March-April 2014
Volume 93 - Number 2

Find Your Way by the Star of the North

Development of a National TMJ Implant Registry and Repository - NICDR's TIRR

The Thought That Counts

Golden: Recognizing the MDA's 25-Year Members and Retirees


ADA Report

A Summer's Worth

Report from the Trustee to the Tenth District of the American Dental Association



Kathryn Kell, D.D.S.*


In 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.

Multi-Year Study 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.

The 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.

The ADA 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 Budget Proposal

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.

Direct Reimbursement 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.

As part of the settlement, the ADA paid ANTHC’s Foundation to support their efforts to promote preventive oral health in remote Alaska that 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)


kellk@ada.org (e-mail)


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




Copyright 2007. Minnesota Dental Association

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