What's on the Plate?

What's on the Plate?

Edward J. Vigna, D.D.S.*:

Happy New Year. I trust everyone had a joyous Holiday Season, and that you are now ready for 2009. We are all watching with great interest the coming new direction in health care. I assure you, the Board of Trustees and all appropriate agencies of the ADA are poised and ready to respond to protect and preserve dentistry from any onerous positions should they come our way. We must all be engaged in the debate, at the state and at the federal levels, and insure we have a chair at the table as a participant in the discussion — as opposed to being served on the plate! At this time, it is far too early for any of us to speculate what this new direction will look like. Needless to say, there will be more to come on this topic.

Initiatives and Priorities
At our December meeting, the Board of Trustees established important priorities for the New Year. Our 2009 priority initiatives are as follow.
1. “Implementing the Principles of Improving Oral Health in America”
2. “Access to Care Summit”
3. “Summit on Diversity in Dentistry”
4. “Our Legacy, Our Future” campaign
5. “Innovation” campaign
6. “Center for Evidence-Based Dentistry” initiatives
7. CDEL/CEBJA Initiative: Integrity/Ethics, Dental Education/Profession
8. “Evaluate annually ADA governance and BOT rules to increase organizational efficiency”
9. Redesign of ADA Website
10. Expanded Professional Product Review
11. Identify Membership Magnets (issues of urgent relevance to members)
12. Review MRM project and implementation
This is an aggressive agenda, and we have much work before us.

Other major actions are as follow.
ADA Legislative and Regulatory Priorities
1. Appropriations for dental research, education, the Indian Health Service, and military dental research (including funding for dental residencies and dental infrastructure)
2. Quality measurements (including Dental Quality Alliance, if approved; Federal Trade Commission; and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality)
3. Oral health care for Alaska natives and American Indians
4. Meth Mouth
5. Dental Workforce (including ADHP and CDHC)
6. Elder Care (including the Special Care Dentistry Act)
7. NIDCR issues (including reauthorization of the agency)
8. Pay-for-Performance and other value purchasing initiatives
9. Health care reform (including universal coverage)
10. Dental materials (including amalgam, BPA, lead in crowns, bleaching by non-dentists)
11. Health information technology
12. Medicaid
13. Title VII reauthorization (including dental faculty recruitment)
14. Student loan interest deduction/debt
15. SCHIP reauthorization
16. Diet and nutrition (use of food stamps to purchase soda)
17. Student loan repayments (military, National Health Service Corps, Indian Health Service, Bureau of Prisons)
18. Disaster preparedness and response
19. Antitrust issues
20. Tobacco regulation and control (Food and Drug Administration, state and federal legislation/regulation)

In August, the Council on Dental Benefit Programs (CDBP) was asked by the Board of Trustees to provide guidance on granting a license to incorporate the past version of the System of Dental Nomenclature (SNODENT) in the Systemized Nomenclature of Medicine-Clinical Terms (SNOMED CT.) The purpose of requesting the Council’s recommendations was to assist the ADA in its negotiations with the International Health Terminology Standards Development Organization (IHTSDO). The CDBP received and discussed oral and written reports on SNODENT and SNOMED activities and a recent IHTSDO letter on the matter at its November 6-8, 2008 meeting. After careful consideration, and thorough discussion, the Council believed that the IHTSDO’s proposal contained in its November 5, 2008 letter should be rejected by the ADA.

The Board approved a resolution demanding that the IHTSDO remove all ADA intellectual property from SNOMED CT, and agreed to monitor to ensure that there is no infringement by the IHTSDO of ADA intellectual property.

Dental Quality Alliance
The Board agreed that the American Dental Association should participate in the Dental Quality Alliance (DQA) proposed by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) contingent upon the Association having an authoritative leadership role in the development and operation of the Alliance documented in written communication from the appropriate official at CMS. Furthermore, the Council on Dental Benefit Programs, in coordination with the Board of Trustees, will take the lead in the CMS proposal and the Council on Dental Practice and Council on Government Affairs will be active in monitoring DQA activities and receive regular reports on the DQA.

The Board also agreed to initiate an educational program at the appropriate time aimed at informing members about the Dental Quality Alliance and the rationale for the Association’s participation and leadership in its development and operation, using available communication vehicles and resources.

These are two very important topics for all of us, and I will have more to share as events around SNODENT and the DQA unfold.

Collaborative Management Conference

On January 8 and 9, the Collaborative Management Conference was held in Chicago. This is the new name for the Silo Busting Conference, and I was very impressed with the reports from councils and the true evidence of council collaboration. A new era of transparency is before us, and I urge all council members to ensure that it continues.

Executive Director Search Update
The process of selecting a new Executive Director is moving along nicely. I hope in the near future I will have an outcome to report.

As Always ...
As always, I encourage your comments, so please contact me if I can be of any assistance. I am available at the following numbers:
Phone: (402)770-7070
E-mail: vignae@ada.org

*Dr. Ed Vigna is the Trustee to the Tenth District of the American Dental Association, representing Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota.