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ADA Opens a Facebook

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Perhaps too Early?

[By Darrell K. Pruitt; DDS]pruitt

Something strange has happened to www.DentalBlogs.com I think they have partially shut down their Facebook account. They no longer feature original articles such as those by Dr. Rhonda Savage and Ms. Linda Miles, and in the last couple of weeks, they eliminated their collection of photos. Now the site only features ads and press releases. Does anyone else wonder what happened? Sure you do! This is exciting.

Perhaps Re-Tooling 

Unless they are just re-tooling this weekend, I suspect that since their previous format was biased heavily in favor of advertising dollars in a tough economy, their funding simply dried up. Like so many other advertising-related careers, the dinosaur found it couldn’t compete in a 2.0 market.  Nevertheless, today I did learn something important from the DentalBlogs Wall: The ADA has opened a Facebook account.


Such transparency is inspirational

When I announced this news on Twitter a few hours ago (“Proots”), neither the ADA nor the TDA had yet told membership. Yea, I scooped them on their in-house news. It happens all the time.  Naturally, I became a fan of the ADA Facebook. When I joined, there were already 1205 fans, even though the site is yet operational. I found that intriguing because it usually takes a long time for most FBs to attain 1200 fans – especially when all one can gather is the mission statement of the ADA’s newest Internet site.

My View 

Here’s what I see: About the time DentalBlogs laid off employees from their fully active Facebook, the ADA opened theirs (Gasp)! The ADA was well known to DentalBlogs because the ADA once advertised with them regularly. That is where I found an article about the ADA-approved CareCredit/GE that ended up causing problems for some people and entertainment for others. Let’s face it, friends. I just know that I’m not the only dentist in the nation with at least two burning questions. I bet at least 4 others are wondering who were the first seven fans to sign up for the ADA Facebook and Has Kim Volk, CEO of DDPA signed up yet?

Because the number of fans is rapidly piling up, such information from a few weeks (?) ago could soon be just too difficult to uncover from the fans list on the ADA site. It took a long time for me to scroll down through 1200 names – looking for those I recognize (Gasp)!

Scrolling Quickly, but Carelessly

I could have easily missed several easily recognizable names in contemporary dentistry, but as far as I can tell, not only was Delta Dental Plans Association CEO Kim E. Volk’s name not present in the list of 1200 fans, but there were very few names I recognized … and I’m sorry if I insulted anyone. I also did not see “Ron Tankersley” and other ADA officials’ names on the fans list. Didn’t the ADA try partial transparency like this once before? I may be wrong, but I think I played a role in shutting it down a few years ago with my persistent and still unanswered questions about the NPI number.

More Semi-Reliable Information

Here’s another bolus of semi-reliable information: I also quickly scrolled through DentalBlog’s list of 400 fans and did not notice an unusual amount of matches with the ADA Facebook fans list.

Those who dare to do so, might just ask, “So if the ADA fans didn’t come from dentalblogs, where did they come from?” I think one possibility is that the ADA effort has been in Beta and limited to a select group of people up until now. Doesn’t it seem strange that nobody is able to post anything? Did someone open the doors a few hours early? So who were the first 7 fans? No, you don’t have to scroll down to find out for yourself. I’ll tell you.

Who is John Hergert?

The first person to become a fan of the ADA Facebook account is named John Hergert from Chicago, Illinois.

2nd – Laurie Rich

3rd – Amy Lund

4th – Kelsey Majors

5th – Jessica Stevens

6th – Samantha Campbell

7th – Lina Kulkormi

I don’t recognize any of the seven, and I have not searched anyone’s name other than John Hergert’s – the first person to become a fan of the ADA Facebook. I found someone named John Hergert in Chicago, Illinois who is Associate Vice President at Lipman Hearne Inc. – an advertising agency.


Here is the bio of the person I only suspect is the first to become a fan of the ADA Facebook.

John Hergert’s Biography

John Hergert Associate Vice President John Hergert has a keen understanding of what it takes to capture and hold the attention of marketing audiences via innovative marketing techniques. Formerly Associate Director of Marketing Communications at DePaul University in Chicago, John works with both traditional and interactive media to design and implement marketing strategies that build a client’s image, increase support, and grow enrollment or attendance. John’s experience includes developing ROI-based marketing strategies for a variety of nonprofit and for-profit clients. Prior to DePaul, John was an account executive overseeing marketing and advertising strategy, web development, direct mail, print production, and promotional development for clients including Disney, Marconi, Owens Corning, and Reynolds. John began his marketing career while at the University of Wisconsin, where he was hired by a Los Angeles firm to implement cutting-edge marketing programs for Saturn and Trek Bicycle Corporation. John received his B.A. in Journalism from the University of Wisconsin and his Master of Science in Information Systems from DePaul University.”


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32 Responses

  1. The ADA’s new Facebook is very popular, but why?Nothing’s there.


    I find it incredible that the dinosaur organization continues to defy good business sense as if it were a protected species. If I were an ADA Vice President in charge of electronic media, I’d encourage my editor to aggressively grab all of the market share we could while the grabbin’s good. Whimsical customers who might turn to the AGD are begging right now to hear from the ADA. Dinosaurs don’t get second chances as great as this, and the ADA is letting credibility slip right through its slow, clumsy fat hands.

    I invite you to follow me, ADA members. Let me show you what’s been happening with the upkeep on our lease while we weren’t paying attention. Wear old shoes. It’s a mess.

    Almost 2 weeks ago, when I joined the ADA Facebook, I was fan number 1206. As of today, the ADA Facebook has attracted 1371 fans. Since I’ve started following its popularity, it has averaged over 90 new fans a week. Considering the only thing to read is the rapidly growing list of fans, the ADA Facebook is experiencing a surprisingly successful silent start.

    If the ADA Facebook has been quietly attracting what appears to be intense interest since it opened, extrapolation of the recent pace suggests that the social network site has been functioning in some form since at least July. More than likely though, those who are paid with ADA dues to produce the site – both inside and outside the ADA – have been busy testing the Facebook applications in Beta much longer than that. I would guess it’s been open for about a year. It will be interesting when an ADA editor explains to us things like how the test subjects were selected. That could be sooner than the editor’s boss wishes.

    From what I witnessed today, I think at least one high-ranked ADA official in Chicago fears allowing their new Facebook account to open – specifically because of the transparency it brings with it (when I’m around). Today, ADA Electronic Media Editor Laurie Rich read my name in a message I sent her on Facebook, and someone panicked.

    To support my tale, allow me to begin by pointing out what accountability in a competitive business environment does for customer service. Did you know that I or anyone else can walk into any Wal-mart in numerous countries around the world, ask to speak to any employee’s boss and be afforded that right immediately and without question? And I don’t even own stock in Wal-mart.

    Now let’s compare Wal-mart’s service with how the ADA treats its customers. Starting long ago, I’ve posted numerous concerns on the “ADA Member Email Forum.” I’ve tediously documented that when I ask ADA employees easy questions, I receive response ¼ of the time. And when my questions are more critical, nobody in the ADA acknowledges my visits (See “Transparency and the ADA – a dissecting experiment” 2/22/09).


    What’s more, during numerous moments of justifiable frustration over the last couple of years, I’ve also been ignored when I’ve asked an anonymous ADA employee on the other end of my unanswered emails the name of his or her boss. I think you will see why as of a few hours ago, I suspect ADA editor Laurie Rich’s boss was somehow involved in the decision to insult an ADA member. Laurie recognized my name.

    Compared to Wal-mart’s service, what does that say for the value I receive for the dues I’ve been paying to the ADA for almost 30 years? It’s no wonder our leaders can’t afford to raise the price of membership. If the ADA was accountable to consumers in a free market it would either have to charge less or go out of business. The ADA is not unlike another fat, threatened species: DDPA member dental insurance companies.

    As described in an article I posted on the Medical Executive-Post last week titled “ADA opens a Facebook – Perhaps too Early?” I studied the only item available on the ADA site: The growing list of fans.


    That was when I discovered that the first of 1200 fans of the ADA Facebook was someone named John Hergert, who I suspect is the marketing consultant who works for the Chicago company that won the contract to set up the ADA’s Facebook account. I also mentioned in the ME-P article the names of six more fans who followed Hergert. The second person to join was Laurie Rich.

