Updates from Washington, D.C.

You might not know it from the headlines, but the day-to-day work of the new Congress is well underway. The ADA is busy on behalf of dentists, with the support of the AAE and other dental specialties who participate in the Organized Dentistry Coalition. The AAE has joined the ADA in several correspondence with representatives in Washington.

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Coding Advocacy: A Look Behind the Scenes

An important but overlooked component of AAE advocacy on behalf of members relates to the ADA Code on Dental Procedures and Nomenclature (CDT). AAE members frequently call for assistance with coding a claim or understanding why a claim wasn’t paid by a dental plan. We sat down with PAC member and AAE’s representative to the ADA Code Maintenance Committee, Dr. Kenneth B. Wiltbank, to find out more about what goes on behind the scenes.

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Advocacy in Action

With the recent election of a new government we have all been pondering what it takes to provide good leadership, sound decision making and vision. These attributes are requisite for a good leader and a great leader combines them with compassion, empathy and wisdom to advocate for their constituency.

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Advocacy in Action: AAE Leads Charge to Revise ADA Specialty Referral Guidelines

At the initiative of the AAE, seven dental specialties recently sent a letter to ADA President Dr. Carol Gomez Summerhays outlining serious concerns with the ADA’s Guidelines for Practice Success: Specialty Referrals. The guidelines were developed by the ADA’s Council on Dental Practice without dental specialty input. The letter details the shortcomings of the guidelines, starting with their lack of any mention of the nine ADA-recognized dental specialties, the significance of advanced specialty training, or the resources our organizations have available to patients and general dentists.

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President’s Message: Do We Have an Identity Crisis?

How many times have you introduced yourself to a patient and been asked, “What exactly is an endodontist?” The question implies that they have come to your office for a complex dental procedure through blind trust in the individual who sent them rather than knowledge of your credentials and expertise. It also is testimony to an identity crisis from which most dental specialties suffer. The reality is that the public at large does not understand the dental specialty process or how a specialist differs from a primary dental care provider. Typically, an identity crisis is defined as a state of confusion in an organization regarding its constitution or direction – our crisis is that our patients and even some of our dental colleagues do not really understand who we are.

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ADPAC: 2016 Election Update

With the intense focus of a presidential election year, it is easy to forget that each member of the U.S. House of Representatives is up for reelection in 2016 (as they are every two years). As always, ADPAC is working to give dentistry a voice in the federal government by backing candidates who are committed to supporting dental professionals and improving oral health.

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CDT Codes D3331 and D2955: Use, Don’t Abuse

As chairman of the AAE’s Practice Affairs Committee, one of my responsibilities is responding to AAE member questions about dental claims. I also run my own endodontic practice, so I know firsthand the frustrations of dealing with dental insurance companies. In May, I had the opportunity to join AAE President Dr. Linda G. Levin and Immediate Past President Dr. Terryl A. Propper at the AAE’s biennial meeting with a group of 20 dental directors representing large dental insurers. The meeting was eye-opening on a number of levels.

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Fighting for Dentistry: ADA 2015-2016 Lobbying Accomplishments

Even in an election year and with a divided Congress, the American Dental Association’s committed advocacy on behalf of the profession has achieved results. I can attest to the day-in and day-out dedication of ADA staff and leadership as well as their visible presence on Capitol Hill.

The AAE reinforces ADA efforts by supporting the American Dental Political Action Committee and by co-signing to targeted communications to key legislators and regulators.

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Federal Court Decision Casts Doubt on ADA Specialty Recognition Process

A recent federal court decision in Texas, AAID v. Parker, caused undue concern among AAE members that general dentists will be able to advertise as specialists. The opinion in AAID v. Parker does not in any way permit such advertising. However, it will likely have a significant impact on the ADA’s process for recognizing specialties.

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