Thursday, December 1, 2016

Crazy Government

Life is a dynamic process that constantly changes and is definitely full of surprises. I thought I would continue to be a dentist/small business owner for the rest of my life. Make no mistake about it, if it was my choice that is exactly what I would do. Enter the government and guess what they have another one of their crazy new regulations and once again it is time to tear out one of my few remaining hairs. This time it is Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) having a lovely time changing the rules of worker’s compensation insurance. In case you were not aware of it and there is no reason that you should have been. OSHA as of 8/10/16 has instituted a new regulation regarding worker’s compensation insurance (29 CFR 1904.35(b)(1)(i)). This new regulation does not allow for standard drug testing for employees that have worker’s compensation related injuries. The government feels that it is discrimination for employers to mandate that their employees be drug tested with worker’s compensation claims because it is possible that the employee would not file a worker’s compensation claim with a work related injury for fear of being outed for the use of illegal recreational drugs. I don’t know how you feel about it but if a bus or truck driver is illegally taking drugs and gets into an accident and several people are injured or killed I would want to know about it. If for no other reason, then to prevent this person from continuing to threaten the public. This is just another one of those crazy government over reaches that I complained about on numerous blogs. Being a business owner and a dentist they have been getting too much from me. Hopefully in the near future I will be able to be a dentist only and give up all the government hassles.  

Thursday, November 3, 2016


I came to the office 2 weeks ago at 6 AM, which is my usual time on Friday morning, and was surprised to see that our parking lot was a little wet which is certainly unusual as we had not had any rain for some time, but it did not give it a lot of thought. When I opened the door I could hear water rushing. I went over to the hygiene side and found about 2 inches of water on the floor. It was a broken pipe underneath the faucet in our hygiene room #4. I was able to get the water shut off underneath the sink and by 8 AM I was able to broom the water out the hygiene door and mop up all the extra water. I felt that I had done a really good job and we saw all the patients the rest of the day. However, by the next day the laminate floor was buckling up so much that we were unable to close doors completely. I knew we were going to be in for a major bill so I called TDIC (The Dentists Insurance Company) our dental society is self-insured insurance company. I spoke to a representative about 9:30 AM and they sent out their adjuster by noon that same day with a contractor that was supposed to be doing the repairs. After the asbestos and the lead testing was accomplished at 1:00 PM we got clearance to proceed with negative test results by 4:00 PM. The next day all of our floors and sub floors were gone along with 2 feet of sheetrock and most of the hygiene side. They placed in the fans which is normally associated with drying these things out 2 days later they were installing new sheetrock, tape and texture and a couple of days later they installed new sub floor. We are now at 2 weeks the entire hygiene side and the front desk office has been repainted and we have an office full of new flooring that is climatetizing itself to our facility. The flooring contractor is going to be coming in starting this PM and hopefully by Tuesday all the new flooring will be completed and Edison and I get to spend Wednesday AM putting the hygiene rooms back together again. I want to personally thank our fantastic staff and patients who have been very gracious in working around our construction zone and to Donita specifically who has been in charge of design of our new hygiene area. Hopefully the rest of the process will go as smoothly as it has gone so far. Boy it is great to be an optimist.

Friday, October 14, 2016


It is fairly late in the evening tonight and I am working on my presentation for our annual HIPAA update for the staff coming up and I was updating our risk assessment for catastrophe recovery under HIPAA. We actually have six backups for our computer. We have mirrored hard drives on our server, we have what is called a NAS which is a solid state drive which backs up our server every minute which is actually 2 hard drives in it, which are also mirrored. We have a remote storage facility at McClellan Air Force base in one of their secured buildings for the old Military base that is backed up every night and then we have encrypted cloud storage making for a total of six back up procedures so that your personal health information is secured and recoverable in case of a catastrophe. As I am working on this it reminded me of an old engineering joke that my father told me a few years back. The story goes that there is an engineering conference and as with most conferences all the engineers are staying at a local hotel and they have to go to the convention center and they are transported there by a convention bus. So these 3 engineers get up in the morning and go down and get on the bus. Before they reach the convention center the bus breaks down and the first engineer jumps up says I am mechanical engineer I know this is a mechanical problem I have my tool bag right here I am going to go out and fix it. The 2nd engineer jumps up says I think this is an electrical problem I know how to fix it he grabs his tool bag and runs off the bus to go fix it. The 3rd engineer is a Microsoft certified engineer and he is simply sitting in his chair and yells out at the other engineers don’t go to all the trouble this is a computer problem everyone just gets off the bus and gets back on the bus and starts up and we go on to the convention. Obviously this is meant to be an extreme version of the story but it is part of modern society and the reason that we have six backups for recovery of all of your protected health information which includes obviously all the documentation of all the different procedures that we have done on you. Hopefully we never have to use any of our catastrophe recovery tools and we can just ride on the bus over to the convention center without having to get off. See you at our next blog.

