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An Open Letter to the TDA Council on Ethics

And … Judicial Affairs

By Darrell K. Pruitt DDS

Dear Dr. Roy N. Burk – Chairman

In your email to me on Thursday, you informed me that you would call my office this week at your convenience to discuss the as yet to be defined complaints about my “unprofessional conduct” from unnamed origins – some of which are rumored to be as old as three years. Also in your reply that was days late, you confirmed my suspicion that you rarely check your email (even though you provided your address). That is why I asked the manager of the TDA Twitter account to send you the message not to call my office. I’ve given her another message today to tell you to check you email. You said you prefer to have a phone conversation with me. However, I naturally decline because of obvious reasons such as inconvenience, misinterpretations and limited exchange of information.

Foundation of our Nation

The foundation of our nation was defined in carefully chosen words written by Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Paine and others. You have to admit that writing is a much more meaningful and efficient way to resolve the TDA’s mistake than with a 5 minute phone conversation. In addition, by working out our misunderstanding in meaningful sentences that can be viewed by all, both of us are much less likely to say something we might regret if our conversation gets heated… which it will. After all, you threatened my reputation in my community, Dr. Roy Burk. And for that reason, I intend to hold you personally accountable in your community if Judicial Case No. 12-2010-3 is not dismissed. Fair is fair.

Let’s Talk 

Things said in anger help nobody, and can be completely avoided with the written word. In short, there is no reason for either our phone conversation or the meeting you have planned for me on September 18. We can all do something else on that Saturday rather than waste the morning in an Omni Fort Worth hotel room. That is, if you are more interested in resolution than punishment. So let’s negotiate this mistake quickly and quietly, but in a transparent manner, Dr. Burk. As Dr. David May said (but did not mean) when he took over as TDA President in 2007, “Let’s talk.”

TDA Censorship? 

The issue at hand is clearly TDA censorship for political reasons rather than “unprofessionalism.” Trust me when I tell you that nobody who is following us is fooled by the kangaroo court you propose. Considering the recent NLRB decision against the TDA for mistreating employees, the TDA is no longer considered an ethically run organization by many. That means your credibility is shot from the beginning. This week, Jan Jarvis, whom I’m sharing this email with, published “Fort Worth medical clinic spends $15,000 notifying patients of theft” in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.”

http://www.star-telegram.com/2010/08/06/2389717/fort-worth-medical-clinic-spends.html#ixzz0wIaU5AQa

My Community 

This is my community. Some of my patients are (or rather were) also patients of the local allergy clinic where computers containing 25,000 patients’ PHI were stolen in a burglary. In the end, the data breach will cost the clinic hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost customers because of the bad publicity, in addition to possible HIPAA fines and perhaps a lawsuit from Texas Attorney General Gregg Abbott. Yet, the TDA has still failed to warn members of the liability of their computers. There is simply no excuse for the TDA’s neglect, and punishing me for revealing the truth will not help anyone, and it aggravates me. That said, please allow me to show you exactly how the TDA’s censorship is hurting dentists as well as endangering their patients in Texas – even as we speak: One year ago today, I posted the following article concerning the liabilities of data breaches on the TDA’s Facebook. It is one of many cautionary articles I contributed about data breaches, electronic dental records and HIPAA. However, the TDA as well as the ADA has ignored the exploding identity theft problem because of undisclosed allegiances to entities other than dentists and patients. The behavior of my professional organization is counter to the Hippocratic Oath and indefensible.

In October, an unnamed person in the TDA determined that TDA members should be prevented from reading the following information.

TDA Facebook, August 11, 2009

HITECH/HIPAA Breach notification

On August 18, American dentists will hear from HHS that HITECH-empowered HIPAA now requires that patients be notified if a breach includes their identifiers. Most will be surprised to learn that the notification requirement is nothing new. The law has been there for years. Besides the law, everyone has to admit that notifying those whose welfare is at risk is the only ethical thing to do, even if it bankrupts a practice. And that is the problem. Breach notification will bankrupt a dental practice. The law has been around for years. It simply never was enforced by either HHS or CMS because it would be so devastating to small medical and dental practices. I assume that the shoddy enforcement is why the ADA did not see a need to distribute discouraging information about the HIPAA requirement. For some reason, the ADA supported the adoption of HIPAA. Some day we’ll know why.  This is not the first time I’ve brought up the breach notification topic on a TDA publication. At the first of 2007, the TDA ventured into the blogosphere with “Ask a Colleague” Forum as part of the TDA’s Website. I began to take over the forum with a contribution posted on January 13, 2008 which I copied below. It is a snail-mail letter I received from President-elect Dr. John S. Findley, describing for the only time in ADA history, the ADA’s Data Breach protocol.

ADA Resources? 

As you can see from the hard work put into the letter, it took a considerable amount of ADA dues to produce this response for only one ADA member. Nevertheless, my question was not taken lightly because they probably assumed it would show up again. And, they were correct. Even though the leaders failed to share it with other ADA members, before it was forgotten, it was cc’d to

  • Dr. S. Jerry Long, trustee, Fifteenth District
  • Dr. James Bramson, executive director
  • Ms. Mary Logan, chief operative officer
  • Ms. Tamra Kempf, chief legal counsel
  • Ms. Mary Kay Linn, executive director, Texas Dental Association

Two and a half years later, Findley’s letter is current enough to be posted with only minor changes. For example, Dr. James Bramson and Ms. Mary Logan no longer work for the ADA.

One more note about Dr. Findley’s response to my question, I did not misrepresent myself in my email to him that I had a computer stolen. He knew from six months earlier when I first emailed him my question that it was a hypothetical question about an obscure topic that ADA leaders did not want to talk about.

Posted: 13 Jan 2008 10:05 AM on the TDA.org Forum

Data breach protocol announced

On January 8th, Dr. John S. Findley, President-elect of the American Dental Association, signed the letter below which defines a data breach, describes a dentist’s obligation under the law in Texas to notify patients involved and the penalty for failing to do so. This is the first time this information has been made available to dentists anywhere in the nation in the 12 years of the HIPAA rule. Dr. Findley and his team are to be congratulated for working through an arduous and unpopular task. It demanded courage.

Darrell

ADA

American Dental Association

http://www.ada.org

John S. Findley, D. D. S. President-Elect

January 8, 2008

Dr. Darrell Pruitt

6737 Brentwood Stair Rd., Ste. 220

Fort Worth, Texas 76112-3337

Dear Doctor Pruitt:

I received your email of December 26th and regret to learn of the loss of your computer. I did inquire as to appropriate procedures upon the occurrence of such an event and am copying below an excerpt from the response of out legal department. “It appears that under these circumstances the dentist may wish to notify affected patients that their information may have been compromised so that they can take necessary steps to protect themselves (i.e. cancel credit cards, notify social security about potentially stolen social security numbers…). (This communication is informational and personal consultation between the dentist and his or her attorney is recommended.) They should also check their state breach notification laws to determine if there is anything else that is required. In this case, the Texas Identity Theft Enforcement and Protection Act (Texas Code Sec. 48 et seq) (the “Act”) covers data breach notification. The Act protects both “Personal Identifying Information,” which is defined as any information that alone, or in conjunction with other information, can be used to identify an individual and an individual’s:

A) name, social security number, date of birth, or government-issued identification number;

B) mother’s maiden name;

C) unique biometric data, including the individual’s fingerprint, voice print, and retina or iris image;

D) unique electronic identification number, address, or routing code; and

E) telecommunication access device.

The Act also protects “Sensitive Personal Information,” which is defined as an individual’s first name or first initial and last name in combination with any one or more of the following items, if the name and the items are not encrypted:

i) social security number;

ii) driver’s license number or government-issued identification number; or

iii) account number or credit or debit card number in combination with any required security code, access code, or password that would permit access to an individual’s financial account.

Sec. 48.102 of the Act creates a duty for businesses to protect and safeguard information through creating and implementing procedures for such purpose. If there is a breach in the security of information, the Act requires a business that maintains ‘Sensitive Personal Information” to notify the owners of such information as soon as possible that a breach has occurred. The Act specifies one of the following modes of notice to be provided:

1) written notice;

2) electronic notice, if the notice is provided in accordance with 15 U.S.C. Section 7001 (which basically requires that a consumer must consent to receiving such notice in electronic form); or

3) notice as provided by Subsection (f) (see below).

(f) If the person or business demonstrates that the cost of providing notice would exceed $250,000, the number of affected persons exceeds 500,000, or the person does not have sufficient contact information, the notice may be given by:

1) electronic mail, if the person has an electronic mail address for the affected persons;

2) conspicuous posting of the notice on the person’s website; or

3) notice published in or broadcast on major statewide media.

Violations

“A person who violates the Act is liable to the state for a civil penalty of at least $2,000 but not more than $50,000 for each violation.” The information pertaining to your question was found in the Identity Theft Enforcement and Protection Act, Chapter 48 of the Business and Commerce Act of Texas.

We hope this information helps.

Sincerely,

John S. Findley, D.D.S.

President-elect

JSF:cac

cc: Dr. S. Jerry Long, trustee, Fifteenth District

  • Dr. James Bramson, executive director
  • Ms. Mary Logan, chief operative officer
  • Ms. Tamra Kempf, chief legal counsel
  • Ms. Mary Kay Linn, executive director, Texas Dental Association

Assessment

Dr. Findley’s letter to me was also deleted from the now closed TDA.org Forum.  The TDA’s actions are a lot like burning books, Dr. Roy Burk.

Conclusion

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37 Responses

  1. Approaching conversation with Dr. Roy Burk

    I emailed the following note today.

    ________________________________________
    From: pruittdarrell [mailto:pruittdarrell@sbcglobal.net]
    Sent: Friday, August 20, 2010 11:27 AM
    To: Roy Burk

    Subject: I cannot make September meeting

    Dear Dr. Roy Burk, Chair of the TDA Council on Ethics and Judicial Affairs,

    I regret to inform you that due to circumstances beyond my control, I will not be able to attend the meeting scheduled for September 18 in the Omni Fort Worth hotel.

    D. Kellus Pruitt DDS

    But will Roy read my email? He should. It’s his Council on trial, not Darrell.

    We already know that by his own admission, the man who would judge my professionalism on the Internet rarely checks his email. So how do I know he got the message that I will not be walking into that Fort Worth hotel room on September 18?

    First of all, I think the chances are good that he recently started checking his email more often than he did a few weeks ago – possibly several times a day. He may even be following what I post on Texas Dentists Facebook and the Medical Executive-Post. I argue that until my case is dropped, Dr. Burk and every member of his Council are fools if they are not following me. How effective will they be at resolving real problems with ethics in dentistry – ethics that actually involve patient care – if they allow the Council to be hijacked for political reasons? I’m not the one on trial here.

    But for argument’s sake, let’s assume that nothing has changed, and Roy remains intentionally oblivious. Though it could be entertaining, it just wouldn’t be fair for me to allow him to be the only member of the Council on Ethics to be surprised when I don’t show up. So once again, I used my connection with @theTDA to warn Dr. Burk to expect the email from me just in case his old habits haven’t changed.

    I’d like to express my appreciation of @theTDA. Whoever it is that monitors the ADA Twitter account proved that I could depend on her when I asked her to tell Roy not to call my office like he intended. I’m pleased to announce that he never once tried to call me. I sincerely appreciate the help, @theTDA. It’s unfortunate that your boss forced you into the stressful middle of the mess she caused because of prideful vengeance. I too am hoping this will all be over soon.

    So let’s assume that one way or another, Dr. Burk has been informed that I won’t be able to attend the waterboard party. Societal norms would indicate it’s now Dr. Burk’s turn to respond to me… or not. Let’s look at his options.

    If he chooses not to respond at all, will the dentist also try to look surprised when I don’t show up? He’s a smart man. I’m sure it’s occurred to him that disregarding my schedule isn’t possible. So how will he respond? How would you respond if you wanted to evade a meaningful conversation that might lead to actual resolution of the problem – including an apology from the TDA?

    I predict his next move is to acknowledge my schedule conflict and nothing more in an email – but not directly. I think his message will come in the form of another official PDF featuring the very same stamped signature of his they keep on file in Austin. I would hope Roy has learned enough about modern communications and e-Discovery not to waste TDA cash as well as interrupt TDA staff and my staff with certified letters. If so, I’d call that a small victory.

    I figure Roy will still try to keep me at arm’s length by responding with something like, “Please contact (a TDA employee) to reschedule.” What else can he do? However, at this stage of our relationship it really doesn’t make much difference what he orders me to do. The instant he responds, he completes our circuit of communication and levels the playing field.

    Roy is a dentist from Littlefield and I’m a dentist from Fort Worth – nothing more. And we are on the verge of conversation.

    D. Kellus Pruitt DDS

    ____________________

    Dr. Burk closes the circuit and the lights come on!
    ________________________________________
    From: pruittdarrell [mailto:pruittdarrell@sbcglobal.net]
    Sent: Friday, August 20, 2010 4:44 PM
    To: Roy
    Subject: RE: I cannot make September meeting

    Thanks for responding, Dr. Burk. You and I are making progress. You’ll see that emails are much better than not talking at all. I’ll be in touch with you with questions about our meeting even before you find that alternative date; probably tomorrow.

    Darrell
    ________________________________________
    From: Roy
    Sent: Friday, August 20, 2010 4:24 PM
    To: pruittdarrell
    Subject: Re: I cannot make September meeting

    Dear Dr. Pruitt,

    Thank you for your e-mail regarding the informal conference set for September 18. That’s very understandable. We will search for an alternative date and be in touch with you.

    Roy Burk

    Like

  2. Dear Dr. Burk:

    I’m happy you agreed to discuss the TDA’s politically-driven blunder with me. Your extension of your hand in friendship improves our chances of a relatively painless and quick resolution of my problems with you personally, Roy. And on a wider scale, your admission of the Council’s mistake will set the precedent for new values and ethics in the way the TDA will be run from now on. Say good morning to transparency.

    It’s the TDA on trial. Not me.

    This is from your August 3 certified letter that my office manager signed for days later: “It has been alleged that you may have engaged in unprofessional conduct regarding your communications to and about the TDA and/or the TDA staff.” I found it curious that you would write “and/or TDA staff.” You mean, before accusing a dentist in Fort Worth of “unprofessional conduct” – including communications “about the TDA” (?) – a dentist in Littlefield, Texas didn’t even bother to find out the origin of the accusaitons? Why that’s unethical, Roy.

    Since you aren’t active on the Internet, I’d say that makes you a poorly equipped judge of anyone’s professionalism on Facebook. In addition, you are missing the news that an increasing number of TDA members expect TDA leaders to accept ownership of mistakes that have been piling up for years. The tipping point to accountability occurred earlier this summer when the National Labor Review Board found the TDA guilty of treating employees unfairly. The poor ethics of the TDA brought you and I shame on a national level. Incredibly, the importance of the ruling as well as the $900,000 penalty was downplayed to membership by TDA President Dr. Ronald L. Rhea in a letter he mailed shortly afterward.

    Don’t you see? It stands to follow that when TDA members are punished for “talking about the TDA,” crap like this happens.

    So this is the question, Roy: Do you really want to prosecute me for nurtured, petty complaints of “unprofessional conduct” against a nationwide background of TDA malfeasance? Let me offer the TDA a way out of this mess before it gets even worse.

    Admitting mistakes might as well start with Judicial Case No. 12-2010-3. After all, I have the most skin in this childish game, and you may be second. So let’s get it over with now and just walk away. I won’t even insist on being shown the complaints. I’m vaguely familiar with everything I’ve written anyway.

    Speaking of mistakes, you were the first to mention attorneys. What was going through your mind when in your certified letter to me, you wrote, “In accordance with the Judicial Manual, neither the Council nor you shall be represented by legal counsel at the informal conference”? Is that really the proper way for one Texan to greet another?

    But perhaps you didn’t write these words. Now that I look closer, your rubber-stamped signature tells me that the letter you used to threaten my reputation in my community was a fill-in-the-blank form letter!

    I should have known. You’re probably a busy man, and automation of routine processes makes it less tricky for you than actually paying attention to the interests of those you affect. The rubber-stamped form letter naturally makes me wonder how many TDA members you routinely accuse of unprofessional conduct each year.

    Seriously, Roy. Do you happen to know the number of complaints that are filed in the TDA? A couple of months ago when I asked the Executive Director the question, she couldn’t give me an answer.

    https://medicalexecutivepost.com/2010/06/18/is-the-texas-dental-association-authoritarian/

    In the event that you still do not agree that the TDA Council on Ethics and Judicial Affairs is being played, and in spite of my warnings, you are prepared to further expose the blunder to an increasing audience that is gathering on the Internet, I expect you to immediately share the evidence I will viciously defend my reputation against. This is the third time I’ve requested this information from you, Roy.

    Darrell K. Pruitt DDS

    Like

  3. The TDA could stand some lessons in citizenship from Panhandle and Littlefield

    Dear Dr. Burk:

    I assume citizens in all West Texas towns are much more likely to quickly resolve their differences instead of running immediately to the courthouse like they do in big cities – like Austin, home of the TDA.

    Since it’s the weekend, I certainly understand why you haven’t yet responded to the email I sent you yesterday. For all I know, you may be obligated to await committee approval from Austin before you are allowed to reply to me. That could take weeks. I won’t wait on your slow-moving buddies. It’s my reputation at stake (as well as yours). That means that it is in our best interest to move on through this head-on and as quickly as possible like reasonable adults. No more childish TDA games, Roy. This is serious now – for both of us.

    During stressful times in life, I’ve found it’s often helpful to return to simple, straightforward systems I learned long ago before things became so complicated with insensitive, self-serving bureaucracies. Since Littlefield is similar to the small West Texas town of Panhandle, where I was raised, I’ll carry on as if you and I are having a man-to-man conversation in front of the Post Office.

    Panhandle, located 25 miles northeast of Amarillo, has 2000 people who cannot avoid running into each other every now and then. With more than a century of fine-tuning skills at conflict resolution, Panhandle has developed an amazing capacity for openness and tolerance of even those who are intolerant. I sadly remind you that Panhandle has experienced far fewer suicides recently than the TDA – where image is still pathologically over-rated.

    After living most of my adult life in larger cities in Texas, I would say that as a general rule, in West Texas, everyone gets along in a much more civil manner than anonymous people do in big, important cities such as Austin, home of TDA Headquarters.

    While contemplating the TDA’s recent $900,000 scrape with the National Labor Relations Board, an idea just occurred to me: How much better would TDA officials, staff and dues-paying members get along if they were likely to run into each other at the grocery store after work? Being from Littlefield, can you imagine what that would do to the scourge of anonymity in our professional organization? Knowing what I do about the nature of gossip in small West Texas towns, anyone who would attempt to hold themselves unaccountable through anonymity might as well wear a huge red bull’s eye. People talk about other people, and dentists are going to talk about the TDA regardless of the TDA’s lame gag rules you call “professionalism”. That’s transparency and it is good.

    Here’s another difference between Panhandle and the TDA: TDA officials spend members’ dues to rent hotel rooms in order to punish dentists who post politically incorrect statements on the TDA Facebook – statements which a TDA committee protects common members from reading, even though they all have post-graduate degrees. That’s beyond unethical, Roy. That’s tyranny. I’d be really interested in your defense of it.

    On the other hand, I’ve actually witnessed Panhandle’s city officials take part in the discussions on Facebook with people who have never been to college! Can you believe that? Of course you can. Since you’re from Littlefield, you know exactly the point I’m trying to drive home. Ethics is not a buzzword that can be manipulated by TDA good ol’ boys to match a convenient ideology. Ethics is always about people.

    Here’s the energy-saving payoff for Panhandle’s transparency: Instead of wasting effort and taxpayer money to censor Panhandle citizens for speaking honestly about Panhandle’s faults, city officials actually resolve problems quickly and cheaply – long before they even make it to City Hall, and long before an embarrassment becomes significant enough to mention in the Panhandle Progress.

    Panhandle citizens never have to go out of their way to defend their reputations in the community against secret charges from unknown people, because it just doesn’t happen. How about in Littlefield? Of course not. So why are you ruining the TDA? Is it pride, Roy?

    Let’s get down to business.

    Ever since you abused your position in the TDA to officially threaten my reputation in my community with nasty, rubber-stamped TDA form letters, I don’t mind telling you that you’ve been on my mind a lot. I’d like to change that, and I assume by now you would too.

    A little over a week ago in my email I sent you – one year to the day after I shared with readers of the TDA Facebook former ADA President Dr. John S. Findley’s important and well-written letter to me concerning data breaches and Texas law – I mentioned that deleting such meaningful comments from Facebook for political reasons is as vulgar as burning books. Nobody can argue that my comments are not meaningful, Dr. Burk. So just how vulgar is the TDA?

    Either drop the sham case or show me the evidence you will choke on.

    It’s time to throw out your TDA rule book. It’s obsolete and biased against members as well as harmful to our community. The TDA’s archaic, impersonal way of doing business is just too damn slow and costly to survive regardless of what I do to it. Do you want resolution of your growing problem with me, or would you prefer to sacrifice even more respect in order to shield others in the TDA from personal accountability in the manner many have grown far too fond of?

    I am pushing you especially hard because I don’t want you to forget about me out here on my own – without counsel – hanging on your every word you put in writing.

    It’s your ethics that are on trial, Roy. Can you see that yet?

    Thanks again for endorsing this line of communication.

    Darrell

    Like

  4. I posted this on my Facebook Wall today.

    ——————-

    “Panhandle” makes the Medical Executive Post

    https://medicalexecutivepost.com/2010/08/15/an-open-letter-to-the-tda-council-on-ethics/#comment-8813

    I suspect that most of what I write these days is repetitive and boring to many of my Facebook friends because of the intended purpose of my comments. Skip-reading happens. That’s why I want to point out to my hometown friends that I used Panhandle as an example of an efficient, modern community model that is much more consumer-friendly than the Texas Dental Association – a non-profit organization whose purpose is to represent the interests of dental patients.

    Recently, I watched how my friends from Panhandle not only used Facebook to efficiently resolve a community issue, but did so in a natural, effortless stride without even noticing the modern miracle in complaint resolution. Having experienced the business end of the TDA’s post WWII command-and-control model, I was once again very impressed with my hometown’s progress.

    A TDA official named Dr. Roy Burk, who is a dentist in Littlefield, is probably a very nice guy in a bad position. As the Chair of the TDA Council on Ethics, he has inherited the obligation to pursue what I consider politically-inspired complaints against me because I talked trash about the TDA. This makes the dentist from Littlefield and I adversaries. There is no other way to put it. In my email to Roy yesterday, which you might have missed, here is my introduction: “The TDA could stand some lessons in citizenship from Panhandle and Littlefield.”

    “I assume citizens in all West Texas towns are much more likely to quickly resolve their differences instead of running immediately to the courthouse like they do in big cities – like Austin, home of the TDA.”

    Later in the email to Dr. Burk, after poking fun at the anonymous TDA official whose job it is to protect adults with post-graduate degrees from politically-incorrect statements, I pointed out how Panhandle city officials don’t hide from accountability. They pay attention to all Panhandle residents, not just their favorites.

    “On the other hand, I’ve actually witnessed Panhandle’s city officials take part in the discussions on Facebook with people who have never been to college! Can you believe that? Of course you can. Since you’re from Littlefield, you know exactly the point I’m trying to drive home. Ethics is not a buzzword that can be manipulated by TDA good ol’ boys to match a convenient ideology. Ethics is always about people.

    Here’s the energy-saving payoff for Panhandle’s transparency: Instead of wasting effort and taxpayer money to censor Panhandle citizens for speaking honestly about Panhandle’s faults, city officials actually resolve problems quickly and cheaply – long before they even make it to City Hall, and long before an embarrassment becomes significant enough to mention in the Panhandle Progress.”

    (Yeah. I also put in a plug for Panhandle Progress).

    “Panhandle citizens never have to go out of their way to defend their reputations in the community against secret charges from unknown people, because it just doesn’t happen.”

    That’s not to say that malicious gossip doesn’t occur. It’s just never anonymous and it’s not secret very long. That’s the kind of accountability Austin could use.

    For those who don’t know, Dr. Roy Burk from Littlefield, the Chair of the TDA Council on Ethics, is still pursuing complaints against me for saying unflattering things to and about the TDA .Tell me, Panhandle, how well would a city gag law be accepted? How would you like to be the poor slob who has to enforce it?

    Now then, how would you like to be the son of a bitch given the opportunity to take down the poor slob? Do you see now why I get so excited?

    Darrell

    Like

  5. This morning a Kansas Dental Association official enthusiastically posted a comment on their Website that I “linked” below. She describes the 2010 American Society of Association Executives she’s attending in Los Angeles. Evidently, smart minds in the nation recognize the inevitability of unprecedented personal accountability throughout the American Dental Association. I wonder if Executive Director Mary Kay Linn was in attendance. She could have used the education. Knowing what I’ve learned about the TDA, if Linn or any other TDA officer attended, members will never know the difference.

    In the closing paragraph, the author writes, “[Keynote speaker Bill George] said the 20th Century model of vertical or hierarchical leadership is dead. The 21st Century model calls for empowerment of individuals within your organization. He said that if the people you have working for you aren’t smarter than you, you need to get different people.”

    Do you hear that, TDA President Dr. Ronald L. Rhea? The man says tyranny is over, and if TDA employees are overwhelmed by the Internet, find new employees for crying out loud!

    “Hyperlinks subvert hierarchy” Thesis number 7 from “The Cluetrain Manifesto – the end of business as usual” (Levine, Locke, Searls and Weinberger)

    Want to bet Bill George has read the book published ten years ago?

    Since TDA officials who desperately need the information offered by the Kansas Dental Association might otherwise miss it, can I please count on someone who hasn’t been deprived of TDA member benefits to post the link on the TDA Facebook? Please?

    I’d post it on the TDA Perks Facebook, but it would only get censored without explanation and I would be deprived of another member benefit just for trying.

    http://kda-dailybriefing.blogspot.com/2010/08/august-23-2010.html#comment-form

    D. Kellus Pruitt DDS

    Like

  6. The ADA loses a member

    The Fort Worth District Dental Society loses a member, but the ADA might be able to finally open their Facebook.

    As of today, I have been officially kicked out of the Fort Worth District Dental Society, the Texas Dental Association and the American Dental Association for speaking honestly almost five years ago and never giving up on the truth.

    I am officially a former member of the American Dental Association. That means the ADA no longer has to worry about FTC threats because of this member’s honest assessment of Delta Dental, BCBSTX and United Healthcare. Being labeled “unethical” hurts a little, but it’s not all bad news for me either. First of all, I’ll save about a grand a year on dues.

