February 18, 2011
In 2003, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) issued a policy statement, along with a number of medical organizations, discouraging disclosure of a provider’s DEA registration number to insurance companies or others not involved in the legal chain of distribution for controlled substances. There is concern that use of DEA numbers for provider identification purposes could increase instances of prescription fraud and diversion.
In recognition of this DEA policy, the 2010 CDA House of Delegates directed the CDA to adopt a policy discouraging the sharing of DEA numbers with insurance companies for credentialing purposes. The CDA Board of Trustees adopted this policy in January 2011.
The CDA has also reached out to dental insurance companies to educate them about the DEA’s policy recommendation and to discourage the collection of DEA numbers as part of provider credentialing. While some insurers seemed cooperative with the policy initially, several dentists have reported minor administrative hurdles when they did not provide their DEA number on the credentialing applications. Specifically, some of these companies have responded to provider applications with a letter or e-mail stating that dentists must send a copy of their DEA license in order to process the application. Dentists have been told they must then respond to the letter stating that they are refusing to give their DEA number. The dentist can include copies of the CDA and DEA policies linked above to document the reason for refusal. After the dentist responds in this manner, the credentialing application is approved. The CDA is continuing to work with these insurance companies to streamline the credentialing process. The CDA is also exploring changes to the uniform credentialing application that could help simplify this process for all members.