For Immediate Release
Date: Apr 6th, 2012
Contact: Dr. Kevin Wall
Many Thanks for a Great and Memorable Year
Last year, when I assumed the reins of the KDA from John Creech, one of my best friends asked, "How does it feel to be the president of the state dental association whose state ranks last in dental health?" I chuckled and said, "The bar is not set very high, so I can't screw up too badly. We can't get any worse." The truth is we can keep sliding backwards. We have had some great successes the past year, but we have also had some obstacles. We have striven to stay true to our mission statement by being the advocate for the dentists of the state and by trying to improve oral health for the citizens of Kentucky.
We seem to be fighting an uphill battle in changing the perception of Kentuckians by others, but it is a fight we are going to have to get involved in. The "Turtle Man" is just another example of what the general American population thinks of Kentuckians with his toothless grin and country speak. Apparently, he has signed a contract with his network promising he will not get his teeth fixed because it will negatively affect his persona. We need to reach our patients and increase the oral literacy in our state. Through education and public service we can make a difference.
This year, we finished the regulations to support the changes made in the dental statutes and we ended with changes that should not cause too much hardship for our members. Dr. Creech and Dr. Johnson worked very hard to protect our interests and I feel like we can live with the changes that were made. Dr. Creech continues to work with the Board of Dentistry in working out the details of the Public Health Dental Hygienist.
We also started using CAPWIZ this year in communicating with the membership and I foresee this being a great tool in the future. I feel like the communication with membership has improved, but there is still much room for improvement. I would like to see our website updated more and utilized more. If there were valuable information posted on the website frequently, it would be accessed more.
The KDA was fortunate this year in securing grants submitted by Dr. Jonathan Rich to improve our membership numbers. We had programs in Louisville and Lexington for our New Dentists as we continue to work towards making the New Dentist Committee an integral part of our organization, once again. We had programs at both dental schools where we introduced organized dentistry to the students in the hope that we can get them to join after graduation. This coming year we again applied for grants from the ADA and we were awarded money for four projects so our efforts for recruitment and retention of members can continue.
Our greatest obstacle this year has been the state's revamped Medicaid program. When the state decided to get out of the Medicaid business and turn it over to the managed care organizations, everyone was worried how it could work. Three of our members, Dr. Garth Bobrowski, Dr. Carla Rodriguez and Dr. Al Pelphrey have worked tirelessly in trying to negotiate with the MCOs on behalf of our members. I have awarded the three of them a presidential citation because of their hard work. We are still not completely happy with some of the Medicaid policies and we continue to work to improve the MCO manuals.
We have also been very involved with legislation this year, especially the non-covered services proposals. For three years now, we have tried to get a bill passed prohibiting insurance companies from setting fees for non-covered services. It has been frustrating to say the least, but I think with perseverance we will get this passed.
We are also constantly monitoring all legislation to protect our members and our profession. Our KDPAC has not been very strong recently. Dr. Mike Johnson has stepped up to lead our PAC and make it more of a presence. I want to thank him for taking on such a huge project.
We have continued the planning meetings that Dr. Creech started last year and this should allow for a smooth transition from year to year and president to president. The House is voting this year to change the nomination process from the general assembly to the House and to rename the offices of the officers. These changes should help to make the association run better and more efficiently.
Dr. B.J. Moorhead, who was the scientific chair for this year’s annual meeting has done a tremendous job in putting together a wonderful program. I want to thank him for all of his hard work this year and all of his help. I would also like to thank Dr. Fred Howard for all of his support this year. I would like to also thank Dr. Terry Norris for all of his help and support, and I wish him well as he steps up to lead us next year. I want to thank all of you for your kind words, your help and support in making this year a great and memorable time for me.