    Also, the mailman has interrupted my office manager’s work for the last time to sign for a certified letter (see below) from Dr. Roy Burk, Chair of the TDA Council on Ethics and Judicial Affairs. And thank goodness this is the last of his rubber-stamped letters I’ll ever have to type – just because the Littlefield dentist’s secretive form of special justice cannot withstand the accountability that comes with Internet transparency. Dignity and honor.

    Roy, if you have the official right to call me unethical without providing proof, I feel your obstructionist use of certified letters gives me the right to call you childish.

    Let it be known that because I was never provided the evidence on which my 28 year membership was terminated – I won. Even if I’m no longer a TDA member, I’ll continue to remind Dr. Roy Burk and past TDA President Dr. Matthew Roberts, as well as TDA Executive Director Mary Kay Linn, that at every juncture in their doomed blunder, they chose to make the wrong decisions. Why?

    I’ve heard a rumor that the ADA has a tremendous story to tell and desperately want to tell it. Aren’t you also interested in hearing the TDA’s official side of this story – including what I said that the vetted leaders found so objectionable as long as three years ago, but still won’t reveal even to the author?

    And Dr. Burk says I was the one who didn’t cooperate. Dignity and honor.

    ——————

    TDA

    Texas Dental Association

    1946 S. IH35, Ste 400

    Austin, TX 78704

    October 27, 2010

    Dr. Darrell K. Pruitt, D.D.S.

    6737 Brentwood Stair Road, Suite 220

    Fort Worth, Texas 76112

    Re: Case No. 12-2010-3; Complaint before the Texas Dental Association Council on Ethics and Judicial Affairs

    Dear Dr. Pruitt:

    The Texas Dental Association Council on Ethics and Judicial Affairs has considered the complaint filed against you regarding possible violations of the TDA Principles of Ethics.

    The Council notes that you have declined to cooperate with the Council in this matter. You have declined to attend an informal conference to attempt to resolve this matter. You have furthermore refused to cooperate with the Ft. Worth District Dental Society’s judicial committee in their attempts to resolve this complaint through counseling [“counseling”?] You have published numerous emails with unsupported conclusions and statements regarding the TDA judicial process and generally attempted to belittle and be critical of the TDA judicial process and the participants in the process. Throughout the investigative process, you have continued many of the actions which are the subject of the complaint.

    The Council has determined that you are in violation of TDA Principles of Ethics and Code of Professional Conduct 7, which you agreed to abide by when you applied for and were accepted into membership in the TDA. TDA Principles of Ethics and Code of Professional Conduct 7 states in part:

    “7. Cooperation with Duly Constituted Committees – It is the duty of the member to comply with the reasonable requests of a duly constituted committee, Council or other body of his component society or of this association necessary or convenient to enable such a body to perform its functions and to abide by the decisions of such body … Any violation of this duty constitutes unethical conduct.”

    The Council has also determined that you are in violation of the TDA Principles of Professional Conduct, Section XI, as follows:

    “Dentists should observe all laws, uphold the dignity and honor of the profession and accept its self-imposed discipline.”

    The Council finds that your violations include threats made to the staff members of the TDA, offensive name calling to dentists and staff members, inappropriate and offensive communications regarding TDA members and to TDA members, staff and other individuals, misuse of TDA and other electronic communication devices by attempting to dominate or takeover these facilities, attempted disruption of TDA and ADA communication facilities, use of offensive and inappropriate words and name calling, harassment of individuals by attempting to highlight their name in electronic media for unspecified reasons, attempting to cause the name of TDA members and staff to be recognized by Internet search programs for no apparent purpose other than harassment, and attempting to make a mockery of the TDA process to investigate complaints regarding ethical violations.

    The Council has determined to SUSPEND you from membership in the TDA and the tripartite societies for a period of one year, commencing on the date of this letter. Suspension carries with it the LOSS of membership privileges.

    The Council has also determined to offer PROBATION of this one year suspension if you agree to accept the one year suspension with the one year probation and agree to the following conditions. Be apprised that probation carries NO LOSS of member privileges:

    1. You will refrain from contacting the TDA, ADA or component dental societies, either in person, by telephone or electronically, for any purpose other than to obtain information regarding your membership status, request copies of TDA or ADA publications available to members, or respond to questions from TDA or ADA.

    2. You will cease threatening and attempting to intimidate TDA staff and TDA members.

    3. You will not use electronic media to threaten, harass or otherwise disparage TDA members and TDA staff.

    4. You will not participate in electronic media information or discussion groups involving organized dentistry.

    5. You will comply with the TDA Principles of Ethics and Code of Professional Conduct.

    If, at the end of the one year probated suspension, you have observed the conditions of the probation, your probated suspension will end, and you will be reinstated to full membership in TDA. After completion of the one year probation, you will be expected to comply with the TDA Principles of Ethics and Code of Professional Conduct as are ALL members of the TDA. Resumption of prior unethical behavior may result in a further complaint against you and action may be taken as necessary by this Council and the TDA.

    If you do not follow the conditions of the probated suspension, the Council will immediately recommend TERMINATION of your membership in the TDA.

    Please be aware that the Council’s purview concerns the offensive and unethical methods by which you promote your various viewpoints, not the validity of their content or your right to express your viewpoints using proper methods.

    This Council follows the procedures and processes as outlined by the TDA Constitution and Bylaws and the Judicial Manual.

    You have ten (10) days from the date of this letter to return a signed copy agreeing to the conditions of the probated suspension. If this signed acknowledgement is not received within this ten (10) day period, the offer of probation is revoked and the suspension commences on the date of this letter.

    Sincerely,

    Roy N. Burk, D.D.S.

    Chair, TDA Council on Ethics and Judicial Affairs

    cc: TDA Council on Ethics and Judicial Affairs
    ———————-

    I have only one question: Since I’m paid up till the end of the year, can my membership fee be prorated?

    Like

  7. I just re-read Dr. Roy Burk’s final certified letter to me. What a piece of work that was!

    He must really hate name-calling. Did you notice that he accused me of calling others names twice in one paragraph?

    In respect of his tender sensitivities, I don’t want to carelessly call the TDA official a very bad name which challenges his honesty as a man. However, I know the names I am capable of calling people who disappoint me, and I say this complaint is good ol’ boy fantasy – twice in one paragraph.

    Dr. Roy Burk is shielding TDA officials and employees from accountability, not hurtful names.

    Darrell Pruitt DDS

    Like

  8. As far as I’m concerned, my involvement with the TDA is now nothing more than a business negotiation. Eventually, all but a few will win. I guarantee it.

    That’s the beauty of transparency. It stops all rot.

    ——————————————————————————–

    From: pruittdarrell [mailto:pruittdarrell@sbcglobal.net]
    Sent: Saturday, October 30, 2010 12:11 PM
    Subject: About that prorated membership fee … 10.30.10

    Dear Matthew, Roy and Mary Kay:

    I shouldn’t have to remind you that so far, our negotiations over my continued membership in the FWDDS, the TDA and the ADA are going nowhere. In my response to your offer of one year probation that’s somewhere between house arrest and solitary confinement, I mentioned that before I give up on you completely, it’s only fair you answer my question about a prorated reimbursement for the year’s dues that I paid in full in January. I figure you owe me somewhere around $200 either in service or cash. Should our fragile business relationship continue to deteriorate, I need to be able to prove to the Better Business Bureau that I attempted a resolution to our differences in good faith and you were inflexible. I don’t think there’s a safe harbor in the BBB for the Texas Dental Association, is there?

    Even if for some reason I were to decide the dignity and honor of being a TDA member is really worth surrendering for a whole year my right to speak publicly about my career I love, by accepting your terms, I would also forfeit the right to send you three TDA officials emails such as this one. And how can we expect the TDA to grow up if I don’t hold you accountable for your mistakes?

    Until you make your offer much, much sweeter, I’m walking.

    Once the prorated reimbursement sets the precedent, we’ll work on the reimbursement I’m owed for being deprived of use of the TDA Facebook for over a year for hearsay.

    Darrell K. Pruitt DDS

    Like

  9. ADA President Dr. Raymond Gist steps into the wide open spaces, and a denturist and I are there to welcome him.

    I posted the comment below following a very short Associated Press piece that appeared in today’s Chicago Tribune titled “ADA acknowledges past lack of diversity” (no byline).

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/chi-ap-il-ada-diversity,0,5199346.story

    ————-

    “The more our profession reaches out and makes everyone – from every walk of life and with every career ambition – feel welcome, the more talented our next generation of dentists will be.” – ADA President Dr. Raymond Gist, PR Newswire.

    Even though a few hours ago, denturist Mr. Gary Vollan called the new ADA President’s flowery promise “ADA crock of bull!” and even though I don’t always agree with Vollan, he occasionally makes good points about access to care for the poor. In any case, Dr. Gist is exactly right. Mr. Vollan deserves his opinion to be heard in response to the ADA President’s apology as much as I do. However, readers should have been informed by the Chicago Tribune that the Associated Press piece has no byline because it consists only of excerpts copied from a press release written by an unnamed ADA reporter that was purchased and posted this week with PR Newswire.

    http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/american-dental-association-apology-reinforces-commitment-to-diversity-106320988.html.

    I estimate the original PR Newswire piece titled “American Dental Association Apology Reinforces Commitment to Diversity”.cost ADA members about $2200. It’s unclear whether the ADA paid the Chicago Tribune anything to run the condensed AP version, but at least the ADA is finally telling its story even if it has to purchase ad space to do so.

    I personally think the ADA Facebook, which has 7500 fans waiting for it to open, would be a more cost effective venue for the marketplace conversations Dr. Raymond Gist desires. What’s more, Mr. Vollan proved that if the ADA President comes out anywhere on the Internet that offers comments, he can’t hide from denturists or worse. So he might as well open the ADA Facebook.

    Regardless, Dr. Gist already makes me proud that an ADA President has finally been elected who has the guts to say, “We were wrong.” I think the new generation of dentists Dr. Gist is attracting can actually build on that.

    In his recent address to the American Dental Association House of Delegates meeting, our new ADA President announced to members he was going to strive to be much more responsive to the needs of membership than has been seen in the past. Whether or not he ever shows the courage to engage Mr. Vollan is anyone’s guess. I think by setting an example in leadership, Dr. Raymond Gist could be the first ADA official to EVER respond to Mr. Vollan in a meaningful manner in the 5 years I’ve known him. That would quickly show ADA members his sincerity as well as confidence.

    I’m proud of Dr. Raymond Gist because he illustrates how important it is for all of our obscure professional organizations to accept and embrace transparency. For decades, the ADA, including state and local organizations have quietly thrived without the natural consumer-driven challenges found in almost all other areas of the free market. Predictably, in the absence of pressure from competition, and an atmosphere of unaccountability nurtured by an institutional privilege of anonymity, my professional not-for-profit organization grew comfortable. Soon, the unchallenged ADA leaders grew sloppy in their respect for membership as well as dental patients. It will be fun to watch Dr. Gist fight the status quo to change the bad habits that have predictably created mutual fear between membership and leadership.

    Bravo, ADA President, Dr. Ray Gist! You can count on me to do what I can during your term and long after to assist you with your Search Engine Optimization every time you come out on the Internet. It’s been a while since I’ve used this tool I call the Pruitt bump. Nevertheless, the Internet search engines still remember D. Kellus Pruitt DDS, and this comment should appear on your first page within a few days and remain there for months. I wish you luck with your goals. And please, talk to Mr. Gary Vollan. Dr. Raymond Gist from Michigan.

    D. Kellus Pruitt DDS

    Like

  10. A deal’s a deal, TDA

    Here’s another ace in waiting that may be even more valuable than Joshua Austin’s bonehead contribution to my cause: If Roy, Mary Kay or Matt don’t offer me a reply to my sincere question about the prorated membership fee for this year, I think going to the Better Business Bureau for $200 in unused services is a beautiful strategy.

    With my termination being a couple of months before renewal date, I justifiably demand a refund. That’s an accepted way of doing business that I doubt is covered in the TDA’s do-it-yourself manual of ethics.

    Let’s face it. As a dentist, going to the BBB with a $200 complaint is considered by many snobs in my profession to be a “trailer trash” way of settling a disagreement with the dignified and honorable TDA. But look at it from the consumer’s point of view – my point of view. The TDA simply cannot afford to turn up their nose at the Better Business Bureau. That means that at some point, someone in the TDA will have to stoop to my level to hand me 200 dollars – not anonymously – or someone in the TDA will have to explain to me as well as a BBB official why the not-for-profit organization does not owe me a refund – and good luck with those Code of Conduct violations, Roy!

    I simply don’t think an official with the Better Business Bureau will accept the TDA’s committee-approved description of hearsay evidence when the unfortunate TDA official in the barrel can just as easily provide the official, me and everyone else with links to my alleged violations of ethical conduct – information I’ve been requesting for almost a year – even from Mary Kay. She hit the wrong button on her computer and replied, “What am I to do with this, Bill?” But she never provided the information that some poor slob in the TDA will have to reveal to the Better Business Bureau.

    As you can see, if the TDA is not cutting me a check at this minute, this small part of my adventure is only going to become increasingly embarrassing for the organization, and gleefully entertaining for sports fans. I promise.

