Report on TDA Governance

Article Objectives: one, update you on what is happening in the TDA; two, explain the most important and fundamental reason to be a member; and three, convince you to donate (more) to DENPAC.
The CADS TDA Delegation recently attended the 2017 TDA House of Delegates and spent three long (but fun) days shaping and redefining the TDA policy and bylaws to help better serve its membership. For many, the TDA Meeting (formerly known as the Texas Meeting) is simply a great way to get valuable CE hours and increase your clinical skills; but over on the other side of the Convention Center something very important is happening at the same time. The TDA House of Delegates is made up of 137 state-wide TDA members who are tasked with maintaining the policy and business of the Association. Sounds boring right? But consider this…the TDA policy manual is the guiding document that our TDA staff takes to the state legislators and State Board to convey what our members want/need in order to best serve our patients.
From this year’s House of Delegates, some notable changes:

  • The Extended Dues Payment option (breaking up your dues and contributions over a 10 month period) for all members, not just new members, became official policy. Until now it had been an interim policy to help determine the financial impact on the society.
  • The TDA Fluoride Committee was redesigned to help provide a more comprehensive and obtainable resource for local community fluoride battles.
  • The TDA now has official policy in place recommending that only state funded university based dental schools are allowed to open. Policy was also created to emphasize that the TDA stands behind the Texas Occupations Code rule allowing only dentists to own dental practices.
  • The TDA Bylaws have changed to allow the Board to make changes as they see fit in the dues structure. The maximum amount you pay remains in the Bylaws, which means there will not be any unexpected dues increase without due process and a vote by the full House of Delegates, but this new flexibility will give the Board the power to implement several new ideas designed to make membership more affordable.

So there’s the update, now onto the most fundamental reason to be a member. If you’re reading this you are a member, so after you’re finished, give this to a non-member friend of yours. Member Benefits are great, and they are one of the most common things that we think of when we think about membership…great CE opportunities, camaraderie, TDA perks, community service, etc…but the number one member benefit is contributing to the future of our profession. TDA makes policy in the best interest of its members…TDA takes said policy to the Capitol and lobbies in favor of our ideals…legislators (whom your DENPAC dollars supported during their elections) create, amend, and vote on bills in our favor…as a result, the dental profession remains among the best in the country.
It’s not a perfect system, but compared to other professional organizations and lobbies, TDA has a very successful track record. Keep in mind that there are other powerful organizations and outside interest groups that don’t have the profession in their best interest. Any dentist that is not a part of this is just sitting by idly and has no effect on the outcome. It’s similar to someone not voting, and then complaining about taxes. We as dentists obsess over the tiniest of details in our practice, but it all means nothing if our profession as a whole doesn’t maintain the upper hand. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of that? You don’t have to be on any Board or Committee to do that. Just membership numbers and membership dollars alone can help this succeed.
Objective three: DENPAC. Contribute. None of the above works if the legislators aren’t on our side. As “political” as it may sound, when our DENPAC dollars contribute to the campaign funds of our elected officials, we tend to make friends in the Capitol. Every dollar you contribute to DENPAC goes straight to the campaigns of our elected officials. It’s almost too easy…all you have to do is be a TDA member AND contribute to DENPAC. With the new Extended Dues Payment option, you can do both (and donate to ADPAC and TDA Alliance!) and it’s not as much of a financial burden. You can’t afford NOT to!
By Jonathon R. Kimes, DDS
Editor, CADS