Many OHP Work Group members expressed frustration with the inability of the group to reach consensus. In fact, the primary spokesperson for the majority of OHP Work Group members, who is also a member of the Safety Net Coalition and whose position was largely reflected in the main body of the OHP Work Group report, threatened to advise his clients to not support it and, instead, to propose a Minnesota version of legislation that would reflect the Alaska DHAT model of new dental worker.
Also expressing frustration with the process were Drs. Mike Flynn, Mike Perpich, and Chris Carroll who submitted a letter to the other OHP Work Group members and stated, “We are extremely disappointed with the final report draft that came out on November 26, 2008. A clear consensus has never been reached. The Department of Health draft report does not adequately represent the comments and concerns that have come from many committee members and we feel that it is important that these comments are reflected in the report language. Clearly there is no consensus with this group in coming up with a unified resolution.”
Dr. Patrick Lloyd, Dean of the School of Dentistry at the University of Minnesota and member of the OHP Work Group, wrote the other work group members and said, “I must begin by expressing my frustration with the inability of the work group to come to consensus on many crucial issues.” Dean Lloyd further wrote, “Finally, I must state that presenting this draft document - without major changes - as a consensus document would be disingenuous. Strong minority opinions on several contentious issues are absent from this document and represent a slight to the work done by those members who ultimately disagree with the direction of the final report. Furthermore, because there is no clarification as to who and how many are exactly represented in either the majority or minority opinions, readers will not be able to appreciate the basis for their collective positions.”
Finally, in response to the final report’s failure to include a recognition of dissenting and alternative positions brought to the table by work group members, Drs. Flynn, Perpich, and Carroll submitted to the Work Group a separate report reflecting the recommendations of the MDA and our rationale for them. The MDA’s recommendations will be included in the report submitted to the legislature by the Minnesota Department of Health as a separate document, but its content, as expressed by work group members during work group discussions, is not reflected in the main body of the report itself. A few of the key positions taken by the MDA regarding oral health practitioners are:
The Minnesota Department of Health’s report to the legislature will also include draft legislation that reflects the majority position presented in the report. It is clear that the legislature will be the stage on which the concluding OHP act will be played out in 2009. As we move forward in this process, and when the final report is available, we will continue to keep you informed and engaged.