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Newt Gingrich has his Way with the ADA

Dentists should be furious with Gingrich for commandeering the ADA

By D. Kellus Pruitt DDS

On This Week roundtable discussion this morning [Sunday], George Will began his comments about Newt Gingrich, now a frontrunner, by saying that he “embodies everything disagreeable about modern Washington.”

Dentists should be furious with not only Gingrich, but with our inattentive dental leaders as well.


A couple of days ago, Steve Chapman posted “Gingrich’s corruption” on the ChicagoTribune.com.


Chapman writes:

“Conservatives may be able to forgive Newt Gingrich for being an adulterer and for his flip-flops on climate change and mandatory health insurance. They are willing to put those aside because they think he’s shown a fierce attachment to their cause. But, the latest revelations will be harder to digest, because they suggest that his allegiance is for sale.”

He punctuates the condemnation with a quote from USA Today:


“In a series of op-eds stretching over several years, Gingrich repeatedly advocated for various health-care related issues, including electronic health care records, ways to improve the health care sector, and medical malpractice reform without acknowledging the issues were directly connected to members of the Center for Health Transformation, a for-profit think tank he founded in 2003.”

Newt, for a Freddie Mac historian, you’re pretty sly!

According to information that Center for Health Transformation [CHT] spokeswoman Susan Meyers provided USA Today, healthcare stakeholders participating in Gingrich’s “think tank” can expect to pay Gingrich between $5,000 and $200,000, “depending on how many employees attend the center’s meetings and use other services.”

Wouldn’t you just love to ask Ms. Meyers if Gingrich’s think tank members are more likely to realize a return on their investment than their software offers dentists?

I suggested to the editor of the Chicago Tribune to specifically ask ADA President-elect Dr. Robert Faiella questions about the cost and safety of EHRs in dentistry. Then I followed the comment with,

 “And, be sure to tell Dr. Faiella that D. Kellus Pruitt DDS referred you to him. Though we’ve never met, he knows who I am. If you get around to it, you might ask him how much HIPAA compliance raises the cost of dentistry. There are thousands of dentists who would find the President-elect’s answer to that question truly enlightening.”

I Do Find this Fun

Psst…! Chicago Tribune Editor; want a hot tip? I know of a local but far-reaching lead concerning the malignant, corporate corruption described by Steve Chapman in his article. A reporter wouldn’t have to travel far to aggravate employees of a secretive, command and control organization. The ADA National Headquarters is just down the street at 211 East Chicago Avenue. In 2004, the widely-overlooked, not-for-profit’s lack of transparency made it especially vulnerable to Gingrich’s deceptive selling points!

ADA Officials

I think everyone agrees that asking ADA officials reasonable questions about the cost and safety of any high-tech dental product they recommend – including electronic dental record systems – is not unreasonable.

In fact, now that Steve Chapman has shown Newt Gingrich’s profit motives for misleading our dental leaders, caution seems prudent.

This could be ornery-fun if, like me, someone on your staff gets a kick out of asking shy good ol’ boys questions they are hardly ready to answer. I wish the Tribune luck getting past anonymous, unaccountable gatekeepers who shield ADA officials from accountability. I suggest sending your questions to Dr. Robert Faiella. He is not only the unresponsive Chair of the ADA Electronic Health Record Workgroup, but he is the ADA’s latest insensitive President-elect.

Dentists should be furious with Newt Gingrich for commandeering the ADA

Psst…! Chicago Tribune Editor! You interested in another hot tip? I know of a local but potentially far-reaching lead concerning the malignant, corporate corruption described by Steve Chapman in his article exposing Newt Gingrich’s poor manners.

Should you choose to do so, you won’t have to travel far to aggravate employees of a stoic, command and control organization. The national headquarters for the American Dental Association is just down the street at 211 East Chicago Avenue. The widely-forgotten, not-for-profit’s traditional lack of transparency made it especially vulnerable to Gingrich’s deception back in 2004.

I think everyone agrees that asking ADA leaders reasonable questions about the cost and safety of any high-tech dental product they recommend – including electronic dental record systems – is not unreasonable.

