For Immediate Release
Date: Oct 17th, 2013
Contact: Dr. William J. Moorhead
One might think that dentists who serve as officers of the KDA would be into politics, but I’ve actually found the opposite to be true. While I’ve always kept up with current events, including national and state politics, I’ve never considered myself very political, nor have I really been interested. I even considered donating to political campaigns to be “buying votes” which was something that was outside of my value system. While serving as KDA President over the last six months, my view has changed significantly. Through education and the hands on experience of serving as President, I have learned that my previous view was not reality. As a practicing dentist, I’ve realized that contributing to political campaigns is exercising my right to participate in the political process, not only as a citizen, but as a licensed dentist. Just as I would never hire someone to work in my dental office who would not work tirelessly for my practice and patients, I’ve realize that I should be just as proactive in selecting elected officials who will support my profession and be a voice for my business.
The potential rewards for our participation as KDA members are enormous. When J.D. Hill served as President of the KDA a few years ago, I heard him quote a phrase I had heard before but bears repeating. “If we’re not at the table, we’re on the table.” Participation in the political process is necessary first to protect our interests. Whether we’re looking at the changing climate of health care from the Affordable Care Act (Obama Care), other changes in dental insurance while insurance carriers position themselves to increase their profit at our expense, or the opening up of the dental practice act, being proactive rather than reactive has the potential for much higher benefits.
To make it happen, there are two primary areas that need our focus. (And with the word our, I’m referring to all of us, not just your KDA officers and staff.) This needs to be an “all hands on deck” approach to ensure the future of our profession.
Political Action Committee (KD-PAC)
This is one I know we would all like to duck out on. While bringing up money might make some uncomfortable, the reality is that the PAC is an important tool we must utilize as professionals. I’ve learned quickly that in order to be taken seriously in Frankfort, we need to build the bottom line of our PAC. Consider this not just a business investment to our profession, but an investment in YOUR practice. Over the next twelve months we need to raise $200,000 in PAC donations. This needs to be the goal of the PAC each and every two-year election cycle. If only twenty-five percent of our members would agree to have $20 automatically deducted from their credit card or checking account each month, we could accomplish this goal. The small investment has tremendous potential for protecting and expanding your future practice. And with the issues we face, you really can’t afford not to donate. The $20 per month has the potential for a tenfold return on investment for your office’s bottom line; it’s really a win-win. Furthermore, it sets the bar for our younger members and future members.
Grassroots (Relationship building)
The other area that requires our focus is making direct connections with our legislators, otherwise known as grassroots or “relationship building.” We are already fortunate to have the ADA’s “Capwiz” as a resource, allowing us to contact all of our members quickly, so you can send an email to your legislator when needed regarding important issues. With a grassroots effort, our goal is to identify a KDA member for each legislator, a member who currently has a relationship or is building a relationship with their legislator. Over the next twelve months, we want to build this grassroots network of KDA key contacts for each and legislator in Frankfort. When an issue comes up in Frankfort, these key contacts will already have their legislator’s cell phone number, allowing us to call the legislators personally to discuss vital issues, which will have an even bigger impact than emails through Capwiz. If you already have a good connection like this, please email Mike Porter at the KDA (email@example.com) to help us build this list. And if you don’t yet have a connection like this, please network at your meetings to help develop the list. The goal is for YOU to become the trusted expert for that legislator on all and any dental issues and to nurture that relationship going forward.
This strategy of political involvement coupled with a grassroots network will position the KDA to have a seat at the table on health care issues. We can all agree that health care is ever changing and our practices and patients depend on our success. Join me and the Executive Board in this effort. Currently, we have 100% Executive Board participation in KD-PAC. The KDA Executive Board would like to see 100% membership participation in our PAC. Join us in this cause.
Please mark your calendar for two important KDA events. Our KDA Annual meeting this March will start one day early, featuring one of the most noted dentists in the country. Ray Bertolotti, the California dentist who brought dentin bonding to the United States in the early 1980s, invented caries detector solutions and helped pioneer the use of ozone in dentistry, will be speaking in Louisville all day on Thursday, March 13, 2014. Dr. Bertolotti has kindly agreed to come to Louisville for expenses only, and all of the tickets sales from his presentation will be donated to our Kentucky Dental Foundation to help fund a future RAM (Remote Area Medical) project. Since this will be the first time we’ve ever had a full-day speaker on the Thursday of our annual meeting, it will be a tremendous help if you can make an early commitment to this presentation to help us plan the facilities for his presentation. I’ve followed Ray now for almost ten years, and every time I hear him I’m amazed at the changes I make in my everyday dentistry. It’s also rare for Ray to speak on the east coast, so be sure to take advantage of this valuable opportunity.
Last of all, on the last weekend of October, we’re hosting our biennial Leadership Conference. Our primary focus will be on membership efforts, and there will be one or two members from your Society attending the Leadership Conference. Please make plans now to take advantage of this new information at your next Society meeting. We need your help in building our association and developing future leaders.