    This morning, I clicked on Laurie’s public Facebook site and left this message:

    “Dear Laurie, Can you tell me when the ADA Facebook will open?”

    When Laurie had not responded a little while later, I returned to her Facebook to invite her to be my friend – just like my invitation to DDPA CEO Kim E. Volk a month ago. That’s when I discovered that Laurie Rich has blocked me from accessing even her public Facebook site.

    Not unexpectedly, Kim E. Volk ignored my invitation to friendship, but she hasn’t yet blocked me from her public page.

    I take Wal-mart’s courtesy for granted because they actually want my business. But I would have never thought that the CEO of Delta Dental would treat me with more respect than ADA Media Editor Laurie Rich.

    Extinction is always a possibility if a dinosaur can’t adapt to the changing climate quick enough.

    D. Kellus Pruitt; DDS


  2. Kim E. Volk, today is Friday the 13th

    I’ve been told that my lack of professionalism embarrasses anonymous dentists. Is that true? If so, do you think I care?

    I posted this note to the CEO of DDPA on the Just Fans section of Delta’s Advance Oral Health Facebook. I bet she’s read it a couple of times already.


    Dear Kim E. Volk, CEO of Delta Dental Plans Association:

    Please forgive me for getting directly to the point, Ms. Volk, but how important are life’s goals to you? To achieve the esteemed stature that you’ve earned, you are obviously a dedicated and driven professional – well-respected and loved by many friends, both inside and outside your career. I like to think you and I are more alike than different, and that ultimately, our goals can not only coexist, but can be mutually empowered by cooperation today, not tomorrow. Would you be interested in helping me achieve my humble goal? I think improvement in the nation’s dental care is as easy as marketplace conversation. What could it hurt? Silence isn’t helping anyone, and is obsolete as a corporate defense strategy anyway. We’re in a small town, Ms. Volk. Around here, people talk casually with each other. It takes some getting used to.

    My name is D. Kellus Pruitt; DDS, and I practice in Fort Worth, Texas. Though you and I have never met, or even exchanged words, one can easily see that when one googles your name (when you google your name), my comments occupy almost your entire first page. You should know by now that I too am dedicated, and that I will not be ignored.

    I back with my name that mine is a noble cause, and that inevitable transparency will arrive quicker and less painfully if both of us work together – not against each other. If you’re not interested in conversation, maybe a representative from BCBS, UnitedHealth, United Concordia or one of your other competitors, is.

    I think it’s time you and I talked, and I can think of no better place to discuss how Delta’s policies affect dental patients and their homes than right here in the “fans only” section of Delta Dental’s Advance Oral Health Facebook. If you would prefer to meet on a more powerful venue, our options are limitless, and I’ve prepared the way. Regardless, you and I could quickly draw a crowd of townfolk just about anywhere because of the precedence. My top choices would be the rapidly growing Medical Executive-Post, or my own Pruitt’s Platform that is featured on the PennWell Forum and Blog. The American Way of Dentistry Facebook seems to be another progressive site, and then there’s the ADA Facebook that will open any day now (it already has over 1400 fans). I think most ADA members would agree that our conversation would be a spectacular way to kick off the grand opening of the ADA Facebook.

    As a matter of fact, I think if I could bring you along, the Texas Dental Association Facebook would welcome me back. Our conversation on that venue could directly help Delta’s business in Texas because so far, TDA leaders are selectively shielding BCBSTX from dentists’ complaints – thereby giving them a market advantage in a state they already dominate.

    Or you may have a venue you prefer. All you have to do is whisper, and you’ll be heard (but no phone calls, please).

    May I suggest this topic as an easy icebreaker: The McCarran Ferguson Act of 1945 – Should it be repealed?

    I’ll look forward to your reply, Kim E. Volk.

    D. Kellus Pruitt; DDS


  3. Darrell,

    It is the anonymous dentists that should be embarrassed over their anonymity.



  4. Thanks for your encouragement, Brad.

    Like other malleable buzzwords in dentistry, those in power determined long ago that the exalted noun “professionalism” means whatever they damn well need it to mean. Traditionally, American-made command-and-control dental leaders have silenced troublemakers like me by shaming them into default banishment from the organization with summary, binding verdicts of “unprofessionalism.”

    I’m far from the first to justifiably complain about the good ol’ boy ethics that permeates the ADA, including my state organization, the Texas Dental Association. I’m just the first dentist in the nation to have success at using Internet platforms to hold both employed and elected leaders personally accountable for committee-blessed, organic, boneheaded decisions based on bad information from biased sources inside and outside the ADA.

    It is coming up on the fourth year anniversary of the evening I discussed my questions about HIPAA with my designated state-level ADA representative. He wished me luck, but told me I am on my own … and that I was unprofessional.

    Even though so far I’m making incredibly slow progress, I’m comfortable accepting that I have made a difference in a good way.

    Thanks again, Brad.



  5. TDA Facebook closes after a short run

    An Oklahoma farmer was driving his pickup too fast as he entered Texas, and was pulled over by the DPS. The officer was writing the ticket as he approached the driver’s window when he asked “You got an ID?”

    The farmer looked the officer in eye and growled, “’Bout what?”

    I posted the following comment on The American Way of Dentistry Facebook today. It’s just one more of several Facebook venues I have over-run simply because I’m the only dentist around with an ID.


    No doubt about it. The Texas Dental Association Facebook now exists in name only. So what happened?

    I’ve been following the TDA’s social networking disaster and reporting the developments as part of my real time Community College course (not for credit) on Twitter. They call me “Proots”. Here is my take: Traditional command-and-control TDA leaders thought “transparency” was just another malleable buzzword. They assumed it means something altogether different that leaders can control – like “accountability.” Oops.

    If an entity such as the TDA, ADA – or even The American Way of Dentistry – offers a pristine, seldom unused wall, including free spray paint, what do you think is going to happen when an ornery, impromptu artist happens along?

    Just like I’ve started on this otherwise dormant Facebook Wall, I slowly filled the TDA’s vacuum with my own ideas about contemporary taboo issues like the Red Flags Rule and the bankruptcy-level danger of data breaches. But I didn’t limit my posts to important topics that make TDA officials do funny things to avoid discussing. I expressly and emphatically supported the efforts of ADA President Dr. Ron Tankersley when I posted my opinion why it is important to repeal the McCarran Ferguson Act of 1945. I fully agree with the ADA’s committee-approved talking points on this issue. Why should Delta Dental, be shielded from anti-trust investigations when it is Delta and other sleazy NADP members who complain to the FTC every time the ADA approaches success in properly representing NADP’s clients’ needs?

    But then I went and pushed the confounded envelope when I started complaining about the NPI number and BCBSTX’s unfair business practices which harm dental patients. When the Director of Membership kicked me off, among other reasons, she specifically said that unnamed TDA Facebook fans complained about me for this. I’m also certain that my rebuttals to parts I and II of Dr. Ron Tankersley’s interview with ADA reporter Judy Jakush before he took over as figurehead played a roll in forcing the ADA Director of Membership to deprive me of my benefit.

    Although the TDA’s traditional heavy-handed reaction is oh so transparently stupid, it turned out to be just one more in a continuing string unfortunate TDA committee-approved decisions. Without my regular contributions, the TDA Facebook went completely dormant again. Imagine that!

    If you attended any dental school in the nation, and you witnessed one of your own evaporate from his cubicle without a trace, would you be inclined to stick your head up and start making points and asking questions? The TDA reminds me of a cartoon I saw in which an authoritarian offers a puppy a biscuit in one hand, while behind his back the other clenches a rolled up newspaper.

    The next artist to notice the TDA’s wide open Wall persistently posted nonsense words until the TDA was faced with either breaking anonymity and confronting the intruder or shutting the site down. Since I was no longer around to persuade the butt nugget to roll on down the road, the TDA had nobody at all capable of defending their Facebook – exactly as I warned them. The only thing backing up helpless TDA employees were bewildered anonymous bureaucrats who are far too concerned about image.

    Bye-bye TDA Facebook. Bye-bye TDA members.

    D. Kellus Pruitt; DDS


  6. If as a dues-paying member of the non-profit organization, I can’t get the ADA to respond to my sincere questions, let’s just see how proud, shy bureaucrats handle a tiny sample of playful disinformation!

    I posted the ADA’s announcement for them on both Pruitt’s Platform and The American Way of Dentistry Facebook. If it draws even one shy ADA official from a dark hiding place, I sure hope he or she packs an attitude. We’d have some real fun with a pissed-off command-and-control good ol’ boy.

    One way or another, I will win. Tankersley. Darrell


    December 22 – Grand Opening of the ADA Facebook!

    That’s right, sports fans. You just saw me put together a rumor that someone announced today that the ADA’s long awaited Facebook is set to open at 2 AM on December 22 with a surprise appearance by ADA President Dr. Ron Tankersley. That would be in 7 days.

    Please do your part to show our dental leaders that we are very interested in what they can share with us and more.

    Become an ADA Facebook fan today!


    (I receive no promotion fees from the American Dental Association).

    D. Kellus Pruitt; DDS


  7. Facebook is a trendy fad.


  8. Will the ADA abandon Facebook?

    I posted the following sticky-note on the Dentistry Facebook, which has 3107 fans. The ADA Facebook has under 2000. I’ve owned the almost-dormant Dentistry page for about a week. Precisely because of the ADA’s written code of omerta – which once protected good ol’ butts, but now traps them – it will take far less effort for me to annex the ADA Facebook if it ever opens. Nobody will come to the ADA’s defense for obsolete, self-serving rules.

    There’s a rumor I’m starting that in the last week, a half-dozen more of the highest ADA officers learned to respect the beauty of social networks like Facebook. Because nobody says nothin’ around Headquarters, the ADA’s Facebook threat to business-as-usual caught all but a Grinning Few off guard.



    More news about the ADA’s Facebook, which continues to gather fans even though it is still unopened: The ADA may back out of it.

    On Monday, a Chicago Dental Society representative posted this on the CDS Facebook: “For those wondering about the ADA Facebook page, I spoke with the communications team today and, due to staff resources and restructuring, it’s unclear when they will launch their page. They will be debuting an all new ADA.org in the first quarter of 2010, however.”

    Is there anyone in the audience who owns an expensive Website that has recently become dormant?

    I wonder if out of the 5 fans who are paying attention, there’s one who finds it odd that the ADA is abandoning Facebook – the world’s most popular social network. And for what?

    Even while state dental associations, dentists (ADA members), and others interested in dentistry (future ADA members) become ADA Facebook fans at a rate of almost 90/week, on Monday, the ADA’s committee-approved Communications Team leader (?) told a CDS Facebook representative that someone anonymous has determined that it serves ADA members better to ignore almost 1900 ADA Facebook fans, and to instead concentrate the Communication Team’s efforts and ADA dues on a brand new ADA Website that will open in the 1st Quarter of 2010 and dazzle us.

    Where did the ADA find this “Communications Team”? They should be in charge of technology more commensurate with their backgrounds and training… Like maybe a couple of cans networked with a piece of string.

    D. Kellus Pruitt DDS


  9. Morris, you are correct. Facebook is a trendy fad. And it will do wonderfully until the next trendy fad comes along.


  10. Was it something I said?

    Here’s some fresh news for sports fans: A Chicago Dental Society representative kicked me off of the CDS Facebook, as well as blocked me from following the CDS’s @Chicago_dental on Twitter sometime in the last 24 hours for asking if anyone had any news why the ADA still has not opened the Facebook,… I guess.

    Whatever the reason I was kicked off is a mystery to me. My final comment that triggered the summary censorship was deleted without warning, and I have no copy of it.

    Way to go, Chicago Dental Association!

    Soon enough, I’ll post more about the CDS’s earth-bound stupid.

    D. Kellus Pruitt; DDS


  11. Chicago Dental Society quietly pays a price – And puts the balance on credit

    I heard a joke about Search Engine Optimization: What’s the difference between an SEO expert and accountants? Accountants know they are boring.

    If you maintain a Google alert for “D. Kellus Pruitt DDS,” this morning you might have noticed this crude and completely unprofessional statement I posted on Twitter yesterday concerning my still-unwritten article describing capricious censorship by employees left in charge of ADA-affiliated Facebooks:

    “I thought of a good title while I was taking a whiz: ‘Chicago Dental Society kicks D. Kellus Pruitt DDS off of CDS Facebook.’ about 9 hours ago from web …” (Meta).

    I haven’t yet started the article about the Chicago Dental Society’s embarrassing mistake, but SEO experts could quickly bore you with detailed reasons my strategically positioned key words will naturally enhance its virulence on the Internet. (I may shorten it some for esthetics, though).

    This means that regardless of the payload, once my information is wrapped inside the engineered title, the fire-and-forget missive will be on its way to appearing as the first stain on the Chicago Dental Society’s 1st search page, indefinitely – regardless what I do thereafter. Even I can’t bring it back once it’s launched, and I guarantee it will hit the correct targets right in their dazzling white teeth.

    Let’s put aside the reason for my crude and unprofessional conduct for a moment. Let’s seriously consider this next huge, nasty step I quite frankly hesitate to take. But if necessary, in order to bring players to the platform for unprecedented real-time negotiations between dentists (who actually care for dental patients) and stakeholders (who do not), I could own just about anyone’s 1st page.

    I have faith that one day soon, someone somewhere will recognize that dental patients’ fair and honest representation hangs in the balance at the most critical time in our profession’s history. Even the plans that ADA Headquarters shares with members seem to favor stakeholders at the expense of principles far too often. I’ve seen what the ADA’s got, what the ADA lacks, and who the ADA hires. Personally, I’m unimpressed with numerous ideas our leaders have quietly divined – starting with “EHRs are going to be forced on us no matter what.” (An ADA committee-approved talking point used by numerous ADA officials from April 2004 to October 2009 – from Pruitt’s personal wiki archives, filed under “mostly guesses”)

    Bureaucrats inside and outside the ADA still reserve the right to define professionalism on traditional grounds, and as one can read in the Commentary featured in the December JADA, Associate Editor Dr. James D. Bader revealed that some of the same stakeholders have plans to measure and publicize American dentists’ value to society – using Evidence-Based Dentistry tools. This includes secret adjustable algorithms that are based on meaningful-use science. Dr. Bader boasts that they are much more accurate at determining the quality of intricate dental work done to exacting tolerances in unpredictable, wet, crowded environments (that sometimes even smell bad), than consumers’ naturally biased opinions about how their mouths really feel.


    Dr. Bader, a progressive-thinking operative dentistry instructor, is working on EBD programs that promise to eliminate the need for dental patients and dentists to have to think at all. All that is needed from dentists for Bush’s artificial Pay-for-Performance market system to work as designed by bi-partisan stakeholders, is for dentists to either cooperate now, or wait to be forced to become paperless and have voluntary (but permanent) NPI numbers for a reason yet to be fully explained. From what I can tell, this is the nuts and bolts of Evidence-Based Dentistry.

    What Evidence-Based goes around, Evidence-Based comes around.

    ADA leaders no longer enjoy the unquestioned power they had only months ago. Blame it on Evidence-Based Leadership, meaningful use of Facebook and a crude, unprofessional special bastard who had nothing better to do between checking hygiene patients.

    I have my own selfish reasons for being repulsive. First of all, it cuts down the never-welcomed phone calls. Secondly, long ago I felt it was important to give shy ADA officials an easily-confirmed reason to ignore me. At one time, I futilely hoped responsible ADA leaders would plug the gaping holes in credibility once they noticed the oversight, and I wouldn’t have to forfeit more of my own privacy on behalf of my profession, to do the ADA’s own damn job.

    But really, the overpowering reason I’m such a butt is that I quickly discovered that being nice to entrenched good ol’ boys who reflexively shield each other from accountability got me nowhere, and was hardly as much fun as dragging them out by the nostril into the wide open spaces with me.

    I may be crude and unprofessional, but that doesn’t mean I’m not merciful. I’m not just another Jeff Jarvis, and this isn’t Dell Hell. Do I want to draw ever more attention to the apparent lack of ethics in my own professional organization? And how much more attention do I want to bring to myself and my family? I can’t even stand in line at Wal-mart any more without people asking me when I think the first CCHIT-certified eDR will come out. And to get a haircut in this town is simply impossible on the weekend.

    Rather than rub shoulders with anonymous people who casually prove they have no respect for me, I would rather someone like ADA President Dr. Ron Tankersley or President-elect Dr. Raymond Gist, to suddenly come up their own solutions that may or may not look like mine without any more help from me. And to bring this beneficial result to the tipping point, I prefer to use the least amount of pressure possible. I continue to have faith that within two months, the demand for transparency in the American Dental Association will have its own momentum, one way or another. Dentists will be desperate for Internet mobility by March.

    If this fun, under-the-radar game fails as badly as most do, no big deal. I’ll continue to entertain snickering sports fans, including Bennie at Discount Tire, by stealthily playing PR games against slow-thinking ADA committees – exclusive networks which are not only devoid of personal accountability, but proudly devoid of personal accountability.

    D. Kellus Pruitt; DDS


  12. I like not being kicked off of Facebooks

    When I went to bed last night, I wondered if the communications director of the Arizona Dental Association would be told by an AzDA attorney to delete my comparison of patient satisfaction and managed care dentists in Phoenix. (“Transparency and managed care dental care”)


    I wondered if Arizona attorneys would be fearful of the national discount dentistry brokerage firms – all of them sleazy companies – I exposed by name. (I didn’t name any dentists). I was pleased to see that the AzDA was properly advised that the same whistleblower law which protects Yelp from irate dentists who don’t like what patients say – protects AzDA from irate CEOs who don’t like what dentists say. I remember when the Medical Executive-Post hesitantly broke through that cultural barrier about a year ago. I had called Delta Dental a sleazy company in the title of an article, and the editor chose to post “sleazy” in quotation marks that I didn’t include. I wasn’t upset. One must remember that a year ago the California law had been barely tested in courts. Dr. David Marcinko, Publisher-in-chief of Medical Executive-Post is a brave man. I wish US healthcare had more publishers like him.

    I’m not going to even attempt to flatter myself and claim that the AzDA communications director googled my name and recognized me as a special bastard that one shouldn’t censor. That would simply be ostentatious.

    I prefer to think the communications director actually loved the piece that offers unprecedented consumer information about a sleazy industry. I don’t think he once considered taking it down. I think she also wants me to post more of my stuff.

    Thanks. I’ll keep you in mind, AzDA.

    D. Kellus Pruitt; DDS


  13. D. Kellus Pruitt holds DrBicuspid.com accountable

    Today, Dr. John Hamm and I discovered DrBicuspid’s new Facebook. We became the 18th and 19th fans of the budding social media venue. I don’t know how long it’s been open, but I immediately posted their first comment: “Good morning, DrBicuspid.” Do you think DrBicuspid’s officials are as happy to see me as I am to see them?


    Two days ago, I noted in a Medical Executive-Post article titled “DrBicuspid.com is Biased against Dentists” that Dr. Hamm and I were both kicked off of the DrBicuspid.com Website a year apart for accidentally posting meaningful questions that brought unwanted attention to DrBicuspid’s journalistic ethics.


    Unfortunately for us, Editor in Chief Kathy Kincade and Editorial Director Brian Casey are incapable of handling dissent – for natural, public relations reasons. The officers’ traditional and deeply insulting reaction – that worked swell when they were still in control of the media – is now old school obsolete. DrBicuspid’s business model is fatally flawed and it looks like Kincade and Casey are the slowest learning bureaucrats I have ever had the pleasure of outing. Rightly or wrongly DrBicuspid’s vulnerability interests me in an opportunistic way. It gets me to thinking about things.

    Such as: I wonder how many Facebook fans Kincade and Casey can kick off per week. Wouldn’t it just be ornery-fun to find out?

    Just for the sake of argument, I wonder how long it would take for me to shut down the DrBicuspid Facebook using unprofessional, but dirt-honest tactics similar to those I used on BCBSTX a few months ago. I’m sure their communications director had hoped I would get bored and go away, but it wasn’t long before I was the only person posting on the BCBSTX Facebook. I gleefully grubstaked BCBSTX property with a dozen or so honest, yet challenging comments and questions. Thousands of followers witnessed BCBSTX shut down their Facebook rather than discuss the NPI. Yet BCBSTX requires dentists in Texas to have the number to be paid. How good is that?

    So how many modern communications apps will DrBicuspid be willing to forfeit in order to shield their best advertisers from the transparency I (or others) bring?

    Here is the lesson of the day:

    If one is going to open a Facebook, expect special bastards to show up at the door uninvited. I think I can safely claim that I’m the first of hundreds in dentistry alone. And if I am correct, then DrBicuspid and BCBSTX are glaring examples of weakness. It is clear to me and others that the US is terribly unprepared for future competition in a Flat World. I think the traditional American business model is our nation’s greatest weakness domestically and internationally.

    Whether you like what I say or not, I’m benevolent. Will the next bastard be such a nice guy? Will he or she even be a US citizen?

    So do you think DrBicuspid’s Editorial Director Brian Casey and Editor in Chief Kathy Kincade yet regret not taking the high road in journalism – instead of the quick and easy money?

    Darrell K. Pruitt; DDS


  14. DMDrep loses town’s respect – fun is likely

    I found out yesterday that DMDrep owner Warren Bobinski not only preemptively blocked me from posting my comments on his company’s Facebook, but he later escalated his aggression by deleting numerous comments made by others who defended my right to speak openly on his public, commercial site. Even the slickest salespeople and wittiest PR/marketing types can’t do business-as-usual in a small town for very long. Word gets around incredibly fast in our tight-knit community. We respect rough gossip from friends more than pretty words in paid ads. And we can almost always smell the difference instantly.

    Randy Washburn from Florida posted one of the comments that were deleted without warning or explanation. Fortunately, I liked Randy’s so well that I copied it:

    “If you’re so caring and wonderful, why would you block dental professionals from commenting on this page? Is yours the only opinion that is of value in the dental world? You must be the great and powerful OZ of dentistry, you know — a little man hiding behind a curtain.”

    Randy was addressing an anonymous Warren Bobinski. Randy is a well-travelled poet.

    Randy’s was only one of a dozen comments that Bobinski didn’t want his 965 Facebook fans to read. Who knows if there are copies of the others? I remember a few that Bobinski could have easily found to be challenging. They too were erased painlessly when he opted out of accountability with a simple click.

    By the way, thanks for the support. Together, we can keep our neighborhood illuminated … and entertaining.

    D. Kellus Pruitt; DDS


  15. Transparency trumps censorship hard in the land of the free

    (A Twitterpoem in 140-characters-or-less meter)

    That brings me to the contemporary topic of censorship on social networks such as Facebook. Is it ever justified?

    Yes. There are times when one must eliminate hecklers and grafitti. But the decision to exclude someone from conversation takes courage.

    It makes no difference if one has 965 Facebook fans like DMDrep, or 15 like drbicuspid, you never censor if you can’t defend aggression.

    And you never, never, never censor anonymously.

    And, Warren Bobinski, prophylactic censorship by an anonymous person is not allowed in Texas

    For an anonymous person, such an insult doesn’t take much courage. But what if Warren had to explain to my friends why they were not worthy?

    Low tech insulation from accountability has vanished, yet some still cling to default ownership of the media because that is all they know

    Christopher Locke, author of Chapter 1 of “The Cluetrain Manifesto” writes: “The Internet is inherently seditious …

    “It undermines unthinking respect for centralized authority, whether that ‘authority’ is the neatly homogenized voice of advertising…

    “... or the smarmy rhetoric of the corporate annual report.” Christopher Locke wrote that more than a decade ago.

    I’m working on a stinker about social media, censorship and public relations that I’ll post in a few places. I can now claim i’m the expert

    I’m powerless if I fail to satisfy you, my readers. It is your interest in what I uncover that empowers me to hold dinosaurs accountable.

    For example, If one googles “Warren Bobinski,” my article “You worthy of Warren Bobinski’s Facebook? I’m not,” is his 6th hit. It had help

    Link: http://community.pennwelldentalgroup.com/forum/topics/you-worthy-of-warren-bobinskis

    If you think I’m treating Warren Bobinski unfairly for censoring me before I even posted a word on his DMDrep FB, DO NOT CLICK THE LINK.

    @Proots, 3/4/10


    A late note:

    As I was preparing to post my first Twitterpoem, Warren Bobinski responded to my article “DMDrep loses town’s respect – fun is likely.”


    His first line is, “I am happy to respond – but I will not debate.”

    That should make my job even easier.

    D. Kellus Pruitt; DDS


  16. Can a Facebook be both exclusive and unbiased?

    “Interesting fact … DMDrep is not a commercial or paid service. Thank you for your offers, but at this time I will continue to offer unbiased opinions and share those of my friends. If I do get paid for this some day – I will make sure to let you know exactly who and how … at this point, DMDrep is just me sharing the best of you … Smile!” – Warren Bobinski, owner of DMDrep, yesterday.

    Warren, upon reading your commitment to fairness on your Facebook, I intended to click on the “like” button to show my approval, as well as to be notified of subsequent responses to your impromptu mission statement. But, suddenly, I discovered that you still block me from responding. I’m not even permitted to click on the “like” button. How friendly is that? At best it is yet another insensitive oversight. Or do you really never intend to allow me the same access I allow you to my Facebook? The same access you allow to everyone else, including DrBicuspid.com.

    Let’s discuss manners: Until you reminded me that we previously met on Facebook this fall, I had forgotten about that adventure in humility: You also re-ignited the way you made me feel. In a statement that you prefaced with “I am happy to respond – but I will not debate,” you told me, “I discussed this with you when you first requested to post on my wall, and I responded that the subject is heavy and controversial – and really not my style. Just like you, I have the right to my opinion, and to keep my ‘home’ the way I want it kept.”


    Does it make any difference that it was you who approached me about being Facebook friends? When I extended my welcome, you mentioned your Facebook. I visited it, but declined to become a fan until a week ago when I saw something that DrBicuspid.com posted on your site that I wanted to respond to. By then, I no longer recognized the name “DMDrep.” What’s more, since your identity was nowhere on your page, I assumed it was an anonymous newbie who censored me – even before I posted a word. Nobody should be expected to tolerate such in-your-face disrespect.

    Here is how this situation looks to me and my friends. Even though you tell me that you want me to be your host in my home, I’m still not good enough to be seen in yours – and you would prefer I keep our relationship a secret to protect the fragile image you’ve crafted for yourself.

    This junior high popularity game of yours is child’s play, of course. I grew up in a small town in the Texas Panhandle where such bonehead manners can cause one to be subtly marginalized until maturity causes common sense to happen, and all is forgiven.

    And that brings us back to our progress in negotiations. I’ve shown what I am willing to do for you. Now, what can you do for me, Warren Bobinski? Shouldn’t you go ahead and allow me to come into your home through the front door just like everyone else? Or would you rather me create my own openings.

    D. Kellus Pruitt; DDS


  17. Let’s get silly

    I posted a version of “Can a Facebook be both exclusive and unbiased?” on my Facebook Wall yesterday. Debbie, a friend who is also from Panhandle, Texas, asked me, “Darrell, do you need me to copy and paste this on his page, I can post there, hehe” As youngsters, Debbie and I drank the same well water.

    I replied:

    Debbie, I was going to say that since Warren Bobinski is my friend on Facebook, he’s probably following every word in real time – sort of like how bad news always seemed to beat us home from school. But I would have been wrong. I just discovered that Warren de-friended me in the last day or so. I assume he wanted to show me that he’s no longer interested in what I have to say. Personally, I think he’s acting childish.

    I’m not going to encourage anyone to do anything to someone else as far as you know. Then again, I would never discourage anyone from doing what they think should be done to keep our neighborhood free of rude, pushy salesmen from the city. Time and again proto-tyrants underestimate the intelligence of people from small towns – like you, me and many of our closest life-long friends. Control freaks caught outside of their insulated offices are sort of entertaining though, aren’t they?

    Since Warren Bobinski posted responses on my blog, “Pruitt’s Platform” that is featured on Dentistry iQ, he was automatically notified of my comments – unless he turned that off warning bell as well. (See “DMDrep loses town’s respect – fun is likely” from March 4).


    In his second, more contrite response of March 5, Bobinski wrote: “I am not here to offend anyone. My sincere wish is this – to speak my two cents and leave a good impression of myself on the world. Debating politics and religion is something I was raised not to do – so its’ nothing personal.”

    Politics? Religion? He knows that I have never attempted to discuss either of these topics with him. He’s just trying to re-define my character by re-directing my motives. It’s a juvenile, evasive PR trick that was transparent in the 7th grade (I won’t name names). Bobinski must be desperate. He’s diving for cover.

    Bobinski continues: “On that note, I am happy that you allow me into your home Darrell – you will realize that I am not a tyrant after all – I’m just another Joe on the street trying to make a living selling dental supplies, and I think I’m pretty good at what I do – just as I believe you are.”

    I just checked. I still cannot comment following inaccuracies that he sponsors on his Facebook. Bobinski is free to refuse my comments as part of his social media policy, and I have no desire to sneak around and post anonymously on either his Facebook or his Website (although I could… and I’m not ruling it out hehe). All I am asking for is his permission to police truth in advertising in my neighborhood – just like a good citizen should. Warren should be happy I’m benevolent, as well as patient.

    Thanks, Debbie. I’ll post this on a couple of other venues as well. Let’s have some fun. It’s the least we can do for our small, tight-knit community. Hell, we’re all basically kin to each other.

    D. Kellus Pruitt; DDS


  18. Update: Bobinski responds on Pruitt’s Platform


    Dr. Pruitt and Mary Jane,

    I am watching, but I do not want wish to participate.

    Please leave me alone.

    Please – life is too short for this. I will tell you once more. I am just a Dental Sales Guy. I don’t appreciate being bashed any more than you would. I have not said anything unkind to you, as a matter of fact, I have done nothing but asked you to respectfully leave me alone.

    The reason I wasn’t responding is because you seemed to be offended that I was allowed to come to your house, but you couldn’t come to mine.

    Feel free to block me – its’ your right if you want me in your house, or not. Either way – that’s your opinion and you are entitled to it (as am I).

    If you don’t like me, you are entitled to your opinion – and I respect that. I just ask that you please respect mine.



    Warren Bobinski



    I replied to his response:

    Thanks for keeping communications open, Warren. That means there is still hope for honesty on the Internet in the dental industry. If we discuss nothing, we attain nothing. I’m sorry, but I cannot walk away empty handed from this one, Warren. You played me. Now you’ve got me.

    All I am asking is that if you want to run a commercial Facebook, make it accountable to my dental patients. Don’t dodge criticism from those you serve. Accept it graciously.

    (It looks bad to get in arguments with customers in the front of the store).

    D. Kellus Pruitt; DDS


  19. To our ME-P Readers,

    This topic and thread is now closed.

    The Editors


  20. Hello, Member Service Center.

    I’m Darrell Pruitt DDS, ADA member since 1982, number 179 820 333.

    Am I correct to assume that the ADA.org Website will not offer the capability for discussion between members and leadership? Or has the “forum” not yet been added?

    I have questions I would like to ask an ADA representative concerning the costs, including the liabilities, of data breaches from dental offices. I’d rather converse over the Internet than by telephone because it makes the answers easier to share with other ADA members. Even email such as this is much more efficient and works into my schedule better than a telephone conversation. Also, the Internet is less costly to ADA members than paying employees to wait on phone calls – and who just might not know the answers anyway. I do hope the ADA provides a more modern and widely accepted form of communication than the telephone because then I also won’t have to transcribe a conversation from a recording. That process understandably increases the chances of misunderstandings.

    If “interactive” is not to be included in the new ADA Website, can you please provide me the email address of someone in the ADA who might be able to answer some timely questions about electronic dental records, as well as HIPAA, the NPI number and CareCredit? Your response would be appreciated by me and others who are directly responsible for dental patients’ welfare. For us, evasion of difficult questions isn’t an option.

    D. Kellus Pruitt; DDS


  21. Perfect Innocent update – I told you this one would be good

    6021+ customers who are waiting for the ADA Facebook to open can’t be wrong.

    No. Seriously. I’m not kidding, ADA President Dr. Ron Tankersley. Customers are never wrong, and you have over 6000 of them waiting on you to open the ADA Facebook. Some have been waiting for over a year. So what do you plan to do? Let President-elect Raymond Gist inherit the problem? I don’t think I can allow the waste of time. You and I already have rapport, Tank.

    Remember yesterday’s practical joke I pulled on the ADA’s indecisive Communications Director? It gets funnier with every person I talk into joining the ADA’s Facebook:


    Why do I call it a prefect innocent? It’s perfect because even though the Director is fully aware of what I’m doing, she can’t do a thing to stop the mounting pressure. She obviously cannot complain about my free advertisement for the non-functional Facebook she supervises without sounding fruity. It’s innocent because to the passers-by, my efforts resemble a Boy Scout generously helping a quiet, docile, perhaps frightened old lady across a road she’s avoided crossing for over a year – bless his heart. He’s such a nice kid.