Thursday, September 29, 2016


I had the unique experience the other day of having a meeting with the periodontal group that we do most of our referrals with. Capitol Periodontal Group came by the office for a meet and greet. Most of the senior members of that group which I have been working with for the last 40 years have retired. Dr. Angel, Dr. Roberts, Dr. Hogan were some of the original owners. The 2nd generation,Dr. Lane and Dr. Berrin have retired leading me to the 3rd generation of seniors in the practice. Dr. Towfighi and Dr. Pretel. I had not had the opportunity to meet several of the younger members of their group (the 4th generation), so Dr. Towfighi said he would bring over some of the members to my office for lunch. I was shocked when everyone came. There was a group of 10 of us all sitting around talking about the differences of the new procedures in Periodontics. One of the topics was the new LANAP procedure which stands for Laser Assisted New Attachment Procedure. They reviewed the procedure with me and as one of the comments that I heard was that it is the “Holy Grail of periodontics” because it actually allows new bone to generate and new gum tissue to generate around infected and periodontally diseased teeth. This puts into question one of my periodontal instructors at UCLA, Dr. Takie, whose favorite phrase was  “you show more or have them no more” which means that you did gum tissue reduction to eliminate periodontal pockets in order to save your teeth. That process can lead to substantial issues associated with post-op sensitivity and additional decay problems. The new LANAP procedure however allows patients to avoid all these issues. This is obviously a new procedure it has only recently received FDA approval in 2015 and so it will be interesting to see how valuable this process is. The reason that I am mentioning all this is we have a large number of patients that I think can benefit from this process and so don’t be surprised if you hear our hygienist mention it. Hopefully it will truly become the “holy grail” and we will be able to save a lot more teeth.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Government Regulations

In my mind, there is no question that government continues to intrude on our lives more and more. Whenever we have a new patient come into the office, because of government rules, we have to electronically sign all the different forms that the government requires us to have. These are primarily part of HIPAA, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. And although it may seem like a pain in the neck, they are the government's way of protecting us from ourselves. Often times I will have patient's comment to me about the number of forms they have to sign and I relate to them that it is similar to buying a car or buying a house or signing that crazy contract with Apple when they are upgrading our software. These are forms that are drawn up by a team of attorneys you never really want to read, but it is probably better for you if you do. In our particular situation when the patients get a little frustrated in signing the forms my comment to them is usually the same, “the government will protect you from everything ill that will ever happen to you,. All you have to do is sign away all of your rights and give them all your money.” That is meant as a joke, but the way things are going it really seems like there may be a lot of truth in saying that. It certainly will be interesting to see how our next presidential election works out in November.  It will definitely give us some indication as to the direction that we are heading in our country. In my opinion, hopefully government does not get any more intrusive than it already is. By the way, having reached Medicare age I'm wondering how I managed to survive so long.  

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Stress Test

One of the best aspects of aging is that you see life in different perspectives over a period of years. After doing dentistry for 40 years I have certainly seen a lot of interesting things that primarily has brought me great joy. However, getting old comes with a cost. One of those costs, interesting enough is having your wife yell at you about getting a cardiac stress test done. You know that when you go to the doctor and they put you on a treadmill and increase the speed and inclination to get your heart rate up to see the overall condition of your heart. I got the pleasure of participating in a stress test a few weeks ago after having my wife yell at me for a number of months about it. I went to the doctor’s office the cardiologist checked my medical vitals before I got started and then she gave me over to the technician to perform the stress test. There are 7 levels to the stress test I did get through 5 of them with my heart rate getting up to over 180. When we were on the 3rd level I noticed that the inclination was starting to get to me a little bit so I asked the technician if he ever had anyone pass out while taking the stress test. He indicated that very morning he had a patient go into cardiac arrest while doing a similar stress test. Fortunately, with the cardiologist right there the patient did survive but it did certainly make me wonder about my own mortality and perhaps gave me a little bit more desire to perform well on the stress test. Interesting enough the technician came in a couple of days later as a new patient to our office and we were reminiscing about my adventure at his office. I am anticipating that his adventure in our dental office will be as much of a success as mine was at his and not like the other guy's.  Hopefully I'll see you on my next blog.  

Friday, August 5, 2016

Old sayings

It is time to continue my "old sayings" blogs. This time it is 1972 UCLA School of Dentistry's Dr. Jennet. He was my group director and practiced dentistry for years in Portland, Oregon. He retired and I was blessed to have him as my clinical instructor for my 4 years at UCLA. Based on his experiences in private practice and at UCLA he was able to observe dentistry from several different angles. Thus his wealth of old sayings was substantial. How about one of my favorites first “Dentistry is not expensive, Neglect is.” That is even more true in 2016 than it was in 1972. If you want to "feel good" you need to take care of yourself, and that includes your teeth! Don’t ignore your symptoms is what Dr. Jennet was trying to get through, if you do it will cost you time, energy and probably a lot of money to fix a problem that should never of occurred. To that end old saying #2 comes to mind.  “You only have to floss the teeth you want to keep.” What he was saying is also part of his old saying #3, “there is nothing better for you than a little appropriate oral hygiene.” Obviously, Dr. Jennet like myself, lived and breathed dentistry. But I firmly believe he did not like being in the dental chair any more than I do today. Which leads me to his 4th saying “dentistry is like Christmas, it is better to give than to receive,” You have to admit he did have a weird sense of humor. See you at my next blog.