In the Starting Blocks for 2012

In the Starting Blocks for 2012

Edward J. Vigna, D.D.S.*:
As I write this article, we are but a few days from Christmas and the end of the year is clearly in sight. Since you are actually reading this in 2012, I hope each of you had an  excellent holiday season and that you are ready for all the good things a new year can bring. 
 
Looking Over 2011
In retrospect, 2011 was a good year for the ADA. We started to see the value of investments made in our IT infrastructure, with special emphasis on the new budget software  and our latest connection for members, ADA Connect, just to mention a few. Organizational efficiency and more cross-council engagement on projects were evident. In general,  2011 was a year of calm and progress, yet many unanswered questions remain. 
 
On to 2012
It was obvious at our December Board of Trustees meeting that we have an aggressive agenda before us for the new year. We will see the first public service announcements in  association with our many partners and the Ad Council. Our position as the dental expert on the ShareCare website will enhance our image with the public. One initiative I feel is  critical is our Business Development Plan. In order to achieve the 2011-2014 Strategic Plan Goal 4: Ensure that the ADA is a financially stable organization that provides  ppropriate resources to enable strategic and operational initiatives, the ADA must increase non-dues revenue over the next two years by a significant percentage. In addition, the  ADA requires resources to invest in innovation and new products and services to enhance member value.
 
Business Development on the Agenda
Business development is the structure and process for generating non-dues revenue that supports member growth. Currently, the ADA lacks the internal infrastructure to support  business development in a meaningful way. Product development is decentralized. Prior failed business development efforts (ADAidm and Member Relationship Management) have  discouraged the leadership from making further investments in new business development. The ADA does not have a uniform pricing strategy and lacks sufficient financial  resources for a robust research and development function leading to new products and services for members and the public. Finally, there is an absence of disciplined idea  generation leading to innovation, including a prioritization process among the divisions and agencies. 
 
Global Oral Health
The Board heard several compelling presentations related to the global oral health environment. A combination of the growing demand for ADA products and services (including  affiliate membership, CE, practice management, product testing, ADA publications, and ADA-led outreach initiatives), the necessity to communicate key global policy issues and  scientific findings to our members, and the importance for the ADA to secure new and sustainable sources of revenue prompted the Board to approve a motion recognizing that international engagement will now be a strategic priority for the Association. 
 
New Consumer-Focused Website
The Board also discussed a new consumer-focused ADA website, distinct from www.ADA.org. The Board authorized the Division of Communications to move forward with this exciting  project, under the oversight of the Council on Communications. Research and development is underway, and we expect the site to launch next summer. 
 
Dental Accreditation  Standards for Dental Therapy Education Programs
The Board adopted two resolutions addressing the Commission on Dental Accreditation’s recent action to develop accreditation standards for dental therapy education programs.  The bottom line concern for the ADA is related to the processes that CODA used to arrive at its decision to accredit dental therapy educational programs; in particular, whether  CODA followed its own processes and procedures when it determined the current dental therapy programs in Minnesota were eligible for accreditation. The Board also urged that a  Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) be developed between the ADA and CODA in an effort to minimize future communication problems. 
 
Legislative Priorities
The chair of the Council on Government Affairs, Dr. Weinman, presented to the Board CGA’s draft list of legislative priorities. The Board appreciates CGA’s vigilance on so many  issues of importance to the profession. Along with the opportunity to introduce and respond to legislation as needed, we will engage in aggressive efforts to look at those  regulations and agencies that place undue restrictions on dental practices, and work for change and hope for success like we had with 1099 filings and Red Flags rules. We expect  this to be an aggressive year by Kellogg and Pew for the creation of dental therapists. The SPA program is already hard at work addressing this issue. 
 
Code Advisory Committee
The Board had an opportunity to discuss concerns over the creation of the new Code Advisory Committee with the chair of the Council on Dental Benefit Programs, Dr. Richeson.  The purpose of the CAC  is to provide advice to the Council concerning suggested changes to the Code on Dental Procedures and Nomenclature. The Board was assured that the  CAC would include broad representation from the dental community, as well as involve protocols that follow ADA policy and Bylaws, and be in accordance with requirements for  the maintenance of named HIPAA medical code sets. The Board approved the Council’s proposal for the CAC.
 
And So We Begin Again …
This is just a fraction of what is on the plate for the ADA as we approach 2012. Again, I wish you well in the upcoming year. Please contact me at vignae@ada.org or (402) 770- 7070 if I can be of service. 
 
*Dr. Vigna is the Trustee to the Tenth District of the American Dental Association, representing Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota.