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President’s Message May 2016

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This Is Where We Begin

The end.  This year has been one of incredible growth for me and I have been privileged to serve as your President.  It has been our board’s goal to create a must-have membership for you.  What does that mean?  That we provide you, our amazing dentists, with what you ask for.  In our surveys and speaking to our members we know that opportunities for volunteerism, networking, social events and more local study groups are what you are hungering for.  And we have answered.

Let us reflect on these past 12 months.  We kicked off last summer with the New Dentist annual boat party.  It was a great time that reminded me dentists really know how to have good time.  Other new dentist events such as the pub crawl and UT basketball game are reasons alone to be members of CADS.  It’s not all fun though as we know it is important to help foster young dentists in their career.  The practice management round-table and the Wine and Wisdom events allow younger dentists opportunities to ask questions and develop their resources and network.  We so appreciate our newer members like Dr. Kacie Stair, Dr. Lacey Ferguson, and Dr. Amy Nguyen who are getting involved in our community.

On behalf of our community we fought to keep fluoride in Austin’s water supply.  Thank you Dr. Matt Heck and other supporters for joining me in front of the city council.  It is important to be an activist and to stop being a by-stander.  Change only happens when you make your voice heard!

Other members on our board have had your political backs.  We work with the TDA to give input and advocate on behalf of you and all of our patients so that we can provide the best and safest dental care.  Thank you to Dr. Jeran Hooten, Dr. Mark Peppard, Dr. Alan Moore, Dr. Lance Sanders and Dr. Ensy Atarod for being so active in the legislative process.  It is vital to support DENPAC which advocate on dentists behalf, protecting our freedoms and rights as healthcare providers.  This should be especially important to younger dentists since they have to look at practicing for the next 30 years.  Dr. Kelly Keith and Dr. Jonathon Kimes can help you get involved or simply donate in support of your profession.

Dr. Kent Macaulay and Dr. Kavin Kelp are on the board of the Capital Area Dental Foundation and have worked with CADS in supporting the donated service programs like Goodwill and HAAM.  Fundraising events like the CADF golf classic and the CADF Round Up & Gala are great social events that support these patients in need.  Either volunteering with CADF or just having a wildly good time you too can contribute!

Behind the curtains, our webmaster Dr. Trisha Kimes has spent countless (unpaid) hours further developing our website so that it is user-friendly, esthetic, functional and can support our future endeavors such as a HIPPA compliant chat room where dentists can discuss cases both hypothetical and real.  We have saved you time by now providing on-line registration for meetings and other events!

We appreciate our members and to show that, we organize an annual new member dinner and membership appreciation picnic.  Legacy is important in every culture and this year we honored our members that have been with us for over 50 years.

This 2015-2016 Capital Area Dental Society board has you, our members, in the forefront of our minds.  We give of our time and energy to create a tight-knit dental community that can be the foundation of professional growth by creating opportunities for volunteerism, mentorship, education, advocacy and friendship.  This is our goal.  This is where we begin.

By Elyse Cronin Barron, DDS
CADS President, 2015-2016

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The Root, April 2016

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The Root, March 2016

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Editor’s Report March 2016

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The Root, February 2016

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The Root, October 2015

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Click here to see the October issue of The Root, your source for Dental Legislation, Regulation, and Advocacy published by the TDA.

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Editor’s Corner October 2015

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The Austin Fluoride Fight: City Council Gets It

I know water fluoridation is a controversial topic, especially in Austin.  The amount of data, both for and against water fluoridation, can make your head explode.  The ADA remains a pro-fluoridation group, and as the local level of the tripartite, the Capital Area Dental Society remains a pro-fluoride group.  This doesn’t mean that you must agree or disagree with the position of the Society, however.  Personally, I think debate, if handled in a professional manner, is healthy to our knowledge of all topics.  If we never challenged the status-quo, then we would still live in the Dark Ages.  Above all else, I encourage you to create your own opinions based on your interpretation of science and fact, and continue to treat your patients with their well-being in mind; fluoride or no fluoride, amalgam or no amalgam, BPA or no BPA, and our profession will continue to be the best there is.  So yes, I am writing as a pro-fluoride CADS member…if you disagree with me, letters to the Editor are always welcome!

A very special Thank You is due to all of the CADS members and other pro-fluoride proponents that attended the recent City Council Committee hearing on community water fluoridation.  It speaks volumes for our profession when we take time off from our busy practices to fight for the health of our community.  Well Done!

This time, it all began at the June meeting of the Austin City Council Public Utilities Committee, where Councilman Don Zimmerman brought forth a resolution that would remove fluoride from the community water supply.  Whether by his intention or not, the resolution almost flew under our (CADS’) radar while the anti-fluoridation crowd was well aware and well prepared.  During the meeting, invited testimony included the assistant director of the water and wastewater treatment program with Austin Water Utility, and the chief epidemiologist with the Austin/Travis County Health and Human Services Department (Thank You, ladies!) giving some basic facts about water fluoridation and speaking in favor of continued water fluoridation.  Testimony in favor of the resolution was then given the majority of the floor time, with several local anti-fluoridation activists giving well thought-out presentations.  All sides were allowed non-biased representation by the Council, but pro-fluoride speakers were simply outnumbered.  I’ve read the meeting manuscript and watched the recorded meeting twice, and it is my (editorial) opinion that Councilman Zimmerman came with a hope of getting the resolution passed before anyone really knew what was happening.  He, along with the anti-fluoridation camp, was hoping to slide this resolution past the committee without much representation from the dental community.  Thankfully, Councilwomen Troxclair and Kitchen recognized the importance of the decision and requested that the resolution be tabled to allow time for a more thorough investigation.  This gave us time to organize our troops and circle the wagons.