    So how well is the perfect innocent is going? The number of “Friends” who have joined the ADA Facebook since I took over PR duties for the ADA is up to 6021 and counting – and this is only the weekend! I think my style of advertisement could turn viral with a little help from both those who are already in on the joke (you) and those who soon will be. Once again, the link is:


    In the interest of what is best for my patients, I feel I should push ever harder to help the ADA Communications Director reach her destiny much sooner than otherwise. What do you think?

    D. Kellus Pruitt DDS


  22. Perfect Innocent – Everyone wins

    The adventure begins:

    This morning, I used Twitter to sweet talk the ADA Communications Director in Chicago into surrendering our ADA Facebook to us already. Our Facebook appeared on the Internet over a year ago, and all it does is collect names of disappointed customers – including thousands of dental students who use Facebook regularly. I can only imagine what young dentists must think of the ADA’s avoidance of society.

    Forget about the glaring insult to waiting ADA members who pay the salaries of the Communications Team, it is simply wrong for our professional organization to ignore the interests of those we represent – our dental patients. Such self-defeating business mistakes support the old theory that in a given bureaucracy, common sense is inversely proportional to the size of the committee… or something like that.

    I started a rumor today that an unnamed ADA official will be announcing the Grand Opening of the ADA Facebook soon (date not yet determined). Do you know that if one spreads a rumor like this in a small town, the ADA Facebook will open like magic? I’m not kidding. It will happen. It just has to.

    That’s right, sports fans. It’s my goal to voluntarily encourage 4,000 people to join the ADA Facebook by the end of September (four times the current rate of 500/month). Can you help the ADA Facebook reach 10,000 fans before the national meeting in October? That would be swell.

    Please sign up everyone you can, including Grandma, by forwarding this link to the ADA Facebook. All she has to do is click on the “like” button:


    Grandma’s interests deserve dentists’ attention as well.

    D. Kellus Pruitt DDS


  23. Dallas County Dental Society suffers paralyzing transparency

    Sit back and watch how I discourage censorship in my community in a way that stuns rude officials into silence.

    I hope you find this lynching of the Dallas County Dental Society entertaining. The de-centralizing power of transparency through modern marketplace conversation will inevitably make all command-and-control ADA leaders susceptible to accountability like the non-profit professional organization has never experienced. Grab a seat and watch how I use Facebook to domesticate a still-anonymous Dallas County Dental Society official who owes me an apology in this lifetime – and everyone knows it.

    When the reckless DCDS officer shares why she chose to censor my critical article “The ADA tries sarcasm” (and she will), what reason will she give?

    There is actually no excuse for politically-driven censorship of any American by a non-profit organization he supports with dues – even if he is but a common member of the American Dental Association and holds no rank. I want this to be a warning to all ill-equipped bozos: I will make national examples of every poor slob in the ADA who thinks he or she is big enough to try to silence me – even anonymously… especially anonymously. Nobody respects the courage of anonymous people even if they are from Dallas.

    Can we expect the DCDS official to try to defend her aggression as a command obligation to protect Dallas dentists who might be among her 72 Facebook fans? That rationalization would be silly. Do dentists in Dallas, who are all adults with post-graduate educations, really need a DCDS employee to screen their mail for political correctness? And how meaningful was her capricious reaction when the article she deleted was simulposted on two other Facebooks with close to 2000 fans – including the Kansas Dental Association’s? Nobody other than Dallas censored it. In fact, nobody complained about it at all as far as I know. Quite the opposite.

    Just last night my article was picked up by Medical Executive-Post as “On Delta Dental and the National Association of Dental Plans.” Within hours, the information that a DCDS official blocked licensed Dallas dentists from reading became the most popular article on the ME-P Website. Way to go, Dallas!


    Here’s something interesting. “On Delta Dental..” replaced my article, “An Open Letter to the TDA Council on Ethics” that held the number one position for most of the last week.


    It seems dentistry has become a hot subject on the physician-oriented Medical Executive-Post. How strange is that?

    Since the ME-P has over 230,000 readers – as compared to the DCDS Facebook’s 72 – that just has to make it awkward for the anonymous DCDS official to claim that she was protecting the virtues of anyone… other than perhaps Delta Dental. But then, for a Dallas County Dental Society official to favor a sleazy discount dentistry broker like Delta over an ADA member is even more repulsive to dentists than the bureaucrat’s incompetence. And if fear of the FTC becomes the DCDS official’s rationalization for aggression, how can the Kansas Dental Association get away with keeping their hands off of my art while clumsy bozos in Dallas can’t?

    One or more rude DCDS officials are simply naïve about social networks and now they’ve allowed their ignorance to publicly trap them. The embarrassment for their Dallas County Dental Society is multiplied because a leader chose anonymity in order to hide from personal accountability.

    If DCDS officials continue to act stupid and ignore my demand for an apology, I’ll simply spank the shy good ol’ boys whenever it pleases me to do so. What are they going to do about it? Turn me in to the TDA Council on Ethics for unprofessional conduct? Yea. Right. Take a number, Dallas.

    So now do you see why the ADA won’t open the ADA Facebook? I guarantee you the leaders know who I am, and they know I’m right here – waiting to bust them just like I just busted the bozos in the Dallas County Dental Society.

    D. Kellus Pruitt DDS


  24. Social networks and breakables

    The ADA Facebook has over 7,000 fans waiting. Anyone know anybody who knows when the ADA Facebook will open? Personally, I think it is wrong to treat those with an interest in the ADA with arrogant disrespect – I don’t care who you are. When the ADA Facebook opens, I wonder if it will lean heavily on censorship to shield ADA leaders from difficult but important questions they currently evade.


    This afternoon, my son and I saw Social Network. It’s (loosely) based on Facebook co-creator Mark Zuckerberg and his Harvard friends. I recognized similarities in the story to my own Internet struggle with a few shy ADA leaders in the Communications Department. Zuckerberg’s Facebook brings transparency to the college campus dating scene. My Facebook brings personal accountability to those who I invite to be my friends – but for less profit.

    “Zuckerberg ‘clearly thinks of himself as a hacker’ and says hacking isn’t about ‘breaking and entering,’ it’s about ‘being unafraid to break things in order to make them better.’” Wikipedia

    D. Kellus Pruitt DDS


  25. TDA Director of Member Services’ mistake – one year after

    From time to time, everyone should search their own name to find out if bad news is sneaking up on them. I just searched “Darrell Pruitt DDS” on Google. The first hit is my DR.Oogle link. The second hit is “Lee Ann Johnson kicks D. Kellus Pruitt DDS off of TDA Facebook” – an article I posted on Pruitt’s Platform on October 1, 2009.


    Ms. Johnson wrote:

    Dear Dr. Pruitt,

    You may have already received this from Facebook, but TDA has recently been informed of your numerous abuse reports by group members. In order to continue the TDA Facebook group, we must abide by the Facebook Terms of Use and Statement of Rights and Responsibilities.

    TDA believes that your inflammatory comments on the NPI number and BCBTX and your drawing contest posts are in direct violation with these terms.

    Facebook Statement of Rights and Responsibilities
    3. Safety

    • Section 6. You will not bully, intimidate, or harass any user.

    • Section 7. You will not post content that is hateful, threatening, pornographic, or that contains nudity or graphic or gratuitous violence.

    • Section 9. You will not offer any contest, giveaway, or sweepstakes (“promotion”) on Facebook without our prior written consent. If we consent, you take full responsibility for the promotion, and will follow our Promotions Guidelines and all applicable laws.

    • Section 10. You will not use Facebook to do anything unlawful, misleading, malicious, or discriminatory.

    Lee Ann Johnson

    Director of Member Services & Administration

    Texas Dental Association


    I responded:

    “You may have already received this from Facebook, but TDA has recently been informed of your numerous abuse reports by group members.”