    D. Kellus Pruitt DDS

    Like

  11. It looks like the ADA is spending a lot of money on press releases to “tell our story.” I found two more paid articles today with no byline and no opportunity for comments. I figure in the last week, the ADA has spent about $8000 in advertisement for Dr. Raymond Gist’s apology to America for the ADA’s sordid history of lack of transparency.

    http://pr-usa.net/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=525901&Itemid=29

    Wouldn’t the ADA Facebook be a lot cheaper and reach more people?

    Darrell K. Pruitt DDS

    Like

  12. Goals worthwhile sometime begin with a bum’s rush

    In February 2006, after I was given the bum’s rush by the first ADA official to call me unprofessional, I committed my spare time to a goal of bringing transparency to organized dentistry because illumination was oh so obviously needed. From that encounter with a vetted official, I recognized that I could be kicked out of an organization that I still believe in before I can achieve my goal. I simply never imagined the adventure would take this long and require me to sacrifice so much of my privacy on the Internet.

    I’m wiser now. And I realize that termination of my membership just had to be, and it’s not a bad thing. Some time ago, the ADA News published an article that has since been deleted which warned dentists that as members of the ADA, they could become restricted from “lobbying” their US representatives concerning dentistry without running the risk of violating the Sherman Anti-Trust Act. I haven’t heard anything about this law in years, but it could certainly be dusted off and enforced if it shields stakeholders inside and outside the ADA from accountability to consumers.

    It’s a long shot, but perhaps history will show that I was kicked out just in time.

    I predict within 6 months, as national frustration over exploding healthcare costs and burdensome budget deficits grows in a partisan, bickering Congress, the public’s impotent anger at healthcare stakeholders, such as insurers and a partisan, bickering Congress, will be intentionally deflected to healthcare principals – “those greedy doctors and non health-conscious patients.”

    I imagine that in early 2011, healthcare stakeholders’ rationalization for passing laws to exert tighter control of doctor-patient relationships will be proudly called some kind of celebrated bi-partisan “fraud prevention” measure and will work best for dentalcare stakeholders if ADA members are limited to one official weak voice rather than thousands of strong ones…. such as might be found on an ADA Facebook.

    That is why perhaps it’s better that I’m outside the organization. Both the ADA and I run far less risk of becoming targets for investigation by the FTC at the urging of threatened stakeholders.

    However, let it be known that I never deserved or desired the exposure I’ve had to endure just to get ADA leaders to pay attention to non-vetted dentists who actually treat dental patients. It’s hard to believe that 5 years later, I’m still at it with ever-increasing vigor. But then, I competed in the mile run on Texas AA high school level, and I wasn’t bad. I couldn’t run fast, but I could run forever.

    D. Kellus Pruitt DDS

    Like

  13. Dear Texas Dental Association

    Yesterday, after pointing out that when it comes to serving dental patients rather than dentalcare stakeholders like the not-for-profit Texas Dental Association, we mostly share the same goals and support the same legislation. It only makes sense that we should be working together to get our story out, because you’ve proven that you cannot do it alone: And if you are thinking of buying press releases, those are very expensive and ineffective. Just ask Dr. Raymond Gist, the new ADA President. He’s invested dues money into several already. What difference has it made?

    If the ADA or the TDA had any representatives out here in the wide open, we would have met by now. Like it or not, without me, you have nobody. For example, nobody from the ADA will challenge my boastful claim.

    It’s a fact, TDA. You need my Internet skills to help us to together protect dental patients’ interests in Texas against those who would take advantage of them. So please, Roy, don’t aggravate me with the next certified letter.

    D. Kellus Pruitt DDS

    Like

  14. The ADA loses a member

    The Fort Worth District Dental Society loses a member, but the ADA might be able to finally open their Facebook.

    As of today, I have been officially kicked out of the Fort Worth District Dental Society, the Texas Dental Association and the American Dental Association for speaking honestly almost five years ago and never giving up on the truth.

    I am officially a former member of the American Dental Association. That means the ADA no longer has to worry about FTC threats because of this member’s honest assessment of Delta Dental, BCBSTX and United Healthcare. Being labeled “unethical” hurts a little, but it’s not all bad news for me either. First of all, I’ll save about a grand a year on dues.

    Also, the mailman has interrupted my office manager’s work for the last time to sign for a certified letter (see below) from Dr. Roy Burk, Chair of the TDA Council on Ethics and Judicial Affairs. And thank goodness this is the last of his rubber-stamped letters I’ll ever have to type – just because the Littlefield dentist’s secretive form of special justice cannot withstand the accountability that comes with Internet transparency. Dignity and honor.

    Roy, if you have the official right to call me unethical without providing proof, I feel your obstructionist use of certified letters gives me the right to call you childish.

    Let it be known that because I was never provided the evidence on which my 28 year membership was terminated – I won. Even if I’m no longer a TDA member, I’ll continue to remind Dr. Roy Burk and past TDA President Dr. Matthew Roberts, as well as TDA Executive Director Mary Kay Linn, that at every juncture in their doomed blunder, they chose to make the wrong decisions. Why?

    I’ve heard a rumor that the ADA has a tremendous story to tell and desperately want to tell it. Aren’t you also interested in hearing the TDA’s official side of this story – including what I said that the vetted leaders found so objectionable as long as three years ago, but still won’t reveal even to the author?

    And Dr. Burk says I was the one who didn’t cooperate. Dignity and honor.

    ——————

    TDA

    Texas Dental Association

    1946 S. IH35, Ste 400

    Austin, TX 78704

    October 27, 2010

    Dr. Darrell K. Pruitt, D.D.S.

    6737 Brentwood Stair Road, Suite 220

    Fort Worth, Texas 76112

    Re: Case No. 12-2010-3; Complaint before the Texas Dental Association Council on Ethics and Judicial Affairs

    Dear Dr. Pruitt:

    The Texas Dental Association Council on Ethics and Judicial Affairs has considered the complaint filed against you regarding possible violations of the TDA Principles of Ethics.

    The Council notes that you have declined to cooperate with the Council in this matter. You have declined to attend an informal conference to attempt to resolve this matter. You have furthermore refused to cooperate with the Ft. Worth District Dental Society’s judicial committee in their attempts to resolve this complaint through counseling [“counseling”?] You have published numerous emails with unsupported conclusions and statements regarding the TDA judicial process and generally attempted to belittle and be critical of the TDA judicial process and the participants in the process. Throughout the investigative process, you have continued many of the actions which are the subject of the complaint.

    The Council has determined that you are in violation of TDA Principles of Ethics and Code of Professional Conduct 7, which you agreed to abide by when you applied for and were accepted into membership in the TDA. TDA Principles of Ethics and Code of Professional Conduct 7 states in part:

    “7. Cooperation with Duly Constituted Committees – It is the duty of the member to comply with the reasonable requests of a duly constituted committee, Council or other body of his component society or of this association necessary or convenient to enable such a body to perform its functions and to abide by the decisions of such body … Any violation of this duty constitutes unethical conduct.”

    The Council has also determined that you are in violation of the TDA Principles of Professional Conduct, Section XI, as follows:

    “Dentists should observe all laws, uphold the dignity and honor of the profession and accept its self-imposed discipline.”

    The Council finds that your violations include threats made to the staff members of the TDA, offensive name calling to dentists and staff members, inappropriate and offensive communications regarding TDA members and to TDA members, staff and other individuals, misuse of TDA and other electronic communication devices by attempting to dominate or takeover these facilities, attempted disruption of TDA and ADA communication facilities, use of offensive and inappropriate words and name calling, harassment of individuals by attempting to highlight their name in electronic media for unspecified reasons, attempting to cause the name of TDA members and staff to be recognized by Internet search programs for no apparent purpose other than harassment, and attempting to make a mockery of the TDA process to investigate complaints regarding ethical violations.

    The Council has determined to SUSPEND you from membership in the TDA and the tripartite societies for a period of one year, commencing on the date of this letter. Suspension carries with it the LOSS of membership privileges.

    The Council has also determined to offer PROBATION of this one year suspension if you agree to accept the one year suspension with the one year probation and agree to the following conditions. Be apprised that probation carries NO LOSS of member privileges:

    1. You will refrain from contacting the TDA, ADA or component dental societies, either in person, by telephone or electronically, for any purpose other than to obtain information regarding your membership status, request copies of TDA or ADA publications available to members, or respond to questions from TDA or ADA.

    2. You will cease threatening and attempting to intimidate TDA staff and TDA members.

    3. You will not use electronic media to threaten, harass or otherwise disparage TDA members and TDA staff.

    4. You will not participate in electronic media information or discussion groups involving organized dentistry.

    5. You will comply with the TDA Principles of Ethics and Code of Professional Conduct.

    If, at the end of the one year probated suspension, you have observed the conditions of the probation, your probated suspension will end, and you will be reinstated to full membership in TDA. After completion of the one year probation, you will be expected to comply with the TDA Principles of Ethics and Code of Professional Conduct as are ALL members of the TDA. Resumption of prior unethical behavior may result in a further complaint against you and action may be taken as necessary by this Council and the TDA.

    If you do not follow the conditions of the probated suspension, the Council will immediately recommend TERMINATION of your membership in the TDA.

    Please be aware that the Council’s purview concerns the offensive and unethical methods by which you promote your various viewpoints, not the validity of their content or your right to express your viewpoints using proper methods.

    This Council follows the procedures and processes as outlined by the TDA Constitution and Bylaws and the Judicial Manual.

    You have ten (10) days from the date of this letter to return a signed copy agreeing to the conditions of the probated suspension. If this signed acknowledgement is not received within this ten (10) day period, the offer of probation is revoked and the suspension commences on the date of this letter.

    Sincerely,

    Roy N. Burk, D.D.S.

    Chair, TDA Council on Ethics and Judicial Affairs

    cc: TDA Council on Ethics and Judicial Affairs
    ———————-

    I have only one question: Since I’m paid up till the end of the year, can my membership fee be prorated?

    Like

  15. Why can’t the TDA just use emails?

    I received two letters today from Dr. Roy Burk, Chair of the TDA Council on Ethics and Judicial Affairs. One was sent regular mail and the other was certified. Just as I promised Dr. Burk, my office manager refused to sign for the certified letter, but I opened the uncertified one – hoping it was a refund check of $200 for unused, prepaid membership fees. Instead, it was a letter notifying me that my membership has been fully suspended for one year as of October 27 because among other crimes, I stand accused of “refusing to cooperate with the investigation by the Council on Ethics and Judicial Affairs.” I suppose the one that’s heading back to Austin said the same thing.

    How can that possibly be? How much help do they need to read what I wrote?

    The complaints against me concern ONLY my written words I posted on the Internet from as long as THREE YEARS AGO! Since the Council that is investigating my “unprofessional” writings won’t allow me see them, what more do they need from me? Must I really explain what I meant when I described how it appears to me that the TDA Facebook Director endangers patients’ welfare by shielding BCBSTX from accountability to TDA members as policy concerning the NPI number?

    Neither HHS nor BCBSTX will like it one bit, but I don’t mind re-posting the long-forgotten article if it happened to be one that needs closer investigation. (See “BCBSTX reverses NPI policy, August 20, 2009.

    http://community.pennwelldentalgroup.com/forum/topics/bcbstx-reverses-npi-policy

    Seriously, what’s there to investigate? My grammar? Is it really that unethical?

    D. Kellus Pruitt DDS

    Like

  16. Dr. Pruitt
    And this is the outfit – still using paper – that wants eDRs?
    Mary

    Like

  17. Letter from TDA Ethics Council

    Yesterday, I received another letter or two from Dr. Roy Burk, Chair of the TDA Council on Ethics and Judicial Affairs, written on TDA stationery and stamped with his signature. Even though Dr. Burk reads my emails (almost every day), he doesn’t send emails to me – which could be easily copied and pasted. I just finished typing out yet another of his letters. Here’s what I find exasperating: I’m willing to bet that Dr. Burk’s letter to me didn’t start out on a typewriter with carbon paper. So do you think anyone in the TDA learned anything from this exercise of going from digital to paper and back to digital? Is that really preserving the dignity and honor in the profession, TDA? Really?

    If you don’t want to read Dr. Burk’s whole letter – mostly a re-hash of an incredible amount of hearsay evidence against me that was also itemized in the October 27th letter – here is where he recognizes and reveals yet another of his oh-so-obvious vulnerabilities:

    “The facts on which the charges are based are the extensive series of emails and electronic communications which you have sent to TDA and various TDA members and employees, all of which were sent by you and which you would have a copy, and your refusal to cooperate with the investigation by the Council on Ethics and Judicial Affairs.”

    (If readers find the last sentence is confusing, I think the author meant to say “… including your refusal to cooperate with the investigation by the Council on Ethics and Judicial Affairs.”)

    That proves that Dr. Burk reads my emails after all. (Arrrgh!)

    Just like in the October 27, letter which I typed out as well, when Dr. Burk belatedly recognized another of his position’s fatal weakness, he preemptively stated that it wasn’t my ideas that are on trial (when it is indeed all about my ideas). This time, Dr. Burk must have felt compelled to finally respond to my initial and overriding complaint that I’ve never yet been shown the facts I am to defend. Dr. Burk, the man who would call me unethical for not cooperating with his investigation (?), still hasn’t the courage to expose the evidence, even to me. Dignity and honor… Soviet style.

    In other words, Dr. Roy Burk’s Council cannot provide a single piece of fact to support the boatload of wild and defamatory allegations that have been delivered to me by my Postman for my office manager’s signature.