In fact, now that Steve Chapman has shown us Newt Gingrich’s motives for misleading our dental leaders, caution seems prudent.

This could be ornery-fun if someone on your staff gets a kick out of asking shy good ol’ boys questions they are not yet ready to answer.

Nevertheless, the ADA will refuse to respond to questions, Editor. Even while I was still a member of the professional organization up until a year ago, it clearly aggravated dental leaders when I repeatedly questioned the cost and safety of EDRs on local, state and national levels of the organization.

I always find evasion intriguing. Maybe you will have better luck getting past anonymous, unaccountable gatekeepers who shield the good ol’ boys from transparency.


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Here’s the official to whom I suggest you futileyly address your questions: Dr. Robert Faiella. He is not only the unresponsive Chair of the ADA Electronic Health Record Workgroup, but he is theADA’s latest insensitive President-elect.


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10 Responses

  1. Has the ADA’s giddy 6 year old commitment to freelance historian Newt Gingrich’s swell dentistry ideas finally matured?

    Even if it was probably a paid ad, the ADA published an article mentioning electronic dental records for the first time in at least 2 years. “The Dental Record now offers online data backup service” (no byline) was posted yesterday on the ADA News.


    “The Dental Record, the only digital and paper-based record-keeping service endorsed by ADA Business Resources, is now offering an online data backup service for ADA members.”

    By accepting money from a company that still sells paper dental records, doesn’t that make the ADA business relationship with The Dental Record inconsistent with information that ADA President Dr. John Findley shared with ADA reporter Judy Jakush in 2008? “The electronic health record may not be the result of changes of our choice. They are going to be mandated, No one is going to ask, ‘Do you want to do this?’ No, it’s going to be, ‘You have to do this.’” I’ve asked numerous ADA officials when this will happen and how will it be enforced but nobody has responded.

    If American dental patients are fortunate, the ADA’s oblique endorsement of paper dental records could be a sign that star-struck ADA leaders are quietly distancing themselves from historian Newt Gingrich’s favorite high-tech ideas he presented years ago in ADA Headquarters to practicing dentists like Dr. Findley – who really should have known better. On the other hand, The Dental Record’s endorsement may be nothing more than a sign that the ADA Business Resources leaders simply respect non-dues revenue these days more than they respect Mr. Gingrich’s half-baked plans that they now realize never had a chance of success outside Headquarters anyway.

    The Dental Record indeed sells a nice, encrypted backup product that beats the hell out of carrying an unencrypted hard drive to and from the office every day. (Did I hit a nerve, Doc? You’ve got to stop that, because if you lose the hard drive, NOBODY will give you sympathy). The Dental Record’s paper products are nice as well and have a proven track record of value dating back to the conversion from expensive parchment and the portability and privacy problems with illustrations of toothaches on cave walls.

    With a foot on either side of the technology divide in dentistry, The Dental Record is perhaps the only HIT stakeholder in the nation which bravely acknowledges the obvious: Since paper dental records continue to be the gold standard for cost and safety, they will be serving Americans much longer than Newt, and less dangerously.

    According to the Ponemon Institute’s 2011 Benchmark Study on Patient Privacy and Data Security, breaches of patients’ Protected Health Information (PHI) increased 10% to an estimated $6.5 billion a year. What’s more, almost 30% of the providers reported that one consequence of data breaches was medical identity theft. When one’s medical identity is stolen, allergies and other important health facts can be imperceptively changed to suit the thief’s customer. Such a life-threatening danger simply cannot happen with paper dental records.

    Considering that 96% of healthcare organizations – including dental offices – have experienced breaches of PHI in the last 2 years, and since these breaches have increased in frequency 32% in the last year, it’s refreshing to see a sign of common sense in the industry. And I assume The Dental Record is especially discerning about those they hire to work for them. Nevertheless, over 46% of the breaches mentioned by Ponemon involved HIPAA Business Associates… BAs not unlike The Dental Record.

    Since several ADA leaders have invested careers in HIT – including President-elect Dr. Robert Faiella – the unaccountable ADA Business Resources officials are unlikely to warn membership that If The Dental Record fumbles 500 or more of their patients’ PHI, it makes little difference to the dentist’s damaged reputation in the community who is at fault. The catastrophe will permanently and significantly harm the dentist because all patients involved must be notified of the danger to their welfare within 60 days, and the breach must be reported by local media as a press release according to federal law within the same period.