    – No, I have not heard a single complaint from Facebook or anyone else, Ms. Johnson. I know that secretly, this news doesn’t surprise you, but some ADA members actually think the portrait idea is a creative and fun way to trigger improvement of TDA members’ involvement in organized dentistry. And don’t look now, Ms. Johnson, but it’s pretty obvious that unless you have some fresh and clever ideas up your sleeve that are Facebook ready, my portrait game sure beats the hell out of everything your creative crew has come up with so far. Or does the TDA prefer to have a Facebook where nothing moves? That would be a terrible waste of dues. Perhaps the TDA should follow BCBSTX’s lead and close the Facebook completely. The TDA could be the second bureaucracy I’ve driven off of Facebook. I could become a menace. I wouldn’t have put so much time into IMPROVING the TDA’s Facebook if I knew it was all going to be deleted in less than a second. That was rude.

    It is not hard to recognize that the potential for membership involvement through social networks is exactly what at least one TDA leader fears more than anything else. What a bozo idea it was for the TDA to get involved with Facebook! What were they thinking?

    How important is the quality of credibility to the new ADA President, Dr. Ron Tankersley? He only mentioned the word four times in four consecutive sentences in his interview by ADA reporter Judy Jakush less than a month ago. It looks to me like this tantrum the TDA is pulling is a huge sacrifice of credibility, just to continue to evade discussion about BCBSTX and the NPI number. This level of courage from dentistry’s leaders can’t be good for the welfare of dental patients in Texas.

    “In order to continue the TDA Facebook group, we must abide by the Facebook Terms of Use and Statement of Rights and Responsibilities.”

    That sounds exactly like the “whoosh!” of a TDA employee sidestepping accountability to a TDA member.

    “TDA believes that your inflammatory comments on the NPI number and BCBTX and your drawing contest posts are in direct violation with these terms.”

    Once again, Ms. Johnson, I ask you to show me proof of this. Otherwise, I must ask you to never mention these rumors again. If TDA members should ask you why D. Kellus Pruitt DDS is blocked from Facebook, you will have to say something like, “I am sorry, but I am not allowed to share that information with you.”

    Good luck with that. It’s the kind of thing that eats at organizations from the inside. It’s demoralizing to have to protect the reputation of one’s boss with one’s own.

    I can tell that you are probably unaware that for over three years I have tried to get the attention of the ADA on all three levels to discuss the NPI number and BCBSTX’s unfair business practices. Please tell your boss to meet me anywhere on the Internet so that we can solve the credibility problem which the TDA is experiencing. There’s a portrait and a crisp $1 bill in it for him or her. (Please, no phone calls).

    Even if you never respond, Lee Ann Johnson, I’ll be difficult for you to ignore for a while. Watch Google.

    Sincerely, D. Kellus Pruitt DDS

    It’s been over a year, yet I imagine that if one searches “LeeAnn Johnson,” my criticism of her work ethics pops up on her first page. After sending me a list of a dozen or so accusations, the TDA employee ignored numerous requests for evidence behind the reasons she gave for kicking me off of the TDA Facebook. That’s just not good enough in the land of the free.

    The TDA employee’s lack of a response to my request clearly shows that I have been wrongfully deprived of the TDA benefit for over a year, and have not yet been compensated for the loss. As anyone can imagine, depriving me of all people of that particular TDA benefit will be costly because it was worth a lot to me.

    I’m especially looking forward to seeing her evidence that I posted content that is pornographic or contains nudity.

    D. Kellus Pruitt DDS


  26. From: Better Business Bureau (Do Not Reply To This Email Address) [mailto:austin.nlq@bureaudata.com]
    Sent: Friday, November 05, 2010 2:05 PM
    To: Dr Darrell Pruitt
    Subject: BBB Complaint Case#90189714(Ref#49-90020165-90189714-3-210)

    Complaint ID#: 90189714
    Business Name: Texas Dental Association

    Thank you for contacting the Better Business Bureau. Your complaint was received by the Bureau on November 5, 2010 and has been assigned case# {\b 90189714} in our files. Please make a note of this number for future reference.

    Your complaint has been applied to the following business:
    {\b Texas Dental Association}
    1946 S IH 35 # 400
    Austin, TX 78704-3644

    The case has been reviewed and forwarded to the business with a request for their prompt response. This service is offered at no cost to the public. Please remember that copies of your future correspondence will be sent to the company as well.

    We encourage you to use our ONLINE COMPLAINT system to keep up with the progress of this complaint. The URL (website address) below will take you directly to this complaint on our website:

    {\b http://austin.app.bbb.org/complaint/view/90189714/c/p4ew6l}

    Thank you for using the free services of the Better Business Bureau.


    Nicole Quarnstrom
    Dispute Resolution Specialist


  27. Want in on the joke? Can you keep a secret?

    Like most sports fans, you probably enjoy a good practical joke, and I bet there are at least one or two TDA employees who will snicker as well.

    For this to work, everyone has to cooperate, and I want to let you, @theTDA, in on it as well. It involves Roy, Mary Kay and Matt.

    Here’s the set up. For the last week, I’ve been emailing them copies of everything I posted .. until yesterday.

    I didn’t get the notice that the Better Business Bureau accepted my claim against the TDA as worthy of investigation until Friday afternoon.

    Lots of dentists and executive directors cut out early on Fridays … You know where I’m going with this, don’t you?

    I bet I know one to three TDA leaders who are unaware of the complaint with the BBB. Here’s the payoff: One or more could be the last to know.

    I say someone’s in for a surprise on Monday morning. No rat finks!

    This Medical Executive-Post published Austin BBB’s email to me. Warning: If you click the link, it will increase the visibility of the comment.


    Since I shared the case number with probably not more than a couple of dozen readers – anyone interested in the claim can follow it now.

    That’s what I call transparency. Way to go, Austin Better Business Bureau!

    Darrell K. Pruitt DDS


  28. My negotiations with the TDA continue

    “You will not participate in electronic media information or discussion groups involving organized dentistry.” Probation term number 4, TDA Council on Ethics and Judicial Affairs, October 27, 2010.

    I could have remained an ADA member had I agreed to Roy’s terms, but I would have forfeited my right to say, “Roy, I told you so.” I’m not about to risk that TDA benefit.

    I doubt the Chair of the Council will yet admit it, but he and I are still in negotiations over my future TDA membership. Contrary to ADA-approved opinion, nothing has been agreed upon and nothing has been signed.

    Roy’s latest offer included my admission of guilt to undefined accusations, plus probation. Even Roy knows his prideful offer was unrealistic to the point of insulting. And even though he confidently stepped away from the table as if the deal was done, both Roy and the TDA Executive Director know that this is far from over. For example, if Roy or Mary Kay is asked, “Why was this TDA member of 28 years kicked out?” What can they possibly say?

    Unless they reveal to others why I was kicked out on multiple charges of unethical behavior without first showing the evidence to me, I don’t think Roy’s explanation “Dr. Pruitt is unethical because he calls others names” is even likely to satisfy idiots.

    While it’s on my mind, Roy, if the reimbursement check that the TDA will ultimately decide to send me says that by endorsing the check, I forfeit any rights to further reimbursements from the TDA – I simply won’t sign it, and I’ll return to the Austin Better Business Bureau to explain why. So let’s not waste BBB’s time with worn out childish tricks. Just pay me the $200 for the rest of the year’s membership – no strings attached. We’ll work out what you owe me for depriving of the TDA Facebook later.

    D. Kellus Pruitt DDS


  29. Dentistry still awaits the ADA Facebook Grand Opening

    If you recall, two days ago, I e-blasted questions concerning the Grand Opening of the ADA Facebook to numerous state dental association Facebooks. Yesterday I shared the only response which was from an anonymous person at the Michigan Dental Association who told me, “To our knowledge the ADA is exploring its future use of all social media channels within the context of its committee structure.” I then asked MDA if he or she wouldn’t mind telling me more.

    This morning she replied: “No problem. It is our understanding that that’s where they’re at. We haven’t seen anything official, other than what has been in the ADA news and e-mail alerts during the past months.”

    Minutes later, I followed up with a logical question: “I sincerely appreciate the responses, MDA. What do you mean when you say social media will be used “within the context of committee structure”? Are there examples of this kind of structure on Facebook we can see?”

    According to my experiences investigating the mysterious two year (?) delay in the opening ADA Facebook, it has been at this point that the rare, anonymous employee of state or local dental associations who responds, completely stops replying. So I’ll be really impressed if MDA has the courage to attempt to explain her disingenuous talking point.