    From the very beginning, I told every TDA official involved in this prideful blunder that I simply refuse to recognize a justice system which would require me to defend my reputation in front of strangers without being given the opportunity to study the evidence beforehand. To comply with such an agreement I am told I signed when I joined the TDA 28 years ago would be foolish even in an uncivilized country other than Texas.

    And the charge of “failure to cooperate with an investigation” of facts Dr. Burk won’t share with me is absurd even before one considers that the facts are my own written words and are indeed somewhere on my computer – as well as computers of not more than 20 or so others who are gathering to watch this train wreck develop in real time.

    C’mon, Dr. Burk. Be a sport. Can we at least have a hint? After all, you know by now that I write a lot. All we need is an accurate date or two. I bet from there, we can find my “unethical behavior” in the otherwise long-forgotten comments that continue to upset your Council – even from years ago.

    As a writer, I’m personally interested in what I wrote that got so many people so delayed-excited, Dr. Roy N. Burk.

    D. Kellus Pruitt DDS

    Oh yeah. My membership and all my privileges (other than those with companies in partnership with the TDA that bring revenue to the TDA) have been suspended for a year.

    —————————–

    Texas Dental Association

    November 15, 2010

    Dr. Darrell K. Pruitt

    6737 Brentwood Stair Road, Suite 220

    Fort Worth, Texas 76112

    Re: Decision by the Council on Ethics and Judicial Affairs in Case No. 12-2010-3

    Dear Dr. Pruitt:

    On October 27, 2010, you were notified of the Texas Dental Association’s (TDA) Council on Ethics and Judicial Affairs decision on the complaint referenced above. The Council determined to SUSPEND you from membership in the TDA and the tripartite societies for a period of one year, commencing on October 27. Suspension means all membership privileges except any contractual relations between you and a third party is lost during the suspension period. You were offered the opportunity to agree to probation of the decision to suspend you as a member of the Texas Dental Association. You did not respond to the Council on Ethics and Judicial Affairs. Therefore, the decision of a one year suspension, without probation, became effective on October 27, 2010.

    You have a right to appeal to the Board of Directors of the Texas Dental Association and have an in-person hearing in Austin, Texas. Both the Association and you may procure the services of legal counsel. In order to exercise this right of appeal, you must give written notice by certified, return receipt requested mail to the Texas Dental Association at the following address:

    1946 South I-H 35, Suite 400

    Austin, Texas 78704

    This notice of your request to appeal to the Board of Directors must be received by TDA within thirty (30) days from the date of this letter.

    The charges against you are set out in the October 27, 2010 letter. The Council has determined that you are in violation of TDA Principles of Ethics and Code of Professional Conduct 7, which you agreed to abide by when you applied for and were accepted into membership in the TDA. TDA Principles of Ethics and Code of Professional Conduct 7 states in part:

    7. Cooperation with Duly Constituted Committees

    It is the duty of the member to comply with the reasonable requests of a duly constituted committee. Council or other body of his component society or of this association necessary or convenient to enable such a body to perform its functions and to abide by the decisions of such body…Any violation of this duty constitutes unethical conduct.

    The Council has also determined that you are in violation of the TDA Principles of Professional Conduct, Section XI, as follows:

    Dentists should observe all laws, uphold the dignity and honor of the profession and accept its self-imposed discipline.

    The Council finds that your violations include threats made to the staff members of TDA, offensive name calling to dentists and staff members, Inappropriate and offensive communications regarding TDA members and to TDA members, staff and other individuals, misuse of TDA and other electronic communication devices by attempting to dominate or takeover these facilities attempted disruption of TDA and ADA communication facilities, use of offensive and inappropriate words and name calling, harassment of individuals by attempting to highlight their name in electronic media for unspecified reasons, attempting to cause the name of TDA members and staff to be recognized by Internet search programs for no apparent purpose other than harassment, and attempting to make a mockery of the TDA process to investigate complaints regarding ethical violations.

    [Here’s the best part]

    The facts on which the charges are based are the extensive series of emails and electronic communications which you have sent to TDA and various TDA members and employees, all of which were sent by you and which you would have a copy, and your refusal to cooperate with the investigation by the Council on Ethics and Judicial Affairs.

    Continuation of prior unethical behavior may result in a further complaint against you and action may be taken as necessary by this Council and the TDA.

    Sincerely,

    Roy N. Burk, D.D.S.

    Chair, TDA Council on Ethics and Judicial Affairs

    cc: TDA Council on Ethics and Judicial Affairs

    cc: Dr. Ron Collins, Secretary-Treasurer, Texas Dental Association

    Like

  18. BBB Case #90189714
    [Pruitt vs. TDA]
    An update

    For traditional command-and-control leaders in the Texas Dental Association who continue to rely on transparently unethical business practices to avoid personal accountability to members who fund the organization, the Internet is like Chinese handcuffs – the harder a good ol’ boy tries to pull away, the tighter the grasp.

    I’m simply fed up with the TDA’s childish and ineffective attempts to wrongfully silence me. I blame Dr. Roy Burk, the Chair of the TDA Council on Ethics and Judicial Affairs, for making a mockery of justice in my state organization. The Council’s credibility will never be recovered as long as he is a part of it. Call me unprofessional, but that’s my honest opinion.

    As a consumer, I claim that since I was wrongfully deprived of TDA membership benefits for the rest of the year – which I pre-paid for in January – I’m due a prorated refund of $200. After receiving no response from numerous emails to TDA Executive Director Mary Kay Linn requesting the refund, on November 5, I chose to handle this minor business dispute with the assistance of the Austin Better Business Bureau rather than bother an attorney. Besides, attorneys are expensive, small claims courts involve a lot of paperwork, they both take forever and the development of a just TDA verdict is far from transparent – or certain. I prefer to try my luck hands-on using the Internet-empowered BBB’s marketplace platform of justice in front of a jury of peers… that’s you. I’ve always supported the BBB. If you are a consumer, they are your friends as well.

    One can read the complaint I filed, as well as all official responses by following this convenient Austin BBB link.

    http://austin.app.bbb.org/complaint/view/90189714/c/p4ew6l

    Bringing sudden marketplace transparency to self-serving not-for-profit business models doesn’t have to be a source of my entertainment – but why the hell not? Can you think of a better use for pompous bureaucrats who just don’t listen to those who entrusted them with authority?

    Since I last reported on my ongoing struggle with my professional association concerning dignity and honor in dentistry, on November 17, TDA Executive Director Mary Kay Linn responded to my complaint to the BBB with a photo of a certifiable letter (PDF) that I had to re-type (aargh!) for your convenience – in case you should want to share it with someone else. Of everyone I deal with on the Internet, the TDA is the only entity that makes their public documents difficult to share by emailing PHOTOS of letters… as policy.

    What’s more, I have reason to believe that Mary Kay Linn’s signature on the document is rubber stamped. Dignity and honor.

    ——————

    Texas Dental Association

    November 17, 2010

    Better Business Bureau

    1005 La Posada Drive

    Austin, Texas 78752-3815

    Attention: Dispute Resolution Specialist

    Re: Case #90189714; Darrell Pruitt

    Dear Better Business Bureau:

    This is the response by the Texas Dental Association to the above referenced complaint.

    The complainant continues to be a member of the Texas Dental Association. If the complainant has resigned from the Texas Dental Association, no notice has been sent to the Association.

    There is a Texas Dental Association process under way to deal with complaints regarding your complainant’s activities. The Association does not know why the date of 10/30/10 cited by the complainant has any bearing on the matter as the Association does not know of any activity that occurred on that date.

    The Association intends to continue its ongoing process to respond to complaints against your complainant.

    There is no basis for any refund to your complainant.

    Sincerely yours,

    Mary Kay Linn
    Executive Director

    —————

    Now let’s put it together:

    In the TDA employee’s short, certified response to the BBB concerning my piddly $200 refund which Ms. Linn still denies me, it is arguably more important to her to use the majority of her message to inform the underpaid BBB Dispute Resolution Specialist that the TDA’s obligation to respond to (secret) complaints against me is more important than my complaints to the BBB against the executive director’s organization. That takes pride!

    Why would Ms. Linn assume the BBB official needs or even wants that information? Just to mention to the BBB the TDA’s alleged complaints against me once was out of line. For the TDA official to mention her complaints against me twice simply looks petty, vindictive and desperate.

    It’s so appropriate that at this very second, I’m listening to “You can get anything you want at Alice’s Restaurant” this wonderful Thanksgiving day. I’ve so much to be thankful for. This is indeed a wonderful country we share, friends. In other regimes past and present, troublemakers like me were silenced by the state. God bless America and God bless Arlie Guthrie… sorry. I got thankful.

    The only information the busy BBB official needed to know from the TDA was contained in one sentence of Linn’s letter: “The complainant continues to be a member of the Texas Dental Association. If the complainant has resigned from the Texas Dental Association, no notice has been sent to the Association.” However, in what seems to become a habitual reaction, the executive director continued talking when she should have just shut up: “The Association does not know why the date of 10/30/10 cited by the complainant has any bearing on the matter as the Association does not know of any activity that occurred on that date.”

    Two days before Ms. Linn pretended my suspension was news to her, Dr. Roy Burk’s certified letter to the complainant (me) conveyed an entirely different message:

    “Dear Dr. Pruitt: On October 27, 2010, you were notified of the Texas Dental Association’s (TDA) Council on Ethics and Judicial Affairs decision on the complaint referenced above. The Council determined to SUSPEND you from membership in the TDA and the tripartite societies for a period of one year, commencing on October 27. Suspension means all membership privileges except any contractual relations between you and a third party is lost during the suspension period.”

    Suspension or no suspension, am I not due a refund? Will the Austin BBB choose to defend a consumer or TDA policy? And why won’t the TDA just hand over the money?

    I’ll take a stab at these mysteries soon when I present my response I sent to the BBB on November 23. I’m a few days behind.

    It is now days past Thanksgiving when I stopped writing on this piece long enough for a big lunch and my tardy update is already long. I know many of my readers find this stuff as boring as turkey dressing, but since a half dozen of you made it this far, don’t you also feel just a little of the ornery excitement I’m feeling?

    D. Kellus Pruitt DDS

    Like

  19. UPDATE
    BBB Case No. 90189714
    [Pruitt vs. TDA]

    It’s only a $200 refund for crying out loud! Why do you make it difficult, TDA? Dignity and honor? Or is it the increased attention you are looking for?… You got it!

    You know that you owe me the refund, TDA, and if you don’t write that check by December 6, someone in the not-for-profit organization will have to go public with an explanation to the Austin Better Business Bureau why you refuse to refund my prorated dues. (I don’t think mentioning your petty, vindictive and desperate complaints against me a second time is a good idea).

    In the TDA Executive Director’s November 17 response to the Austin Better Business Bureau concerning my November 5 complaint, here is the reason she gave the Dispute Resolution Specialist for not immediately cutting me a check:

    “There is a Texas Dental Association process under way to deal with complaints regarding your complainant’s activities. [?] The Association does not know why the date of 10/30/10 cited by the complainant has any bearing on the matter as the Association does not know of any activity that occurred on that date…. There is no basis for any refund to your complainant.”

    No basis? Really? According to the November 15 letter I received from Dr. Roy Burk, Chair of the TDA Council on Ethics and Judicial Affairs:

    “The Council determined to SUSPEND you from membership in the TDA and the tripartite societies for a period of one year, commencing on October 27. Suspension means all membership privileges except any contractual relations between you and a third party is lost during the suspension period. You were offered the opportunity to agree to probation of the decision to suspend you as a member of the Texas Dental Association. You did not respond to the Council on Ethics and Judicial Affairs. Therefore, the decision of a one year suspension, without probation, became effective on October 27, 2010.”

    There was never a choice for me. Probation was not an option.

    Dr. Burk gives me a choice between probation and suspension of membership and I choose a passive resistance path to default suspension. Just look how much this dentist’s relationship with his professional organization has deteriorated… and over what? Non-cooperation with tyranny became my only choice even before I learned of the alleged three year old, still-secret complaints – hearsay evidence which I will forever refuse to recognize until I’m given the opportunity to examine. One can see in his Nov 15 letter that Dr. Burk knows he is on thin ethical ice, so he offered this about the alleged complaints:

    “The facts on which the charges are based are the extensive series of emails and electronic communications which you have sent to TDA and various TDA members and employees, all of which were sent by you and which you would have a copy, and your refusal to cooperate with the investigation by the Council on Ethics and Judicial Affairs.”

    Where on my computer? I write a lot. If Dr. Burk could just provide accurate dates of my alleged crimes, I could probably find the reasons for the complaints and we could perhaps bring resolution to both TDA Case No. 12-2010-3 and BBB Case No. 90189714.

    If one is interested in seeing the terms of the probation I declined, I listed them in my Nov 5 complaint to the BBB.

    http://austin.app.bbb.org/complaint/view/90189714/c/p4ew6l

    Here is probation term number 4: “You will not participate in electronic media information or discussion groups involving organized dentistry.” Since the BBB posts complaints on the Internet, had I agreed to Dr. Burk’s terms, and then filed my complaint, the TDA Council on Ethics would have had its first tangible reason for calling me “unethical.” Why go through all that just to hand Dr. Burk his very first credible purchase against my character? Committees cannot comprehend that I’m not that foolish.

    Here is my short but demanding November 23 response to the Austin BBB: “I was recently informed by letter from the TDA that my benefits were terminated retroactively to October 27, 2010. I’d like to resolve this problem quickly, Better Business Bureau. Thanks.” The pressure on the TDA builds. Something’s got to give. It won’t be the Austin BBB and it won’t be me, TDA.

