KDA Today

KDA Today

For Immediate Release

Date: Feb 12th, 2013
Contact: Dr. Terry Norris
Phone: 800-292-1855
Email: info@kyda.org

It’s a Dentist Thing

At the end of my last article, I said I would address the impact of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) on the field of dentistry.  However, information is only slowly coming out of Washington and the ADA is still waiting on final rulings by the IRS.  The House of Representatives has passed favorable legislation concerning Obamacare as it impacts dentistry, but it is stalled in the Senate and likely to die there.  That leaves us back at square one with the 2.3% tax on most of our supplies.  Luckily, we will not have to collect it and make the payments.  That will be for the manufacturers.  Of concern to our seasoned dentists and the young dentists who may purchase their practices is the how the capital gains tax attached to Obamacare will affect the selling price.

Great News!!  Dentists are on the move.  A recent Gallup poll ranks dentists fifth in public trust at a 62% favorable rating.   The top spot went to nurses at 85%. We have regained the same percentage as we had in 2006.  It makes me proud to know dentistry has grown ten percentage points since I entered the profession.   By the way, at the bottom of the list were car salesmen at 8% and members of congress at 10%. This takes us to the title “It’s a Dentist Thing”.

My father-in-law was a lifelong resident and optometrist in Pineville. My wife was used to being part of medical family and that experience helped her in the transition as a spouse to a dentist.  What she did not realize was dentists are a little more OCD than practitioners in other health care fields.  But as smart as she is, she has learned to use this to her advantage to make life easier for both of us.   How does this apply to the topic? 

Take Medicaid for example.  The dental offices I know pride themselves in efficiency, promptness and fairness.  They are quick to diagnose and treat the problem. The change from a state run Medicaid program to a MCO run program has added an extra layer of inefficiency.  There certainly were problems with the state run program, but now it is even worse with the MCOs.  As dentists, this has to be frustrating, due to our drive to get things right each and every day.  No telling where our offices and profession would be if it were run like the Medicaid system.  Al Pelphrey has stayed on top of the pedo part of Medicaid and has been a great advocate for the pedodontists.  The general practitioner has also benefited from his work.  I would say at least half of Mr. Porter’s time is spent advocating for KDA Medicaid providers.  At least 80% of the time spent on conference calls with our lobbying firm, McCarthy Strategic Solutions, center around Medicaid issues. These calls are bi-weekly and soon will be a weekly item. You would be amazed at the different approaches we have tried with cabinet heads and legislators.  In the end, it seems the state has washed its hands of the situation and is waiting to pick up the pieces when things implode at the end of September. 

For the last year and a half, the Executive Board has kicked around the idea of becoming involved in the administration of the dental portion of Medicaid. Recently, one of the MCOs has spoken to the KDA about input in administering the dental part.  Andy Elliott is doing a lot of fact finding in Tennessee and Virginia on how they have handled their Medicaid programs.  Andy has a lot of knowledge from his service as an ADA Vice President, traveling to these states to see things first hand, and Mr. Porter remains in contact with one of the MCOs gathering information.  Maybe dentists can make a difference with the program.  We will keep you informed with any updates.

What can we do until September?  Constant contact by KDA members to their legislators offers the greatest potential.  The KDA and our lobbyists have begun speaking with Senate leadership trying to stave off further cuts and recoupments.  When things do implode, hopefully the KDA will be ready to step in and offer a professional solution that will be most equitable to our members.

Can you imagine what this world would be like if dentists were in charge (sic)?

It truly is a dentist thing.  Let’s strive to make a change in our communities and in the process, raise our trust rating even higher.  Best wishes for a successful 2013.

Terry L. Norris, DMD

doc@drterrynorris.com

 

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