Advocacy: An Essential Member Benefit

10-20Presidents Message2

Advocacy: An Essential Member Benefit

As a valued member of the Capital Area Dental Society, what would you consider to be a member benefit? We all have varying perspectives on how we feel that member benefits should and could help us as dentists. Our tripartite membership in the ADA, TDA and CADS provides countless benefits to support us as members by providing access to savings, services and resources for our business and life and to support driving our career forward.

There is one benefit that I did not mention that in my mind is the most essential benefit for all members and our profession and that is …. ADVOCACY!

We can all attest to the fact that organized dentistry has been an amazing advocate for dentists and the profession of dentistry during these unprecedented times. Membership is essential for strong advocacy whether it is at the local, state, or national level.

At the national level, the ADA lobbies Congress, and the Administration to fight for issues that matter to dentists and patients. The ADA also provides technical support to help state dental societies advance their respective policy agendas. One of the success stories of the ADA’s advocacy efforts was when the Action for Dental Health Act was signed into law in 2018. The Action for Dental Health Act will allow organizations to qualify for oral health grants to support activities that improve oral health education, improve dental disease prevention, and expand outreach programs.

Another huge accomplishment in the advocacy arena for organized dentistry is the ADA calling on Congress to apply federal antitrust laws to the business of insurance by repealing parts of the McCarran-Ferguson Act of 1945. Currently, federal law does not prohibit state-regulated health insurers from engaging in collusive practices, such as price fixing, bid rigging and market allocation schemes. This anti-competitive behavior hurts consumers by making health insurance less affordable. The ADA has been advocating for the repeal of the 1945 McCarran-Ferguson Act antitrust exemption for the health insurance industry for more than 20 years! There are over 90 bills related to third party payor issues in legislatures nationwide.

Most recently, the ADA has fought effectively to get HHS to extend the deadline for all dentists to apply for funding through the Enhanced Provider Relief Fund Payment Portal. The portal allows dental providers to apply for payments made for health care-related expenses or lost revenue attributable to the pandemic.

At the state level, The Texas Dental Association is our advocate for all legislative and regulatory arenas on behalf of the public and profession of dentistry. We have a stellar group of dentists in Texas that serve on the Council on Legislative and Regulatory Affairs (CLARA). They work to implement the TDA’s legislative agenda and to maintain positive working relationships with legislators, state officials, and allied professional groups. CLARA also informs members about governmental actions, mobilizes the TDA’s grassroots organization, and works with regulatory agencies to help ensure a competitive marketplace for dentists and quality dental care for all Texans.

The TDA also has an online publication, The Root, which houses current happenings at the state capitol, timely legislative updates, dental board news, regulatory reminders, and other important legislative information. When the Texas Legislature convenes in Austin for a regular session every 2 years, TDA hosts Legislative Day. Dentists from across Texas are invited to come together at the State Capitol to attend appointments scheduled with Congress and House representatives from their districts and speak about issues important to dentistry.

The TDA worked around the clock for its members during the pandemic closely collaborating with Governor Abbott’s office and his Strike Force to help get dentists and patients back into the dental office. They provided timely updates to members via email and social media and secured 300,000 N95 respirators for Texas dentists! Most recently, TDA successfully advocated to favorably amend the TSBDE COVID-19 Emergency Rule. It helped ensure that dentists can continue effectively treating patients during the pandemic.

Now more than ever it is important to contribute to DENPAC and ADPAC. DENPAC is the political action committee of the TDA and ADPAC is the political action committee of the ADA. Both give dentists a voice in the public policy arena on behalf of our practices, patients, and profession, and is our most powerful resource to make a difference!

Shailee J. Gupta, DDS, MPH

CADS President 2020-2021

 

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President’s Message June 2020

Fellow CADS members, I am honored to be embarking on a unique leadership journey through this unprecedented time in our profession.  If I have not had an opportunity to meet you yet, I look forward to meeting you at a future General Meeting or at a CADS event.  In the meantime, I would love to share a little bit of background about myself.  I graduated from the University of Texas (Hook ‘em Horns!) in 1998 and attended the University of Texas School of Dentistry in Houston.  My husband is also a dentist and owns a private practice in Pflugerville.  We have a 14 year old daughter and a 10 year old son who light up our life and keep us busy!  I serve as the Chief Dental Officer for St. David’s Dental Program, the largest charity based mobile dental program in the nation.  Our Dental Program provides dental care to underserved children and adults across Central Texas.  I have always had a passion for public health since my time at UT when I was a Microbiology major.  The first experience that ignited my passion in public health was serving as an intern at the Texas Department of Health in the Epidemiology Department.  After graduating from dental school, I worked for a few years in private practice in Houston and had the best mentor who taught me the ins and out of practicing dentistry.  We moved to Seattle, Washington for a brief time and I had the opportunity to work in various public health setting in city clinics, rural towns and in mobile units.  I quickly realized that my path was in public health dentistry and serving the community.

As I thought about my upcoming Presidential term, it is apparent that COVID-19 has turned our world upside down personally and professionally and though this may be far from over, we have entered the recovery phase and are beginning to consider everything necessary to return to dentistry.

I am reminded of a great quote from an inspiring leader, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.:

“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in 

moments of comfort and convenience 

but where he stands in times of challenge and controversy.”

