KDA Today

KDA Today

For Immediate Release

Date: Oct 28th, 2019
Contact: Mr. Richard Whitehouse
Phone: 800-292-1855
Email: kda@kyda.org

Remarks to the 2019 KDA House of Delegates: Part One

At our recent annual meeting, I offered remarks to our House of Delegates regarding activity over the past year. I would like to share an abridged version of these comments related to advocacy with all members through KDA Today. Part two of these remarks related to membership will be included in the next issue of KDA TODAY.

This is the fifth time I have had the opportunity to address this house. As always, I want to thank the council on annual sessions and its members for planning this meeting as well as our KDA officers and members for their support and hard work on behalf of organized dentistry year in and year out.

Dr. Lee, thank you for your service and your work to lead through both challenge and change.

Dr. Moats, we are looking forward to working with you in the coming year as we continue to build on the foundation of our strategic plan.

Dr. Lee embraced the concept of change as a theme in his presidential year. And, it has been said that change is inevitable… but, growth is optional.

A couple of months ago, we were invited to speak at a student leadership forum. We gave a presentation on organized dentistry in a game show format. We were walking into a room of dental students and Dr. Lee asked me how I thought things might go. I remember saying that it depends upon the energy left in the crowd.

The same can be said about our association. The growth of this organization and your profession depends a lot upon the energy of those in this room - and to a large extent those who are not. If you want to get involved… we have a role for you to play. But, if dentists support through membership alone, we might not only grow as an organization, we might just be able to do more to bend the arc of change.

We serve your profession and support you in your practice. We listen to our members. The most recent example of this is our new group purchasing plan through The Dentists Supply Company. Members all around the Commonwealth had been telling me about their desire to have group purchasing as a member benefit for a long time. This new program sells over 40,000 discounted supplies in 24 categories from adhesive materials to instruments, pharmaceuticals and x-ray materials. KDA members save approximately 20% through the tdsc online portal - which can more than pay for their dues. All products are sourced from authorized vendors and shipping is free. TDSC went live on April 12th. To date, 81 accounts have been opened and $28,000.00 has been spent through the online portal.

I always say my job essentially boils down to membership and advocacy. I typically talk about membership first because without that, there cannot be effective advocacy. But, today I would like to begin by telling you some of the things we have been working on since we last met.

In terms of advocacy in public policy, despite 70 years of data demonstrating the efficacy of the program, fluoridated water was the topic of debate in Frankfort. The KDA helped defeat bills in both the House and the Senate that would have made water fluoridation a local option across the Commonwealth. I want to recognize the contribution of Dr. Neil Rush in efforts to educate legislators and oppose these bills.

Board reorganization was addressed and defeated in the legislature. We recognize the need to address concerns regarding the US Supreme Court case involving the North Carolina Dental Board. But, we are committed to the notion of professional self-regulation based upon patient safety and public protection.

We have worked effectively this year with the Kentucky Board of Dentistry. We hope to be a resource to them in promulgating common-sense regulation.

We have had success in working with the Kentucky Department of Insurance on the non-covered services issue.

This year, Dr. Bobrowski and the KDA government affairs team have broadened their scope in putting together a legislative agenda on issues from telehealth, opioids, sustainable workforce, higher education and tax policy.

On Medicaid, we have communicated the clear concerns of our members regarding the impact of this program on working dentists and their patients. We have also worked with Kentucky Dental Director Dr. Julie McKee, KOHC and other stakeholders to review the Strategic Plan for Oral Health in Kentucky. And, we have partnered with the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky on public health and smoke-free initiatives.

There is much left to be done. In terms of Medicaid, the MyRewards program is on hold at least through June 2020 as a result of action in the courts. And, I must remind you that in many respects, what happens in this program is important to you, even if you do not see Medicaid patients. Because, as Medicaid goes, so go the insurance companies.

That brings me to Third Party Payer issues. This is an area the ADA is focusing on in the next year and we will be working on at the state level. Our concerns are focused upon issues related to network leasing, assignment of benefits, prior authorization, retroactive denial and virtual credit cards.

Other issues loom on the horizon. There is much to be done in the area of telehealth as it relates to dentistry. And the application of Ai to the practice of dentistry is not far behind.

Licensure, today, is viewed through a lens of workforce and economic development. Regulation is sometimes seen as a bureaucratic roadblock instead of a means to ensure patient safety and public protection. We continue to address this issue with mid-level providers. But, we must also be concerned with those promoting DIY dentistry.

There are potential new strategies for us to use in promoting the profession and the safety of your patients.

And, we are exploring potential new relationships as well, as we consider creation of a membership category for dental hygienists. We need to broaden our base for both, membership and advocacy.

***

Finally, I want to acknowledge the work of the KDA staff: Todd Edwards, Janet Glover, Melissa Nathanson, Jenna Scott and Ben George. These folks work tirelessly throughout the year for you. They are truly committed to your success and to serving you throughout the year. This event in particular is really their moment to shine. And they have performed exceptionally well this year to give us a meeting to remember, despite many challenges.

I hope you enjoyed your annual meeting this year. Thanks to our patrons and vendors for their support. Special thanks to Patterson and the partners they put together to host our Denim & Diamonds event. I also want to congratulate our Marty McFly and Doc Brown costume winners, Dr. Geoffrey Ball and Dr. Steve Robertson.

It has been a great year working with you, Dr. Lee. One thing I hope never changes is our leader’s commitment to the profession that you embodied throughout this year and your many years of service to organized dentistry.

Members of the House, thank you for the opportunity to serve as your executive director.

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