CDA continuously works on behalf of its members to make a difference for the profession and the patients they serve – 2013 has been no different.
From helping more than 4,400 people receive dental care at no charge through the CDA Cares dental events, to urging the Legislature to restore adult Denti-Cal, to expanding resources available in the area of practice support, to adding new and exciting learning opportunities at CDA Presents, CDA strived to meet the many needs of its members.
Below are some of the highlights from 2013.
The CDA Cares volunteer dental program shined a spotlight on the tremendous need for oral health care in California and the significant pro bono care dentists provide in their communities every day, prompting lawmakers to restore adult Denti-Cal services. Lawmakers, including Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento), who toured the CDA Cares Sacramento clinic last year, cited the CDA Foundation’s CDA Cares volunteer dental program as a stark example of the tremendous need and how dentists are trying to help. The positive media and public response to the profession of dentistry has been strong and the profession is seen as a partner in a solution.
Funding for the restoration of adult Denti-Cal benefits are slated to begin in May 2014, with a proposed annual cost of $77 million. The coverage includes preventive care, restorations and full dentures.
“I will never forget the sea of people — the endless lines of low-income Californians — some of whom had waited overnight,” said Steinberg, who made the restoration of adult Denti-Cal a top priority after his visit in August 2012 to CDA Cares in Sacramento. “It wasn’t just to get their teeth cleaned or fill a cavity, but for surgery to deal with abscessed teeth, root canals and replacement of missing teeth. I saw people who had lost all their teeth because they can’t get preventive dental care.”
CDA Foundation Chair Don Rollofson, DMD, is pleased with the impact CDA Cares has had, but said there is more work to do.
"The state did the right thing in restoring some of the Denti-Cal funding, but there are still a lot of Californians, many of them working poor, who are going to go without basic oral health care," Rollofson said. "We need to continue to raise awareness about the need for a state dental director and an adequately funded oral health safety net.”
CDA also stood up to trial lawyers to protect the Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act (MICRA), the law protecting dentists, physicians and other health care providers from frivolous lawsuits.
CDA also worked in 2013 to ensure pediatric patients in the new state health insurance exchange have access to stand-alone dental plans.
CDA testified at California Health Benefit Exchange Board meetings that focused primarily on issues surrounding the implementation of the pediatric dental Essential Health Benefit. CDA conveyed its position that the Exchange needs to ensure that since most Californians who have dental insurance have it through stand-alone dental plans, it must allow those offerings. CDA also articulated that it does not oppose the Exchange’s interest in offering embedded products for 2015, but only if certain criteria are met that offer transparency and regulation ensuring consumers get a robust dental benefit within those products.
The Exchange has committed to a robust stakeholder process to address outstanding issues around the offering of embedded products (the pediatric dental benefit.) CDA has been actively engaged in those discussions.
During the 2013 legislative sessions, CDA sponsored two bills signed into law, one easing a barrier for volunteer retired dentists and another regulating portable dental equipment.
AB 836 (Skinner; D-Berkeley) reduces barriers for retired dentists to provide volunteer care, especially to underserved populations, by reducing their biennial continuing education course requirement from 50 units to 30 units, which must all be clinical in nature. Retired dentists are an underutilized resource for providing care to underserved populations.
SB 562 (Galgiani; D-Stockton) authorizes the Dental Board of California to register and oversee portable dental units in the same manner with which it currently oversees mobile vans. Current law specifically requires operators of mobile vans to register with the Dental Board and adhere to minimal standards, but is silent in regard to the growing practice model of portable dentistry in schools and other non-dental office settings. SB 562 would require portable dental practices also to register with the Dental Board, and will give the Dental Board broad authority to establish regulatory standards for continuity of care, availability of records and patient disclosure that would apply to both mobile and portable practices.
CDA also continued its effort to establish a state dental director by traveling with legislators to meet with New York’s state dental director to examine what could be done in California with such a position.
And through its new grassroots advocacy program, CDA provided members a unique experience meeting with state legislators in their districts on issues facing the profession.
And facing those issues head-on, CDA member Jim Wood, DDS, launched his campaign for the second assembly district in next November’s election.
Wood, a general dentist in Cloverdale since 1987 and the current vice mayor of his hometown of Healdsburg, has formally launched his campaign for a State Assembly seat in the 2014 election season.
After first becoming involved with the Redwood Empire Dental Society (where he served as president in 2000-01), Wood was appointed to the CDA Council on Legislation (now the Government Affairs Council) in 1998, and served for six years, culminating with two years as council chair in 2003 to 2004, and served as a CDA trustee from 2003-2006. Wood is also a forensic dentist and volunteered his services during both the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and 2005 Hurricane Katrina disaster.
CDA’s Dental Benefits Research Task Force continued to examine the challenges members face dealing with dental plans.
The task force, which is made up of member dentists from across the state who are in different stages of their careers, met more than 10 times at the CDA headquarters in Sacramento. The task force heard from experts in the field.
The task force’s analysis resulted in CDA taking legal action against Delta Dental to stop changes to provider agreements that could lead to reimbursement cuts. Delta Dental informed dentists on Aug. 1 of changes to two significant provisions of provider agreements — the elimination of the current contract provisions that prohibit Delta from reducing approved fees absent specific conditions and the restriction of dentists’ rights to challenge such actions by arbitration. On Aug. 14, CDA and two individual members filed a Demand for Arbitration challenging these amendments and seeking to require Delta to honor its contractual commitments contained in the Participating Dentist Agreements.
The Practice Support Center expanded and enhanced its offerings now located on cda.org, with easy-to-find resources and functions that allow members to ask experts questions. Top enhancements to the Practice Support Center site include improved resource packaging and accessible guides and manuals on the homepage. The site (cda.org/compass) also includes an improved navigation system that allows users to find what they are looking for with ease.
