutes  COOK: 8 hours  TOTAL: 8 hours 15 minutes

 AUTHOR: Maya Krampf from WholesomeYum.com

SERVINGS: 10

INGREDIENTS

INSTRUCTIONS

CROCK POT SLOW COOKER INSTRUCTIONS

  1. In a lightly oiled skillet over medium-high heat, cook the chopped onion for 5-7 minutes, until translucent (or increase the time to about 20 minutes if you like them caramelized). Add the garlic and cook for a minute or less, until fragrant.
  2. Add the ground beef. Cook for 8-10 minutes, breaking apart with a spatula, until browned.
  3. Transfer the ground beef mixture into a slow cooker. Add remaining ingredients, except bay leaf, and stir until combined. Place the bay leaf into the middle, if using.
  4. Cook for 6-8 hours on low or 3-4 hours on high. If you used a bay leaf, remove it before serving.

INSTANT POT PRESSURE COOKER INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Select the “Sauté” setting on the pressure cooker (this part is done without the lid). Add a little oil and the chopped onion and cook for 5-7 minutes, until translucent (or increase the time to about 20 minutes if you like them caramelized). Add the garlic and cook for a minute or less, until fragrant.
  2. Add the ground beef. Cook for 8-10 minutes, breaking apart with a spatula, until browned.
  3. Add remaining ingredients, except bay leaf, to the Instant Pot and stir until combined. (For the Instant Pot version, it is recommended to also add a cup of water or broth.) Place the bay leaf into the middle, if using.
  4. Close the lid. Press “Keep Warm/Cancel” to stop the saute cycle. Select the “Meat/Stew” setting (35 minutes) to start pressure cooking.
  5. Wait for the natural release if you can, or turn the valve to “vent” for quick release if you’re short on time. If you used a bay leaf, remove it before serving.

NOTES

This is a very chunky keto chili, which I think is a good thing. If you prefer yours thinner, you can add a little water (or broth!) prior to cooking to thin it out as desired. This may also reduce calories and carbs per serving, depending on how much you add.

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