    D. Kellus Pruitt DDS

    Like

  20. Dr. Raymond Gist makes another Internet appearance and I’m all over it

    ADA President Dr. Raymond Gist popped up on my Google Alert today for the first time in a month or so. He is featured in a December 6 press release about bringing attention to the vulnerabilities of older adults and people with disabilities – a virtually hidden segment of the population.

    http://www.dentapress.com/headlines/1429-ada-conference-focuses-on-vulnerable-adults.html?m=voteFail

    If comments are permitted following the expensive press releases the ADA purchases on Dr. Gist’s behalf, every time I catch the President out in the wide open, I make it a point to fill in the empty spaces by complimenting his (unstated) struggle to bring transparency to ADA policy – even if that isn’t what he intends to accomplish in his term. Do you think the TDA Ethics Council will judge my PR trick be unprofessional or just playfully ornery?

    It’s similar to the trick I pulled on past-President Dr. Ron Tankersley over a year ago when I announced on Pruitt’s Platform, “I am starting a rumor that Dr. Tankersley will open the ADA Facebook in a week.” Although nobody complained to me directly, many months later I learned from an anonymous letter that my stunt caused an incredible amount of chaos with the communications team at the ADA Headquarters, and may or may not have played a roll in getting me kicked off of my own Pruitt’s Platform and suspended from the TDA. Nobody at Dental Economics/PennWell or the Texas Dental Association has yet shared those reasons with me. Oh yeah. The ADA Facebook now has over 8000 waiting fans, and it still hasn’t opened. The ADA purchases press releases for the Presidents instead.

    Here is what I posted in the handy information vacuum following Dr. Gist’s appearance in the frontier: “At last the ADA has a President who engages the Internet with his activities. It’s about time. I applaud Dr. Raymond Gist for his unbounded courage and his determination to bring transparency to the organization’s activities and plans for the future.”

    Note that after six days, mine is the article’s first comment. Many times, mine are the only comments which follow articles about Dr. Raymond Gist. I’m the most loyal follower he has on the Internet. As far as I can tell, I’m all he’s got.

    D. Kellus Pruitt DDS

    Like

  21. BBB Follow-up

    The TDA was given a deadline of December 6th, 2010 to respond to my request for a prorated refund of my dues. They missed it. Today I sent a reminder to the BBB.

    http://austin.app.bbb.org/complaint/view/90189714/c/p4ew6l

    Dear Austin BBB:

    The deadline for a response from the TDA passed 3 days ago, and I haven’t noticed any progress. So what’s next?”

    Sincerely,
    Darrell K. Pruitt DDS

    Like

  22. TDA finally responds to the Austin Better Business Bureau

    A week past the December 6 deadline, TDA Executive Director Mary Kay Linn finally responded to the Austin Better Business Bureau concerning my request of a refund for prorated membership dues. She is unmoved by my arguments, and is determined to hold onto my $200 as if losing it would bankrupt the TDA. Here is what she posted today on the BBB Facebook:

    http://austin.app.bbb.org/complaint/view/90189714/c/p4ew6l

    “In response to your letter of December 2, 2010, the TDA position is the same as previously stated and we do not have any other options to recommend. Mary Kay.”

    Here is my response:

    There seems to be some confusion in this case as to who is the dues-paying complainant and who represents a dues-supported not-for-profit organization.

    This is from the Chairman of the TDA Council on Ethics’ letter dated November 15, 2010:

    “Dear Dr. Pruitt: On October 27, 2010, you were notified of the Texas Dental Association’s (TDA) Council on Ethics and Judicial Affairs decision on the complaint referenced above. The Council determined to SUSPEND you from membership in the TDA and the tripartite societies for a period of one year, commencing on October 27. Suspension means all membership privileges except any contractual relations between you and a third party is lost during the suspension period.”

    This establishes that my membership was indeed suspended for November and December of 2010.

    As if the reason my membership was suspended from the TDA mattered in this case, on November 17, the TDA Executive Director’s response concerning my complaint to the Austin Better Business Bureau makes it sound as if she contributes to my salary:

    “There is a Texas Dental Association process under way to deal with complaints regarding your complainant’s activities. The Association does not know why the date of 10/30/10 cited by the complainant has any bearing on the matter as the Association does not know of any activity that occurred on that date …. There is no basis for any refund to your complainant.”

    I again protest that the alleged complaints – which ultimately caused me to lose my membership benefits for November and December – have still not been revealed to me. Although, in his letter dated November 15, the Chair of the Council on Ethics said, “The facts on which the charges are based are the extensive series of emails and electronic communications which you have sent to TDA and various TDA members and employees, all of which were sent by you and which you would have a copy, and your refusal to cooperate with the investigation by the Council on Ethics and Judicial Affairs.” Yet he continues to refuse to even share the dates of the alleged emails I sent. Anyone can see that the behavior of TDA officials unfairly puts me at a loss to defend myself, much less to reconcile anyone’s complaints about what I posted on the Internet. So what’s their point?

    Indeed, the passage of three years before I was first informed of the alleged complaints makes calling them “complaints” transparently absurd. Besides, what do the TDA’s complaints against me have to do with withholding my $200 refund for November and December? I would suggest that the Executive Director’s alleged complaints against me might be better handled by the Fort Worth Better Business Bureau… or she could simply share them with me, and we could discuss them like two rational human beings and not bother the Dispute Resolution Specialist at the Austin BBB at all. That is a much better way for handling complaints than capriciously cancelling memberships for no apparent reason.

    The latest reply from the Executive Director is clearly unfair and unacceptable. So what’s next?

    Darrell Pruitt DDS

    Like

  23. Austin BBB gives the TDA an A-minus
    [Next comes the TSBDE’s turn to grade them]

    The TDA scored an A minus with the Austin BBB, and if I’m to take my unresolved complaint over a $200 dues refund any further, I’ve been told by a BBB supervisor that I must file it with the Texas State Board of Dental Examiners. “That is the agency that oversees the Texas Dental Association.”

    Wow. If I had only known that chunk of news in 2006, I might have been able to bring inevitable transparency to the TDA years ago.

    The TSBDE is also the entity responsible for licensing dentists as well as prosecuting those who commit crimes in dental offices in Texas. Understandably, I have mixed feelings about taking my unresolved complaint to a government regulatory entity which has very real power over my well being. Don’t you imagine that the very serious officers of the State of Texas have better things to do than to deal with a piddly $200 refund that the TDA refuses to even discuss with a disappointed customer? I just hope they don’t get pissed at me for filing the complaint.

    The TDA’s less than perfect grade and description of their failed outcome of their first complaint with the BBB ever (?) are now available to anyone who searches the TDA on the Austin BBB Website.

    http://www.bbb.org/central-texas/business-reviews/dentist-information-bureaus/texas-dental-association-in-austin-tx-90020165

    I may not have my $200 refund yet, but the TDA’s hugely expensive battle scar will be visible on the Austin BBB Website for 3 years.

    D. Kellus Pruitt DDS

    Like

  24. I emailed the TSBDE today concerning dentistry in Texas

    Although the email I just sent to the Texas State Board of Dental Examiners that I copied below is not a formal complaint against the Texas Dental Association, it’s a cautious half-step in that direction – if indeed it is confirmed that the TSBDE oversees the TDA like I was told by the Austin Better Business Bureau. I simply don’t know, and I don’t expect anyone in the TDA would answer that question for me, even if I asked nicely.

    Last night, I was warned by someone I consider a reliable source of knowledge about the TDA that I should hire an attorney before contacting the TSBDE concerning the $200 refund I’m demanding. He/she warned that the TDA plays dirty backroom tricks – but then anyone who followed the court transcripts of their futile battle against the National Labor Relations Board, or even their emails concerning the case, can recognize that potential. I just trust that Governor Rick Perry has confidence in the character of the dentists he appoints to the TSBDE. Above all, I trust that all US citizens are free from tyranny – even dentists from Fort Worth, Texas.

    As incredible as it sounds, my unresolved complaint concerning a not-for-profit Austin, Texas corporation I paid dues to for 28 years may allegedly cause me to have to hire a lawyer at some point to protect my right to practice dentistry in Texas. It’s only a $200 refund, but it’s worth much more to me now. I told my friend that I cannot let up, even if it leads to the Governor’s office. Otherwise it will be the snake under the rock unturned that will bite me in the ass.

    Just in case, I’m going to share this spamphlet with my state and national lawmakers as well. Transparency is my friend.

    ——————————————————————————–

    From: pruittdarrell [mailto:pruittdarrell@sbcglobal.net]
    Sent: Wednesday, January 05, 2011 9:48 AM
    To: ‘complaints@tsbde.state.tx.us’
    Subject: complaint against the TDA

    Dear Texas State Board of Dental Examiners:

    I’m writing you because I may or may not have a complaint to file against the Texas Dental Association over a refund of $200 that I firmly believe is due me. I don’t want to bother you with what may appear to be an insignificant amount of money, but I was unable to get a response from the TDA Executive Director before finally filing my complaint with the Austin Better Business Bureau. Unfortunately, the TDA refused to work with the BBB Dispute Resolution Specialist, so that turned out to be a dead end as well.

    I’m now at the door of the TSBDE because the supervisor with the BBB suggested, “That’s the entity that oversees the Texas Dental Association.” I’m not sure if what she said is even accurate. As a TDA member for 28 years, I was unaware of the relationship.

    Any suggestions?

    Darrell Pruitt DDS
    6737 Brentwood Stair Rd.
    Ft. Worth, Texas
    License number TX 13388

    Like

  25. Ethics exercise for TDA Board members

    Rather than again waste my time with another traditional TDA bum’s rush by obediently taking my complaint through TDA-approved ways of contacting TDA leaders – like a good little TDA dentist – I bypassed my appointed state rep in the Fort Worth District Dental Society and took my complaint directly to the TDA Board of Directors – my preferred way, not theirs. Board members are always free to ignore my email if they think that’s the ethical thing to do.

    Hope you enjoy this. Isn’t transparency wonderful? I love the personal accountability openness demands. I almost even included the names of all 21 members of the TDA Board. Maybe next time. Never before have TDA Directors experienced direct, personal accountability to those they serve, and I bet it will take some getting used to for a few of them. Just imagine the rot that has spread throughout the organization due to decades of infrastructure neglect. It’s a wonder it hasn’t already fallen in on itself. Or maybe it did so silently starting years ago.

    ——–

    From: pruittdarrell [mailto:pruittdarrell@sbcglobal.net]
    Sent: Monday, February 14, 2011 12:14 PM
    To: TDA Board of Directors
    Subject: Ethics exercise


    Dear TDA Board of Directors:

    Want to take part in an exercise in business ethics?

    Imagine that before you is a disappointed ex-TDA member who claims his membership was wrongfully suspended by the TDA Council on Ethics and Judicial Affairs, and wants a $200 refund for 2 months of prorated dues. Do you pay the customer’s polite request or not?

    If the committee decides not to refund the money, what is the proper way to share that information with the already furious customer? I suggest an email as soon as possible, and bringing an attitude won’t help your image, but it’s always invited.

    (Please, no phone calls and no certified letters with rubber-stamped signatures).


    D. Kellus Pruitt DDS

    Like

  26. Transparency in Dentistry
    [Letter number 2 to the TDA Board of Directors]

    From: pruittdarrell [mailto:pruittdarrell@sbcglobal.net]
    Sent: Tuesday, February 15, 2011 10:33 AM
    To: TDA Board of Directors

    Subject: Dr. Roberts closes communications 2.15.11

    Dr. Matt Roberts shuts down communications

    “Respectfully I am requesting that you send no more emails to my address”.
    Thanks.
    Matt Roberts

    “Respectfully”? Really, Matt?

    Who are you kidding? Valentines Day or not, don’t you think it’s a little late in our relationship to patronize me with empty pleasantries? Anyone following my struggle against unaccountability in the TDA already knows I’ve been trying to get a response from you in particular for over 6 months – including an invitation to be my Facebook friend that you soundly rejected. And then, as past-President of the TDA, the first thing you have to say to me is “Respectfully I am requesting that you send no more emails to my address.”? How do dentists in Texas come across people with leadership skills like yours? And how is it that at every juncture since hearing my name, you have made the exact wrong decision?

    Instead of acting coy and aloof according to archaic and senseless TDA policy, let’s you and I break with tradition and look at our disagreement openly like two courageous adults with a shared problem we both want to resolve to our mutual satisfaction as quickly and as fairly as possible. Even as a non-member, I will always be involved in the affairs of the TDA because I owe it to my patients whose interests in front of state lawmakers are guarded by people like you – a leader who doesn’t want emails from me

    I think everyone witnessing the TDA’s quietly exploding blunders on many fronts agrees that as far as marketplace conversations go, this one isn’t pretty, and is probably not that interesting to anyone other than me. But if you read the 95 Theses from “Cluetrain” like I recommended, you would recognize this as the default way business has been done for thousands of years outside protected not-for-profit niches like the TDA and countries like Zimbabwe. And the customer is still always right. God bless America, Matt.

    I repeatedly asked you, Mary Kay Linn and Roy Burk to share with me mysterious THREE YEAR OLD evidence of my alleged unprofessional conduct you were obviously freely sharing with each other. So why did not one of you respond to my request, Matt? Did you three really expect me to agree to meet with Roy and his Council of complete strangers in a hotel room without recording devices or attorneys (?) – plus sign a confidentiality agreement to not say discuss the proceedings afterward? And did you also expect me to do so without having a clue what I was to defend? Do troublemakers with post-graduate degrees actually fall for that?