Endorsed Programs continued to look for ways to save members money on products and services such as its glove program from PureLife Dental. Gloves are a mainstay in the dental practice and as a member benefit, CDA dentists now receive an additional 5 percent off PureLife’s prices, plus free shipping and free next-day delivery within the state of California.
CDA Presents continues to expand educational opportunities for members and has reached out to the international community, offering an International Symposia on Restorative Dentistry that included a unique cultural experience, featuring two dentists from Japan.
The International Symposia featured Takashi Watanabe, DDS, and Kiyokazu Minami, DDS, of Japan. The two dentists offered attendees a look into an alternative philosophy and treatment modalities; different cultural nuances in the delivering of dentistry; and the fostering of international camaraderie and relationships in an international setting. The lecture was presented in Japanese with live simultaneous English interpretation via headphones. The International Symposia will continue in 2014 as Miguel Angel Diez Gurtubay, MSc, of Mexico and Norbert Krämer, PhD, will lead lectures in Anaheim and San Francisco.
“It was an honor having Drs. Watanabe and Minami speak at CDA Presents, they brought a tremendous amount of knowledge and professionalism to the show,” said CDA Presents Board of Managers Chair Del Brunner, DDS. “I think having an international perspective of restorative dentistry was intriguing to our attendees.”
TDIC earned an “A” rating from the A.M. Best Company for the 19th consecutive year.
The A.M. Best Company rating includes comparisons to peers and industry standards as well as assessments of operating plans, philosophy and management.
TDIC Board Chair Dennis DeTomasi, DDS, said the rating directly relates to the company’s financial strength and ability to meet ongoing insurance policy and structural obligations in addition to its operating performance and business profile.
“TDIC is driven by its policyholders,” said DeTomasi. “We have proven to be a stable insurance company and remain committed to providing policyholders with the highest quality, specialized products to protect their practices.”
TDIC also completed a strategic business plan to guide TDIC for the next three years, based on extensive research to better understand members’ interests in various products.
CDA engaged members in new and better ways in 2013.
CDA members are now receiving an electronic newsletter once every two weeks. The electronic newsletter helps consolidate many of the emails members received from CDA in the past, and does so while providing news and information that impacts their practices and the profession of dentistry.
CDA also launched digital versions of its Update and Journal publications as a way to communicate industry and member news across more platforms. The ePubs allow for greater interactivity by featuring video and audio content layered on top of articles, as well as a built-in sharing function for various social media outlets such as Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Pinterest, in addition to email. The Update and Journal ePubs function on all major tablets and smartphones that use either iOS or Android operating systems and are now available every month as a supplement to the print versions of both publications. Download the ePubs at cda.org/mobile.
CDA also engaged more members thanks to its new social media hubs at CDA Presents and CDA Cares. Utilizing the ability to interact with its members through social media, attendees of CDA Presents The Art and Science of Dentistry experienced the “Social Hub” during the Anaheim and San Francisco shows. The hub featured live tweets, photos and videos from CDA Presents and offered a unique experience for attendees to interact with one another. At CDA Cares, the social media hub allowed volunteers as well as patients to connect and share their experiences, pictures and videos in a central place.
Community Oral Health
In 2013, CDA also shined in its commitment to improving the public’s oral health.
CDA’s central involvement with the design and implementation of the national Kids’ Healthy Mouths campaign has helped reach millions of parents who monitor their children’s brushing more than before. This campaign is responding to members’ belief in the importance of oral health literacy and public education.
Launched in August 2012 by the Ad Council and the Partnership for Healthy Mouths, Healthy Lives, the campaign has received tremendous media exposure through widespread TV, radio, print, outdoor and digital public service announcements (PSAs) in both English and Spanish.
CDA and 35 other dental organizations make up the Partnership for Healthy Mouths, Healthy Lives, which collaborated with the Ad Council to produce the three-year advertising campaign. In addition to partnering with the coalition, CDA is a key member of the executive council, which oversaw the development of the research-based messages.
With a goal of reducing the prevalence of dental decay by motivating parents to promote good oral health habits with their kids, the campaign has, according to an Ad Council survey, had a big impact on increasing awareness. Significantly more parents in 2013 report, for example, that their child brushes at least twice a day compared to before the campaign launched (55 percent of English-speaking parents in 2013, up from 48 percent in 2012, and 77 percent of Spanish-speaking parents in 2013, up from 69 percent in 2012).
Recently, the Partnership for Healthy Mouths, Healthy Lives and the Ad Council joined together with Scholastic to launch an educational component of the Kids’ Healthy Mouths campaign.
The Scholastic program materials, which launched in October, are directed at PreK-first grade teachers in schools across the United States through downloadable lessons and family fact sheets that dentists can also share with patients.
The CDA Foundation awarded its 14th Student Loan Repayment Grant recipient. Stephanie Calvillo, DDS, graduated from the Loma Linda University (LLU) School of Dentistry in 2011, and is currently licensed to practice in California. She is employed at Assistance League of Redlands Dental Center, in Redlands (San Bernardino County) providing 32 hours a week of hands-on clinical services.
Volunteer dentists at CDA Cares continued to change lives in 2013, providing services at no charge to 2,200 patients in San Jose. The fourth clinic is set to be held in San Diego on Dec. 7-8, with more events planned in the next two years throughout both southern and northern California.
The goal of CDA Cares is to relieve pain and infection and educate the public and policymakers about the importance of good oral health and the need for an adequately funded dental safety net. To date, with the help of 4,559 volunteers, CDA Cares and its volunteers have provided $4.4 million in care to 5,878 patients.
Whether it’s caring for patients or providing a new resource to help practices run smoothly, CDA is committed to making a difference for the profession, its members and the patients they serve.