    So choose your BAs carefully, Doc. If they screw up, they can only be sued for a limited amount of money before they claim bankruptcy, and the litigation could take years. Meanwhile, according to earlier Ponemon studies, 20% of the unfortunate dentist’s patients will immediately find another dentist, causing the BA’s mistake to cost over $150 per patient in lost revenue. For 3000 patients, that comes to almost a half million dollars. The ADA members I am unable to reach really should really be warned that a careless HIPAA Business Associate can sink a dentist’s career even if the dentist is completely innocent.

    Believe it or not, common sense in healthcare could become even more scarce. Newt Gingrich could be chosen as the Republican candidate to defeat Obama’s reelection… and there’s a chance Gingrich could win.

    D. Kellus Pruitt DDS


  2. Gingrich Abandons EHRs

    “Gingrich moves away from electronic health records”


    Even though several years ago, Newt Gingrich talked the ADA Board into blindly promoting EDRs and HIPAA to members, yesterday, the Presidential candidate and free-lance historian changed his damn mind – leaving ADA leaders on their own to convince members that they should purchase expensive and dangerous electronic dental records. You’re nothing to Newt any more, ADA. You’re used up. Now why don’t you try being honest with dentists about the dangers of EDRs?

    Darrell K. Pruitt DDS


  3. The ADA isn’t national security

    One of my chief complaints about the American Dental Association is its leaders’ notorious evasion of this dentist’s concerns dating back to 2006 about the cost and safety of electronic dental records. Then today, I discovered a notice on the Minnesota Dental Association Facebook Wall announcing that the ADA has just released new information about EHRs. It’s been years:

    “As the concept of electronic health records (EHRs) becomes more common, the ADA posted a new resource, ‘Electronic Health Records – a Primer,’ on their website. The purpose is to familiarize dentists with how the EHR movement transpired, to provide EHR basics, to present the pros and cons, to let you know of the ADA’s activities related to EHRs and to give you additional sources on EHRs.”


    As fascinating as that sounds, here’s the bad news. If like me, you are not an ADA member, you might be disappointed to learn that we are unable to access “the pros and cons” of EHRs and other vetted information. Here’s my offer: If one or more ADA members who visit the site feel they might know less about EHRs than I do, please send me what leaders in the ADA have to say, and I’ll happily fact-check the secret, members-only message line-by-line for the benefit of everyone… except perhaps for those who wanted self-serving interests to remain hidden from scrutiny.

    What has developed here is not unlike Wikileaks, except nobody goes to jail, and I won’t be extradited to Stockholm. I promise, Marci. I’ll be home for supper.

    I’m also interested in reading the ADA’s “activities related to EHRs,” as well as “additional sources on EHRs” that they prefer to keep secret. Doesn’t their behavior make you curious about what else the bureaucrats are hiding? It’s only dentistry, for crying out loud! The undeniable failure of ADA-approved EHRs to protect dental patients’ privacy will make it especially hard for leaders to defend their choice of secrecy.

    According to the latest Ponemon Institute study, identities are being stolen from even dental offices with increasing frequency. Since ADA officials have proven to be incapable of taking the first step of acknowledging EHRs’ threat to dentists and patients, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that around 96% of dentists’ practices have suffered a data breach in the last 2 years.

    I imagine dental patients who are aware of the ADA’s weakness agree that they deserve to witness every word ADA officials are telling the nation’s dentists about EHRs. The ADA’s intent to keep secrets from vulnerable dental patients whose welfare is at risk is simply an egregious betrayal of trust that must not be tolerated in healthcare.

    For my part, all I need is one disillusioned ADA member to even anonymously share with me what ADA officials want you to keep hidden. Together we’ll ultimately figure out who was really responsible for tempting the not-for-profit professional organization to try deceive the nation. I think it was Newt Gingrich. Transparency will marginalize that distraction. Should be fun to watch.