    And since your succinct response in turn provides me a reason to reply, hare’s another stale TDA judicial policy I suggest you leaders have a committee re-write because of changes in the community caused by social media: The way I understand it, Roy Burk officially labeled me “unethical” because I failed to cooperate in the investigation into the complaints against me concerning opinions I posted on the internet. First of all, the specific THREE YEAR OLD complaints were in your hands, not mine. And what is there to “investigate” anyway? What did you want me to do? Read my articles aloud for the Council in a hotel room so you could determine whether I was indeed unprofessional? Or did you have a waterboard in mind?

    I suppose the alleged THREE YEAR OLD complaints against my behavior can be proven to have caused serious harm to unnamed people. Thank goodness my comments will remain long buried and forgotten up until the point when the Board decides it is better to go ahead and provide me the evidence that got this dentist kicked out of the organization.

    I’m afraid our relationship went south quickly because you were dishonest with me from the very start, Matt. And now you still find the courage to use the word “respectfully”? You are incredible. Nevertheless, if other TDA Board members prefer not to receive constructive criticism about how well I think they are representing my profession and my patients, I’ve started a list with Matt’s name on top, and I keep my word.

    Matt asked me not to email anything else to him. I’m easy. If you are reading this, Matt, it is only because a thoughtful friend of yours feels you should know how I responded. Eventually, even your best friends will tire of doing such things.

    Darrell K. Pruitt DDS

    Like

  27. Dear TDA Board members:

    I’m reading “What Would Google Do” by Jeff Jarvis of “Dell Hell” fame. When I read the opening words of the chapter titled “New Ethic,” I thought of the Texas Dental Association and its WWII-era business model. Considering the mistakes you have silently and anonymously endorsed just to get along, versus your customers’ desire to resolve problems quickly rather than draw them out for 5 years or more, I want to share this with you.

    “Make mistakes well — We are ashamed to make mistakes – as well we should be, yes? It’s our job to get things right, right? So when we make mistakes, our instinct is to shrink into a ball and wish them away. Correcting errors, though necessary, is embarrassing.

    But the truth about truth is itself counterintuitive. Corrections do not diminish credibility. Corrections enhance credibility. Standing up and admitting your errors makes you more believable; it gives your audience faith that you will right your future wrongs. When companies apologize for bad performance – as JetBlue did after keeping passengers on tarmacs for hours – that tells us that they know their performance wasn’t up to their standard, and we have a better idea of the standard we should expect.”

    I should remind you that because younger dentists in Texas are more likely to use social media much more than some of you ever will, each day you stay away from the internet, your visibility as leaders diminishes to those you serve. Even though “speaking with one voice” is a well-intentioned goal, irrelevance and anonymity hardly qualify as professionalism. You know what I’m talking about.

    There’s still hope for the TDA though. Jarvis adds, “Being willing to be wrong is a key to innovation.” I think tomorrow’s leaders can learn a lot from Jeff Jarvis.

    Again, thanks for your time,

    Darrell

    Like

  28. Unlike officials in dentistry, US Sen. John Cornyn responds to constituents

    Have you followed my determined efforts to get a piddly $200 dues refund from the Texas Dental Association for wrongfully suspending my membership in October? Here’s an adventure update. As I’ve reported, in early January, the Austin Better Business Bureau ultimately downgraded the TDA’s perfect rating to a B+ because of its failure to even attempt to address its first BBB complaint ever … over $200. I won’t re-hash my struggle for justice here, but for those interested, my still unresolved complaint can be found on the Austin Better Business Bureau Website.

    http://austin.app.bbb.org/complaint/view/90189714/c/p4ew6l

    The Austin BBB’s shocking assessment of the professional organization’s business ethics – including reflexive caution to prospective customers (dental students) – still failed to motivate the TDA to attempt a timely and fair resolution with me. So about a month ago, I notified the Consumer Complaints Division of the state Attorney General office as well as 8 of my state and national lawmakers – armed with the Reliability Report from the BBB which supports my allegation of the professional organization’s unfair business practices.

    http://www.bbb.org/central-texas/business-reviews/dentist-information-bureaus/texas-dental-association-in-austin-tx-90020165#complaint

    In the last two days, I’ve received two letters in response to my pleas for assistance from the government:

    ——

    Attorney General of Texas – Greg Abbott

    February 17, 2011

    Darrell Pruitt

    6737 Brentwood Stair Rd.

    Fort Worth, TX 76112

    Dear Darrell Pruitt:

    Thank you for your recent correspondence regarding a possible violation of consumer protection laws. Consumer complaints help monitor trends, and assist us in determining enforcement priorities as we work to protect Texans from deceptive business practices.

    We will review the information that you have provided, and will contact you if we need additional information. Otherwise, you will not receive further communication from this office regarding your complaint. We do not represent individuals in personal civil matters, and thus cannot take direct action on every complaint.

    In matters of statewide significance, or when substantive evidence indicates that a person or business is systemically violating Texas law, the Attorney General can take action on behalf of the collective legal interests of the people of this state.

    We appreciate your time and interest in preventing consumer law violations and in the affairs of Texas consumers. We rely on citizens like you toe help us enforce the Deceptive Trade Practices Act and other consumer protection laws.

    Consumer Protection and Public Health Division

    Office of the Attorney General

    ————-

    John Cornyn, Texas

    United States Senate

    Washington, DC 20510-4305

    February 18, 2011

    Darrell Pruitt, DDS

    6737 Brentwood Stair Road, Suite 220

    Fort Worth, Texas 76112

    Dear Dr. Pruitt:

    Thank you for your letter regarding your difficulties with the Texas Dental Association. I would like to be of assistance, but it appears that this matter is within the jurisdiction of the state rather than the federal government. Therefore, I have referred your correspondence to your State Senator, the Honorable Jane Nelson.

    I appreciate having the opportunity to represent you in the United States Senate. Thank you for taking the time to contact me.

    Sincerely,

    John Cornyn
    United States Senator

    JC: dss

    CC: The Honorable Jane Nelson

    Texas State Senate

    P.O. Box 12068

    Austin, Texas 78711

    ———

    Personally, I think the letter from Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott’s office is far less significant than the signed letter from the Senator John Cornyn. I had emailed my concerns to three other national representatives and four state representatives. The US Senator had every reason to ignore my letter just like Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison and others did. But Sen. Cornyn must have considered my battle important enough to forward my concerns to Texas Senator Jane Nelson. Though my complaint may have already died at the state AG office, I say for the cost of $200, I am still victorious, but only because Senator Cornyn cares.

    And what timing! Today happens to be dentist day in the state capitol. Before the end of the day, I’ll send this spamphlet to a half-dozen state lawmakers. Some of whom Texas dentists are visiting right now.

    Most importantly, I’ve found hope for the future. I’m your friend forever for this, Senator John Cornyn. I’m ashamed to say that it’s easier to get a response from you than from colleagues who represent my patients’ interests in the state through a B+ company that doesn’t respond to customers’ complaints.

    D. Kellus Pruitt DDS

    Like

  29. Let’s see how well PR expert Jeff Hahn can spin “transparency”

    The Texas Dental Association’s B+ “Reliability Rating” with the Austin Better Business Bureau includes warnings to consumers to be wary in dealings with the TDA – not unlike the warnings the Austin BBB offers to those seeking dental work from certain Castle Dental franchises in the Austin area which also have bad ratings.

    Is this a sign that the TDA might need professional PR help with its image? Today I read an article titled “TDA Works with a Public Relations Firm” in the February 2011 edition of the TDA Today (no byline):

    “The TDA Board passed a resolution at its November 2010 meeting to hire the Austin-based public relations firm Hahn, Texas to conduct a ‘message workshop’ to define the priorities and scope of potential social media campaigns.”

    It didn’t take me long to recognize that the Austin PR firm Hahn, Texas is still shopping outdated solutions to evasive, slow-moving command-and-control dinosaurs in the TDA who are searching for quick, painless ways to avoid accountability that no longer exists. I wonder how much Jeff Hahn clipped the Board for.

    I don’t care who a dozen or so naïve Board members agree to hire. Purchasing a “social network campaign” to solve credibility problems that only straightforward honesty can fix is an obscene waste of Texas dentists’ dues. The unnamed TDA author confirms my suspicions with her description of the “message workshop” that met with Mr. Hahn on January 21:

    “A detailed message platform was created based upon the group interaction and feedback throughout the day. The 37-page document graphically displays potential messages, stakeholders, and priorities for future social media and/or other forms of public relations outreach.”

    Oh how I wish I could have taken an active part of that message workshop. Or at least have been a fly on the wall.

    A “detailed message platform.” “Public relations outreach.” I guarantee that these two manicured phrases weren’t hammered out on a keyboard deep inside TDA Headquarters by an anonymous author hired to write boring stuff. These are creative shock and awe. Mr. Hahn shows an impressive command of the classic use of buzzwords. He’s a poet.

    With his talents, do you suppose he’s likely to tell the TDA to keep their money and simply try transparency with those who support the organization?

    “The participants included TDA Committee on the New Dentist chair Dr. Joshua Austin of San Antonio, president-elect Dr. J. Preston Coleman of San Antonio, Dr. Brad Crump of Dallas, senior director Dr. Karen E. Frazer of Austin, senior director and PR Task Force chair Dr. Lisa B. Masters of San Antonio, vice president Dr. Donna G.Miller of Waco, and parliamentarian Dr. Michael L. Stuart of Sunnyvale. Also present were TDA director of membership and administration Ms. Lee Ann Johnson and staff liaison

    Ms. Terry Jordan. Mr. Hahn will present the message to the TDA Board of Directors at this month’s meeting.”

    For those who have followed my struggle to bring more openness to the TDA, you might recognize the names of officials in the list whom I’ve publicly requested responses from. I have shown that those three and maybe more are capable of doing silly things to evade my questions about unchallenged, archaic ADA policies that directly harm dental patients’ welfare. Straightforward honesty is always best.

    D. Kellus Pruitt DDS

    Like

  30. Buzzwords start at Hahn and PR starts at home

    “A detailed message platform was created based upon the group interaction and feedback throughout the day. The 37-page document graphically displays potential messages, stakeholders, and priorities for future social media and/or other forms of public relations outreach.”

    – Jeff Hahn with Austin PR firm Hahn, Texas. TDA Today, Feb 2011.

    “In just a few more years, the current homogenized ‘voice’ of business—the sound of mission statements and brochures—will seem as contrived and artificial as the language of the 18th century French court.” – Thesis number 15 from “The Cluetrain Manifesto,”

    – Levine, Locke, Searls and Weinberger. 2000

    This morning, I woke up still mulling the idea that TDA Board members hired PR firm Hahn, Texas. It’s so obvious that what the TDA really needs isn’t contrived language and 37 page documents (with pictures) as much as simple, cost-free transparency with those who support the organization. Is it little wonder that the way TDA leaders stubbornly cling to secrecy about HIPAA and EHRs naturally causes even the TDA’s most devoted members to suspect that something shameful is being hidden from dentists and patients in Texas? How can that possibly be Hippocratic?

    More wisdom from 4 men 10 years ahead of their time:

    16. Already, companies that speak in the language of the pitch, the dog-and-pony show, are no longer speaking to anyone.

    17. Companies that assume online markets are the same markets that used to watch their ads on television are kidding themselves.

    18. Companies that don’t realize their markets are now networked person-to-person, getting smarter as a result and deeply joined in conversation are missing their best opportunity.

    19. Companies can now communicate with their markets directly. If they blow it, it could be their last chance.

    So how close is the TDA to blowing its last chance?

    “The BBB suggests you read and understand [the TDA’s] promotional materials and contracts and check company references and licensing, where applicable. If you choose to do business with Texas Dental Association, please let them know that you contacted BBB for a BBB Reliability Report.”

    – Austin Better Business Bureau, 2011

    After observing how naturally Jeff Hahn fit right in with the Board – taking advantage of their traditional fear of membership – I don’t imagine the PR expert is the kind of consultant who would even bother to contact BBB before signing a contract with anyone… much less tell a customer about a bad BBB Reliability Report. Why would Hahn want to attract his customers’ attention to $200 PR scars he is incapable of covering with poetry and a happy face for all the money in Texas?

    D. Kellus Pruitt DDS

    Like

  31. Update on TDA’s “detailed message platform and public relations outreach”

    I can only imagine that entrenched and insulated officials even outside dentistry cringe when I bring attention to the fact that the TDA and other traditionally protected command-and-control entities are like slow-moving dinosaurs in a fast-changing business climate. Nothing illustrates the thick-skinned, cold-blooded reptiles’ weaknesses better than the 6 weeks lag time between carefully selected breaking news about dentistry around Texas and its printed publication in the TDA Today – compared to the thousands (?) of unedited, real-time, ubiquitous marketplace conversations about dentistry that transpire during the 6 weeks the TDA Today sits idle while leaders secretly work with Austin PR firm Hahn, Texas on 37 pages of documents involved in “public relations outreach” (including “graphic displays”).