We have all had to step out of our comfort zone so that we may protect and keep our staff, patients and community safe and healthy.  We have all read countless numbers of articles, watched every webinar out there and skimmed through content on social media forums all in hopes of finding answers and creating the best plan for returning to dentistry.  With all of this, one thought that stood out to me was how much organized dentistry is doing for our profession and how proud I am to be a member of organized dentistry.  The ADA and TDA have worked tirelessly to create interim guidance and toolkits for its members.  They also lobbied Congress on a third legislative package in response to the pandemic by asking lawmakers to include provisions on how to assist dental practices and other small businesses facing economic burdens.  Communication and updates to members were frequent and in a timely manner via multiple platforms such as webinars, emails and social media. Talk about a member benefit! 

Looking forward, I have never felt more appreciation for all the things that I use to take for granted such as a hug from a loved one, Friday night family dinners at our favorite restaurant or watching my kids play sports.  As a family, we have learned a lot about each other while quarantining and enjoyed bonding and having uninterrupted time together.  It really has been a blessing and a perfect time to catch up on self-care.  On the flip side, we are all ready to get back to some level of normalcy even if that is in a phased approach!  The kids cannot wait to hang out with their friends, and I am pumped about being back with my team and our Dental Program that is essential to the community. 

I am also thrilled to serve as President of CADS this year!  The CADS Board of Directors have done a phenomenal job at thinking innovatively about how we can serve our members while being cautious of COVID-19 guidelines and orders.  My Presidential term will be all about YOU…our members.  CADS is here for you in every way possible as you begin to recover during this difficult time. 

Stay healthy, safe and well!

Sincerely,

Shailee J. Gupta, DDS, MPH

CADS President 2020-2021

 

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President’s Message May 2020

It’s an understatement to say these have been interesting times. Whether you have been practicing one year or fifty, our profession has never experienced anything like the pandemic that we currently face, and it is far from over. If you are like me, you have worked through the psychological phases of this crisis… the initial panic, the emotional aspect of laying off or furloughing your team, the stress of managing the various resources for financial support, and finally the determination to prepare for the day we can practice again, because we will get through this. For those of us with school-aged children, the added bonus of homeschooling our kids has been a fun challenge! Read more

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President’s Message February 2020

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President’s Message January 2020

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President’s Message November 2019

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President’s Message October 2019

At the first CADS Board meeting of each fiscal year, we are always excited when we have new faces step into CADS leadership roles, and I personally enjoy hearing the journey that led them to get involved.  My path actually began with the charitable arm of CADS, the Capital Area Dental Foundation (CADF). As a young dentist, new to Austin, I was unaware of this incredible program that brings dental care to the underserved in our community.  When I was approached with the opportunity to serve on the gala fundraising committee, I learned about the many programs that CADF has developed that allows dentists to share their gifts with those who need it most. Since then, CADF has continued to evolve and is now stronger than ever – there are numerous ways to get involved.  CADS member involvement with CADF continues to be a core value of the society, and increasing awareness and participation in our charitable sector is an important goal of this year’s Board.

During the early years, all CADF programs involved bringing a patient into your office and providing comprehensive dental care to improve his or her health and self-confidence.  Some of the care is 100% donated, while some programs provide partial reimbursement. Either way, the system is well organized and allows the providers to focus on the care of the patient while the CADF team takes care of the rest.  My personal experience in these programs has been far more rewarding than I thought possible. Until you experience it yourself, the relationship established with these patients is one that is difficult to describe; your heart is so full.  That being said, the CADF Board quickly realized that there were many dentists who wanted to participate but weren’t in a position to bring a patient into their office. Two years ago, CADF joined forces with Dentists with a Heart to launch Community Dental Days.  There are now multiple events per year that allow you to use a volunteer dentist’s practice to provide care to the community.  Keep an eye on your email and the Capital Star for an announcement of the date of the next event.

So, how successful are these programs?  Last year, there were over 2000 patient referrals and over 300 patients served at Community Dental Day events.  This allowed CADF providers to perform over $500,000 in charitable care to our own community. I don’t know about you, but that makes me proud of what we do and who we are as a dental society.  Are you ready to get involved?

Next month is the annual fundraising golf tournament, the CADF Golf Classic.  Whether you are a highly skilled golfer or spend more time in the sand than on the green, it’s a fun day for a good cause (and they even have an award for the last place team!)  Not a golfer? Neither am I, so join me at the 19th Hole After Party for lunch, the awards ceremony, and an opportunity to donate to the CADF Programs in their raffle.  It’s a wonderful afternoon of camaraderie with your dental colleagues as well as the supportive companies you work with every day.  The event will be held on Friday, November 1st at the Golf Club at Star Ranch.  The deadline to register is October 23rd, so don’t miss your chance to participate!  Go to www.capitalareadentalfoundation.com to register.

As dental providers, we share a unique skill plus an innate desire to help others.  Oral health is something many take for granted, but it’s a debilitating disease for so many others in our own community.  I encourage you to get involved with CADF. I promise you won’t regret it.

Respectfully,

Trisha Kimes, DDS, FAGD

CADS President 2019-2020 

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President’s Message September 2019

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President’s Message August 2019

Politics.  That single word has the power to provoke so many emotions.   To some it causes excitement, to others anxiety. The thing is, no matter how you feel about it, political action and legislation play a very important part in how we practice every day, and more importantly, the future of our profession. Read more