Another hearing on the resolution was held in August at a joint session of the Public Utilities Committee and the Health and Human Services Committee.  By now, the pro-fluoride team had been assembled and was ready.  Philip Huang, MD, MPH, medical director and health authority of the Department of Health and Human Services, gave a wonderful presentation, followed by CADS President Elect Dr. Matthew Heck, CADS President Dr. Elyse Cronin Barron, and CADS member Dr. James McLane.  The anti-fluoridation group presented their side, and also did a good job illustrating their points.  In the end, Councilman Zimmerman made a motion to send the resolution forward to the full City Council, but was unable to get a second, and the resolution died.  Game over, for now.  There will be another round…there always is.

Preparation for a fluoride fight in City Council takes weeks, and in this case was just for a few minutes of testimony and a no-vote from the Council.  Fluoride fights are always difficult and mentally challenging, but once again, CADS rose to the occasion.

Jonathon R. Kimes, DDS
Editor, CADS

 

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Editor’s Corner September 2015

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Ride Off Into the Sunset

Beginning this month, the Texas State Board of Dental Examiners will begin a lengthy and often arduous process knows as a Sunset Review.  The Texas Sunset Act, passed in 1977, allows for the Sunset Advisory Commission to review the purpose and effectiveness of about 130 different state agencies.  Anything from the Texas Commission on the Arts to the Texas Low-Level Radioactive Waste Disposal Compact Commission (which meets next month in Montpelier, Vermont…you can’t make this stuff up).  The purpose of the Sunset Review process is to keep the government accountable to the constituents and prevent any agency from becoming a useless budget drain.  In its most basic sense, the Sunset Commission simply asks, “Is this agency needed any longer?”  Any state agency subject to Sunset Review can be automatically abolished unless a new legislative bill is passed that “renews” the agency.  If the Commission feels the agency is still needed, then they will introduce a new bill, often with recommended changes to the operating policies of the agency, which must pass through the Legislature in order for the agency to continue to exist.  If an agency is abolished, either by recommendation from the Commission or failure of a renewal bill, then that agency has one year to conclude its business.

The Sunset Commission consists of twelve people: five Senators, five Representatives, and two public members, one appointed by each the Speaker of the House and the Lieutenant Governor.  The Commission also maintains a Director and staff.  Beginning this September, the process begins with agencies submitting self-evaluation reports to the Sunset staff.  The staff then spends the next year working closely with agency representatives and conducting their own evaluations.  Public hearings will be held and the staff will prepare its final report to submit to the Commission.  Final recommendations and Sunset Bills will not be introduced until the next Legislative session, in 2017.

For the TSBDE, the last Sunset Review was finalized in 2003.  As you know, because you have been paying them to renew your dental license, they passed and were renewed for 12 more years.  Changes that were made to the Board policy and operations then included a reduction in the size of the Board, reduction in experience required for licensure by credentials, and a strengthened enforcement process.  Interestingly enough, as recent as last year, the Board was still making policy changes to unburden the violation enforcement process.  The Board was established in 1911, and it is unlikely that it will be abolished in 2017, but there could be some major changes made that could affect us.  Any TSBDE Sunset Bill for the 85th session will certainly be on our radar, so we will keep you informed of any changes that would affect your practice.

Jonathon R. Kimes, DDS
Editor, CADS

 

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Regulatory Updates

A reminder that the Opt-In/Opt-Out dates for Medicare have changed.  The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services have announced an extension for the deadline to either enroll or opt-out of Medicare for providers prescribing Medicare Part-D drugs.  The new deadline is June 1, 2016, but the CMS encourages you to take action by January 1, 2016 to allow time for paperwork to clear.

The Texas State Board of Dental Examiners recently held Stakeholder Meetings to discuss possible changes to current rules pertaining to the advertising of a “specialty.”  Check the CADS website (www.capitalareadental.org) for the most up to date information on this topic.

The Austin City Council Public Utilities Committee met recently to decide the fate of a proposal to remove fluoride from the community’s water supply.  A full report will be made available on the CADS website and in the October issue of The Capital Star.

The EPA’s final rule on minimizing environmental mercury in the dental office is due next summer.  The rule will have an effective date of three years after it is finalized (summer 2019).  Under the proposed rule, dental offices (some specialty practices not included) will be required to install amalgam separators if their waste water is discharged to public treatment facilities.

Infographic on Fluoridation (June 2013)

Community Water Fluoridation Update

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Congratulations to the Austin Community, you can keep your fluoridated water. Special thanks to all who spoke on behalf of continued community water fluoridation at the recent joint committee hearing of the Austin City Council Public Utilities and Health and Human Services Committees. Councilman Zimmerman’s motion to pass his anti-fluoridation resolution on to the full City Council did not receive a “second” from any other committee members, and therefore the resolution will not go any further.

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