    On Monday, I reported on an article that was posted in the February 2011 TDA Today newsletter titled, “TDA Works with a Public Relations Firm” with no byline. (See: “Let’s see how well PR expert Jeff Hahn can spin ‘transparency,’” March 1, 2011)

    https://medicalexecutivepost.com/2010/08/15/an-open-letter-to-the-tda-council-on-ethics/#comment-9612

    Since I didn’t come across the Feb 2011 edition of the TDA Today on the internet until the last day of February (and didn’t receive the paper version for the first time ever), I’m unsure when in January the unnamed author wrote the article describing a “message workshop” attended by TDA leaders and at least one representative from PR firm Hahn, Texas. More than likely, at the time the TDA reporter hammered out “Mr. Hahn will present the message to the TDA Board of Directors at this month’s meeting,” she was referring to the February Board meeting that took place at least a few days before I even discovered that the TDA had finally hired professional help for their weathered, B+ image. Bummer.

    That means that it will be at least another month before I’ll be able to read an anonymous TDA reporter’s description of how Jeff Hahn’s PR presentation went over with the Board members. I bet she’s already written about how Jeff Hahn dazzled them. He’s smooth. Even the name of the PR firm, “Hahn, Texas” is catchy and cool. But if you look closely, it’s only a peel-off label. Not a brand.

    Whether I’ll be able to continue to report on TDA’s expensive and futile PR efforts depends on the TDA’s continued publication of articles describing social media PR successes with one-way communications and my continued access to fantasy.

    You didn’t think I was going to pay dues to the TDA for a suspended membership, did you?

    Darrell K. Pruitt DDS

    Like

  32. A few weeks ago, I found it easier to communicate with US Congressman John Cornyn than with colleagues who happen to be Texas Dental Association Board members – proving that our national government hasn’t been as unresponsive as the TDA since before land lines.

    While the rest of the world embraces modern transparency, over a year ago, the TDA Board, under Dr. Matt Roberts’ presidency, voted to shut down the Members’ Forum that I had frequented on TDA.org for years – as well as to block me from the TDA Facebook where I also asked TDA officials direct questions about topics they evade as policy, I assume. As if that barrier to straightforward conversation with me were not implicit enough, about a month ago, instead of responding to a single one of the emails I had sent him over the previous 6 months, the same Dr. Matt Roberts answered for the first time – but only to ask me to “respectfully” quit sending him emails. “Respectfully.” What nerve! Not even US Congressmen can afford to be so rude. Future leaders can learn from the prideful faux pas: Roberts should have quietly and respectfully blocked my emails as junk mail like most people do. That way, I might have never been 100% certain of his animosity, and he wouldn’t owe me an apology for failing to treat me with common decency.

    What was this leader thinking? In my mind, I envision Dr. Roberts looking back over his shoulder – trying to perhaps make a vague point about dignity and honor of the profession while running out the door as fast as his legs can carry him.

    When I was blocked from the TDA Facebook without warning or recourse, the membership director was careful to accuse me of allegedly violating 16 Facebook rules rather than a single TDA rule. (See “Lee Ann Johnson kicks D. Kellus Pruitt DDS off of TDA Facebook,” October 1, 2009).

    http://community.pennwelldentalgroup.com/forum/topics/lee-ann-johnson-kicks-d-kellus

    That leaves only one remaining Facebook portal to the TDA that I can access – the TDA Perks Facebook. Using this venue for my pursuit of accountability in the TDA isn’t going to work out well in the long run simply because TDA Perks Inc. represents the for-profit part of the not-for-profit organization – nothing more. The question is who will be the one to break this news to me and how aggressively will she be this time? To block my access for breaking Facebook rules will be far trickier this time. Sit back and watch. this could be entertaining.

    I think I just heard someone say, “Aw shit! Him again?”

    Dr. Pruitt

    Like

  33. Bloggers threaten authority inside and outside the ADA

    “Most disturbingly, a dangerous self-negating prophecy is at work here. The more Western policymakers talk up the threat that bloggers pose to authoritarian regimes, the more likely those regimes are to limit the maneuver space where those bloggers operate.”

    Evgeny Morozov
    [“The Net Delusion – The Dark Side of Internet Freedom”] 2011

    Evgeny Morozov is a widely recognized authority on the geo-political effects of the internet and the transparency it brings. In the quote from his recent book, he is referring to the Iranian leaders’ brutally effective counterpunch to the US State Department’s giddy and optimistic promotion of the internet as a magical democratizing tool just weeks before the Iranian elections. Morozov argues that in the end, the internet made no difference.

    Perhaps I too am guilty of being overly-optimistic about the representative powers of transparency against smaller not-for-profit domestic regimes. After all, I’ve been trying to get the ADA to answer questions about HIPAA since 2006 and I’m still waiting.

    Not unexpectedly, authoritarians in Iran as well as the US typically react to pressure from social networks by restricting all communications inside and outside the regime the best they can. For example, the ADA.org once featured a well-designed forum for members that offered efficient, uncensored two-way communications between members only. Around 3 years ago, shortly after I started directing my HIPAA questions to ADA leaders instead of stunned members who knew better than to ask such questions, the forum was unexpectedly shut down. Though I admit that I may have put a few high-ranking ADA officials on the spot, I refuse to accept the entire blame for depriving every ADA member in the nation of the benefits of a superb ADA.org forum that was suddenly scrapped without explanation. I seriously doubt I’m the only ADA member out of 170,000 who demands accountability for my dues, but then, it’s hard to tell. If there are others as vocal as I am about my disappointment in the responsiveness of ADA leadership, one would think we would have met by now.

    Currently, the ADA Communications Committee cannot even open a simple Facebook account that has 9778 waiting fans – some for almost 2 years… OK. That waste of ADA resources might be my fault. The Committee knows I’m waiting because I told them so. I even asked the chair to be my Facebook friend. He hasn’t responded.

    Also in giddier, naive times, the Texas Dental Association featured both a forum exclusively for members as well as a Facebook open to the public. A little over a year ago, the forum was shut down and the Facebook was effectively walled off. After I was no longer permitted access to the TDA Facebook in October of 2009, the TDA communications team turned the Facebook into an invisible, exclusive club devoid of meaningful discussions of consequence. But nevertheless, I’m pretty sure it’s a well-controlled site where each member upholds the dignity and honor of the profession and they don’t tolerate portraits to be drawn of them without written permission. Who knows if the members even post messages to each other? Who cares?

    Finally, I suppose after watching the state and national organizations wrestle with the loss of control that comes with openness, my local dental society never even attempted a Facebook. They simply found financing through dental vendors and opened an old fashioned one-way website out of the 1990s – featuring primarily the vendors’ advertisements and moderated by an anonymous, non-responsive official.

    So did my persistent questions indeed spoil it for all other ADA members in the nation starting with local colleagues in my own Fort Worth District Dental Society? If so, do you think had I never pointed out the ADA’s arguable deficiencies in communication skills, the silent leaders on all three ADA levels would have spontaneously sacrificed control and non-dues revenue to become responsive to members’ questions over the last 5 years?

    Was Mahmoud Ahmadinejad elected in a free and fair election?

    D. Kellus Pruitt DDS

    Like

  34. Dear ADA Council on Communications:

    Why did you suddenly close the “Recommendations” portal on the ADA Facebook? In the month that the promising venue for consumers’ concerns was open, it had attracted 18 comments – including my unanswered questions about Americans’ unnecessary risk of identity theft from their dentists’ electronic dental records, which unresponsive ADA leaders continue to recklessly promote.

    How can it possibly be consistent with the mission of the ADA, or even the Hippocratic Oath, for officials to ignore patient safety? What happened to your ethics, ADA leaders?

    D. Kellus Pruitt DDS

    Like

  35. On ADA Censorship

    I’m fed up with anonymous censorship. Tag. You’re it, ADA. You earned it.

    Experience has taught me that when I witness flagrant dishonesty from third-parties in dentalcare, if I don’t bring attention to deception, nobody will, and it will never stop. Stakeholder dishonesty ALWAYS increases risk of harm to dentists and patients. Yet it is dentists – not dishonest 3rd parties – who will be ultimately held accountable for the results of others’ insensitive greed. You know what I am saying is the truth, Doc.

    Even though nobody challenges my conclusions about widespread malfeasance in the dental HIT industry, they are nevertheless abysmally unpopular. Especially among silent dentalcare stakeholders:

    From what I can tell, anonymous, entrenched ADA officials who years ago invested their careers in informatics, the adoption of HIPAA’s NPI numbers and promotion of electronic dental records sales, are responsible for leading dentistry astray for personal gain. The bias been far too obvious for far too long, and I cannot imagine anyone else in the ADA with reason to resort to aggression against customers to protect EDRs from Evidence Based Scrutiny.

    For years, the ADA leaders have abused their power of censorship to block transparency (accountability). Marginalizing dissent is a self-limiting command-and-control people skill which was reliable as long as media was controlled by the giants in the business community, like the ADA. Fortunately, outside the ADA, transparency (like this) brought attention to the shame in censorship for convenience. Callously deleting consumers’ carefully constructed comments became obsolete about the time disappointed Dell customer Jeff Jarvis brought Dell Computer to its knees with a tremendously popular blog called “Dell Hell.” 2005 was the same year Thomas Friedman published “The World is Flat.” Coincidence?

    If you don’t agree, please share with me privately if necessary, a credible reason why an anonymous moderator of the ADA’s New Dentist Now website is justified in censoring even one dentist’s well-founded, evidence-based concerns… As one can tell by now, the only credible reason for the ADA’s aggression against customers is conflict of interest – a common downfall of renegade not-for-profits. It happened inside the AARP bureaucracy. Please tell me why invisible ADA leadership is immune to such temptation?

    The ADA has clearly strayed from its mission statement, and if I don’t point this out, nobody will. The ADA is lucky to have me as a friend – even though I’m outside the organization.

    ———————–

    Dear New Dentist Now (American Dental Association) moderator:

    On May 29, I submitted a comment to this website following Dr. Partha Mukherji’s article titled, “Educating Patients using Evidence-Based-Dentistry.” If you were the anonymous employee who was instructed by a well-insulated superior to censor the comment, you will recall that this dentist and his patients are simply interested in witnessing the principles of Evidence Based Dentistry being applied to well-founded concerns about the increased cost and safety of EDRs over paper dental records.

    An attitude of transparency is clearly more critical to the future of dentistry than protecting half-baked technology. In addition, if there is any doubt about EDRs’ cost and safety, the suspicious absence of evidence makes it unethical to promote their adoption – much less hide the truth from dentists and patients like you did two days ago. Don’t you agree?

    Even though the ADA promises that EDRs – or at least The Dental Record system – will save money, I hope you will remind ADA Business Resources™ that recently, David Blumenthal M.D., the former national coordinator for health information technology, said this about savings from EHRs: “… from the provider’s perspective, there are substantial costs in setting up and using the [EHR] systems. Until now, providers haven’t recovered those costs, either in payment or in increased satisfaction, or in any other way.” (See: “Why Doctors Still Use Pen and Paper -The healthcare reformer David Blumenthal explains why the medical system can’t move into the digital age,” by James Fallows, for The Atlantic, March 19, 2014).

    http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2014/04/the-paper-cure/358639/

    If you hadn’t censored the link, I wouldn’t have to re-post it – so that you can censor it again, perhaps? That’s the tough thing about anonymous censorship. It’s a trap from which one cannot defend oneself. It’s like fighting from the basement.

    Concerning safety, remind your nameless boss that on April 8, the FBI warned that EHRs (including electronic dental records) are becoming increasingly vulnerable to hackers. (See: “Health Care Systems and Medical Devices at Risk for Increased Cyber Intrusions for Financial Gain”).

    http://www.illuminweb.com/wp-content/uploads/ill-mo-uploads/103/2418/health-systems-cyber-intrusions.pdf .

    You might also suggest that indignation is less likely to re-gain customers’ trust than openness. And remember. You started the aggression. Not me.

    D. Kellus Pruitt DDS

    Like

  36. “Make yourselves sheep [Doc], and the wolves will eat you.” – Benjamin Franklin

    D. Kellus Pruitt DDS

    Like

  37. Wake up ADA members

    Wake up, American Dental Association members. You are losing control fast, even as unaccountable stakeholders suck the life out of our profession elsewhere as well.

    Imagine there are two or more ADA members in the same town – all using ADA/PBHS marketing products. Should an increasingly expensive marketing war develop for the same PBHS product line, who profits from the escalation?… PBHS and the ADA.

    This isn’t the first time seductive non-dues revenue has caused the ADA to stray from its mission. On December 6, 2013, the ADA News claimed that The Dental Record provides “long-term savings” without responding to numerous requests for evidence on which the claim is based.

    http://www.ada.org/en/publications/ada-news/2013-archive/december/ehrs-provide-long-term-savings-convenience

    There is no evidence. The ADA’s claim is politely described as a misleading statement intended to persuade misinformed dentists to purchase the only EDR system endorsed by ADA Business Resources™.

    The quiet mission creep started years ago

    ADA’s partnership with CareCredit has become a traditional conflict of interest. Google “CareCredit, complaints.” If ADA members were aware of how badly CareCredit treats their patients, one would think at least a few would have the Hippocratic urge to complain to ADA leaders. It’s shameful.

    Let’s have some transparency. It’s only dentistry, for crying out loud! I once again invite any ADA representative to either publicly defend what appears to be yet another conflict of interest with an advertising firm, or defend your right to be unresponsive to the dental community – even while allegedly representing dentists’ and patients’ needs before lawmakers. The nation cannot afford for the ADA to continue to be an unaccountable drain on healthcare dollars.

    D. Kellus Pruitt DDS

    Like

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