    If you didn’t recognize it, “within the context of committee structure” is nothing but a cheap string of official-sounding, indisputable traditional buzzwords intended not to inform, but to mummify the conversation. The question is, did the old-school trick begin in Okemos, Michigan or Chicago, Illinois?

    For those who are following, this could be as far as this penetration into the MDA goes. I can also tell you from experience that if I press my questions about the ADA Facebook – even politely – an anonymous leader in the Michigan Dental Association will first block me from the MDA Facebook and then secretly report me to the American Dental Association for “unprofessional conduct.” It’s happened more than once. If you weren’t aware, this is the “dignified and honorable” way the ADA marginalizes critical thought in favor of committee-thought. And this is why the ADA will forever be a slow-moving, cold-blooded dinosaur – clumsily tripping all over itself.

    D. Kellus Pruitt DDS


  30. Bringing Arizona and New York State in on the search for the ADA Facebook

    The undermining effects of siege transparency on secretive, command-and-control fortifications are cumulative and irreparable. Inevitably, hollow, porous walls crumble – exposing weak leaders in compromised situations, and usually trying to blame others to save their own skin. Meanwhile, the formerly oppressed benefit from previously inaccessible knowledge. It happens every time improved communications bring an end to the dark ages and heads roll.

    With the help of a few sports fans, some of whom have been hanging around for years, I think it is time to blow wide open the mystery concerning the ADA’s Facebook committee, which has been spending members’ dues and accepting fans for years, but hasn’t shared a thing with anyone. Rude behavior like that just isn’t defendable. The deeper I get into this Internet adventure, the more fun it becomes to pull anonymous good ol’ boys out into the middle of the wide open spaces they resist.

    Vetted ADA officials’ reticence with ADA members is no longer acceptable – even if frightened loyalists like to call it “professionalism.” If leaders are to be relevant to the future of dentistry, they must be part of the community. To help remind thinking adults of this indisputable truth that is forgotten every few hundred years or so, I posted the following challenge to the Arizona Dental Association and the New York State Dental Association. Nobody in either of these organizations responded to my question about the ADA Facebook I sent them on Monday. Shame on ADA leaders in Arizona and New York State. That’s unacceptable.


    For those who are interested, here’s an update to Monday’s question concerning the long-awaited Grand Opening of the ADA Facebook. Yesterday, someone with the Michigan Dental Association offered, “To our knowledge the ADA is exploring its future use of all social media channels within the context of its committee structure. More to come on this in 2011!”

    Naturally, I requested more information and this morning he or she replied: “No problem. It is our understanding that that’s where they’re at. We haven’t seen anything official, other than what has been in the ADA news and e-mail alerts during the past months.”

    I thanked the anonymous MDA employee and responded with the logical follow-up: “What do you mean when you say social media will be used ‘within the context of committee structure’? Are there examples of this kind of structure on Facebook we can see?”

    So that’s where the mystery stands for now. I’d like to again thank the Michigan Dental Association for already being more responsive to this ADA member than ADA leaders in Chicago have ever been concerning the Facebook. Don’t you also wish our professional organization was more transparent with membership so we wouldn’t have to count on state organizations for information that Chicago Headquarters should be providing us without having to be pressured?

    When the anonymous MDA employee gets back to me, I’ll let you know what “within the context of the ADA committee structure” means to over 8000 waiting ADA fans. If anyone else can contribute anything better than what I suspect is a meaningless committee-approved talking point, it’s much better for the interests of the nation’s dental patients if the ADA has the support and trust of an informed membership.

    In the meantime, what do you think the MDA employee meant?

    D. Kellus Pruitt DDS


  31. Michigan Dental Association replies again to ADA Facebook question

    “We apologize for any confusion. It is our understanding that the ADA is looking at how it will eventually use social media via an IT/Communications Council within the ADA. The group of member dentists is looking at the platforms available, and which will match its current and future communication needs. The governance process does take some time to work through, but they are doing their due diligence so in the end they’ll end up on the right platforms, with the right message in tow.”


    Here is my response:

    What I feared was just another dead end in my search for answers about the ADA Facebook, turned enlightening this morning. I want to thank you for expounding on “within the context of the ADA’s committee structure,” and sharing with me and others what you have been told about the mysterious, long anticipated Facebook. I’ve been asking the ADA about it for over a year without success, yet within a few days, you quickly provided the most information I’ve come across.

    These are exciting times of numerous choices in social network platforms that offer easy and cheap communications for organizations. As happens when technological advancements suddenly break out, the first details always stir hope from consumers, as well as more questions. As you can see, the natural transparency of informal discussions like you and I are having right now is what makes social media like Facebook a logical solution for convenient member inclusion in ADA policy decisions.

    This is why I don’t understand what the member dentists on the ADA IT/Communications Council are trying to accomplish according to what you shared with us this morning. Every point you mentioned is counter to what everyone knows about social media’s transparent, two-way communications – including “The governance process does take some time to work through…” and “… with the right message in tow.” It sounds to me like you are describing a tightly controlled Website, not a Facebook.

    If you are unable to provide an example of a Facebook that the Communications Council is modeling the ADA Facebook on, can you share the names of any of the member dentists who are involved in the design? I’d like to know more about their plans for including membership and the public (dental patients) in ADA conversations. I happen to be fairly active on dental industry Facebooks, so I’ll probably recognize their names if they have any presence on Facebook at all. I’ll even extend my hand and invite each of them to be my friend. We can probably help each other in our goals, and perhaps even design a more relevant product for modern consumers. Thanks.

    Darrell K. Pruitt DDS


  32. The ADA’s favorite technologies in dentistry
    [When appropriate, modern technology suits ADA officials just swell]

    This question has been asked more than once by people other than me: Why are nameless ADA officials fervently biased in favor of paperless practices for ADA members, yet the professional organization cannot successfully open a Facebook? By the way, ADA Communications Team, there are now 8,499 fans waiting on the ADA Facebook to do something other than keep count of waiting fans.

    Why does the ADA persuade trusting members to share their proprietary business information, including clueless patients’ unencrypted PHI, with virtually everyone through interoperable eHRs? Yet ADA leaders still carry on business using certified letters and phone calls instead of emails – if they respond to members at all? That’s simply not consistent. Why the anonymity and secrecy? The ADA is about oral health, not national security.

    When one considers the bankruptcy-level liability of ever increasing data breaches of unencrypted patient information from ADA members’ dental offices, it’s hard to imagine what motivates ADA leaders to continue to encourage dues-paying members to convert from safe, cheap and effective paper records to slippery electronic health records that have yet to show a return on investment for dentists, or an improvement of quality of care for even hospital patients – much less dental patients.

    So what is behind the ADA’s questionable marketing of eHRs? Considering the 20 billion dollars of our grandchildren’s money that has been offered to HIT stakeholders like the ADA’s Department of Informatics, I suspect it’s the traditional bureaucratic temptations of power and money. What else could it be? From dentists’ and their patients’ perspective, the ADA is just another healthcare stakeholder on the sidelines doing what not-for-profit bureaucracies like to do – grow, grow, grow. We are watching the ADA elbow its way in to get at the ARRA Stimulus funds and regulatory power that is being given away in Washington DC to those who have lobbyists who know what to ask for. Since sales of eHRs are not consumer-driven anywhere in the US, eDRs and interoperability between dentists is a fragile, mandated bubble.


    An ADA excuse-me article titled, “Upcoming standards meetings to eye electronic health records, imaging and dental products” (no byline) was posted on ADA News this week.


    I think this excerpt from the press release tells the story:

    “The ADA has been named Secretariat of the Dental Domain of Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise—a nonprofit health informatics standards organization, which will hold its kickoff meeting at 1 p.m. on Feb 22.

    The goal of the IHE is to accelerate the adoption of electronic health records by improving the real world functionality, usability and exchange of digital information among health care systems. At this meeting, the planning and technical committees will be established and discussions will begin concerning development of IHE profiles for dentistry. All imaging and practice management vendors, as well as EHR system and other digital technology providers and users, are invited to attend.”

    Considering the undeniable but never mentioned downsides of eDRs, one could argue that the ADA’s promotion of health information technology through advertisements like this one of unknown authorship is counter to not only the ADA mission, but also the Hippocratic Oath. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to discuss ethical issues like this with ADA President Dr. Raymond Gist on Facebook? What’s he waiting for? The questions I bring will never be easier to discuss than right now.

    D. Kellus Pruitt DDS


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