September your delegates and alternates to the American Dental Association’s
House of Delegates will have met in San Francisco
to debate issues, vote on resolutions, determine the ADA’s yearly budget, set dues, and determine
the future of the profession. This is an update on many of these issues, along
with an invitation to attend and participate in the ongoing discussions and
upcoming ADA Annual Sessions.
Recommends New Membership Category
In my last Trustee’s report, I discussed a new membership
proposal. Since then the Board has reviewed and discussed the ADA Council on
Membership’s follow-up proposal for a new category of ADA dental team membership and had forwarded
the proposal to the 2007 ADA House of Delegates. These two years of reports
stem from a Council-initiated proposal. They follow a multi-year study that
aims to position the ADA as a membership
organization that welcomes a broad spectrum from the dental community, ensuring
that these wider communities lend their perspectives, voices, and support to ADA initiatives.
Council’s proposal recommends a single category for dental team members, with
dues of $35. The proposal includes a recommendation for this membership
category to have ex officio
representation on certain councils, along with representation in the House of
Delegates (one delegate and one alternate) three years following the adoption
of the category once membership in this new category reaches 25,000. The
benefits of membership would include electronic publications, member rate for
the ADA Scientific Session, and other services as authorized by the Board of Trustees.
House of Delegates voted on this proposal at the ADA meeting.**
State Public Affairs
Plan Gains Momentum
The Board reviewed and discussed a comprehensive report to
the House on the new State Public Affairs Plan, the purpose of which is to
partner the ADA with selected state dental societies most likely to encounter
such issues, among them wastewater, restoratives, water fluoridation, and
access to care issues, especially those involving scope of practice. The goal
of the plan is to position the ADA
and the state dental society as the source of the best solutions for these
challenges, positioning dentists as providing the best possible oral health
care to the greatest possible number of an affected state’s residents. The
Board believes the program is off to a great start.
The program in each targeted state is comprised of a team
of volunteers, staff, and consultants from both the ADA and the state society. As well, local
media and lobbying consultants are critical to successful interaction with
local media and elected officials. In addition to those states in which the ADA concentrated these
resources, spot assistance was available to other states on an as-needed basis.
The program also includes the development of a tool kit, including boilerplate
editorial material and best-practices information for every state. The tool kit
will be kept current as events change.
Report on Cheating by
Dental Students Moves Forward
The Board received and discussed a joint informational
report from the Council on Dental Education and Licensure and the Council on
Ethics, Bylaws and Judicial Affairs updating the House on the June 2007
Symposium on the subject of cheating by students in dental schools. The report
identifies a number of suggestions for action and long-term strategies for
consideration by CDEL, CEBJA, and other stakeholders in the coming year.
Resolution Proposed on
Real Time Claims Adjudication
The Board reviewed the Council on
Dental Practice’s report to the House on real time claims adjudication (RTCA).
RTCA is a process that will allow full adjudication of a patient’s dental
insurance claim before the patient leaves the dental office. This would allow
the provider and patient to be certain of the amount the patient should pay
before leaving the dental office. The Board supported the Council’s proposed
resolution to monitor RTCA developments, encourage third-party carriers to
adopt RTCA, educate dentists on the value of RTCA, and encourage the
development of RTCA standards.
House to Act on 2008
The 2008 budget that the Board submitted to the House
again this year seeks to use the ADA’s
strong reserve position in a manner consistent with the long-term financial
strategy of dues stabilization. The proposed budget includes a net deficit of
$992,800. The Board is also submitting a proposal to balance the budget by
raising membership dues by $9, which is 40% less than an inflationary increase
would be. The proposed $9 dues increase does not reflect any actions with
financial implications that may be adopted by the 2007 House.
Program Undergoes Review
The Board also discussed an informational report from the
Council on Dental Benefit Programs concerning its year-long project with
Forrester Research to look at the direct reimbursement (DR) program and what is
needed for it to be successful. The Board’s review of the report focused on the
Council’s metrics for what will constitute success in its marketing and dental
society support plans moving ahead, and commented that, as part of its
strategic governance, it will continue to assess the success of the DR
Marketing Campaign based on additional metrics, such as the cost to the
Association per covered lives gained.
Health Care Reform
Principles and Policy to be Presented
The July Mega Issue discussion revolved around how the ADA can most effectively
address increasing access to care for the underserved. Two outside speakers
presented information about the public’s opinion on access to care issues and
how public policy makers are addressing access, particularly in the context of
the external debate on universal coverage and health care reform. This
discussion, along with the work of the Essential Oral Health Care Task Force
and input from the House of Delegates upcoming mega session on universal
coverage, helped to form the basis of a set of health care reform principles
and policy that were presented to the 2008 House of Delegates.
Advances in Alaska Programs Updated
Also this summer, the ADA Board entered into a settlement
with the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium (ANTHC) and the state of Alaska. The ADA was able to negotiate
some key objectives with ANTHC. ANTHC will work with the Indian Health Service
to add a second seat for a licensed dentist nominated by the ADA to the Community Health Aide Program
(CHAPS) Certification Board and to their Dental Academic Review Committee. They
will also support a study of health care in remote areas of Alaska
and help support a pilot program for the ADA’s
Community Dental Health Coordinator (CDHC) model. ANTHC will also work with the
ADA to preserve
important points of the Indian Health Care Improvement Act.
of the settlement, the ADA paid ANTHC’s
Foundation to support their efforts to promote preventive oral health in remote
do not involve the Dental Health Aide Therapist.
The Invitation Remains
All these topics and more were discussed at the ADA Annual
Session in San Francisco
September 27-30. As with every Annual Session, the invitation to plan and
participate includes meeting colleagues, visiting the exhibit hall, attending
the health screening, listening to the scientific programs, and taking
advantage of the other learning opportunities. This year featured Barbara
Walters and Lance Armstrong speaking at the ADA’s Distinguished Speaker Series and Billy
Crystal entertaining participants. It
was a great meeting, once more reinforcing the theme that the Annual Session of
the American Dental Association is one of its members’ most important
membership benefits. I hope to see you
there in ’08
Please feel free to contact me at the following numbers.
(563) 355-6626 (office)
(563) 355-7637 (fax)