    D. Kellus Pruitt DDS


  4. More on the ADA and Newt Gingrich

    ADA leaders can no longer hide from this dentist

    I think I know why over the years Newt Gingrich learned to change his mind about his ideas, often.

    Yesterday’s article concerning Gingich’s half-baked EHR plans he sold to ADA leaders who should have known better, was not only picked up by the Medical Executive-Post today but it has quickly risen to the 5th most popular article on a site that has over 350,000 readers.


    If an ambitious reporter really wanted to aggravate Newt Gingrich, while at the same time – just for grins – make a handful of ADA leaders hunker down, Gingrich should be asked if EHRs are doing as swell in dentistry as he promised ADA leaders. I could feed off of carnage from that collision for a week!

    It’s no wonder Gingrich is trying to distance himself from earlier fantasies about why dentists need EHRs. He’s a clever historian.

    D. Kellus Pruitt DDS


  5. Gingrich betrays the ADA

    Newt Gingrich betrays the leadership of the American Dental Association

    Only days ago, Newt Gingrich changed his mind about the safety of EHRs – leaving dentistry’s leaders who invested careers into high tech fantasy on their own to try to defend the ever increasing cost and danger of digital over paper dental records. I suspect several of them feel as betrayed as the trusting dentists and dental patients who were indirectly deceived by Gingrich through gullible leadership.

    Not unlike the former CEO of Dr. Gordon Christensen’s CR Foundation who recklessly posted on Dentistry iQ that EHRs offer dentists a “high return on investment,” stakeholders in the ADA also started running into problems with the truth long before Gingrich abandoned them.


    For years Gingrich was in the business of pushing the interests of EHR stakeholders, who up until now at least, have paid as much as $200,000 a year for membership in his Center for Health Transformation “think tank.” I suspect the Center is the reason why Gingrich adopted enthusiasm for EHRs, and it didn’t hurt that the business venture provided millions of dollars he needs to win the Republican nomination… But not before suddenly dumping EHR promises over privacy concerns that also can no longer be ignored by CR Foundation and ADA leaders.

    One sales call Mr. Gingrich made years ago while touring the country on EHR stakeholders’ dime, was to ADA Headquarters in Chicago. Newt can certainly mesmerize dental leaders. I understand that the free-lance historian appeared animated with patriotic zeal for (still unconfirmed) advantages EHRs offer dental patients over paper records. In addition, it was child’s play for him to excite both ADA employee and volunteer officials about the millions of dollars the ADA can earn in non-dues income: There’s the CDT Code royalties that are pure mandate profit, as well as increased sales of copyrighted HIPAA compliance materials that dental patients cannot avoid paying for if their dentist maintains their personal information on an EHR. It appears that oblivious ADA members have enjoyed several years without increases in dues when they should have been investigating why. Now their patients’ EHRs are selling for $50 each on the black market and are sold by the thousands.

    For those who don’t understand the seductive temptations that accompany mergers of for-profit businesses within non-profit, member-supported organizations like the ADA, non-dues income is especially dangerous for untethered bureaucracies because it can be used to fund out-of-control growth and conflicting interests – sort of like a cancerous tumor with its own blood supply.

    Because of the frailties of human nature, unaccountability in secretive organizations often ends like a Ponzi scheme – with a huge cost for those who are the last to know. Just ask the AARP members who were recently victims of AARP-sponsored insurance fraud. [See: “BEHIND THE VEIL: The AARP America Doesn’t Know – Investigative Report prepared by Reps Wally Herger (R-CA) and Dave Reichert (R-WA),” March 29, 2011].


    “AARP, formerly known as the American Association of Retired Persons, is a tax-exempt non-profit membership organization for those aged 50 years and older. As such, AARP has long been regarded as a protector and advocate of the nation’s senior community.

    What is less known is the extent to which AARP operates as a massive for-profit enterprise and how that conflicts with its legal requirements to ‘primarily operate to promote the common good and social welfare of a community of people.’” – From the Executive Summary

    I believe it was Gingrich’s skills (plus federal money) that enabled him to persuade regulation-fatigued ADA Delegates to dig deep and prove their patriotic dedication to HIPAA by tricking most ADA members into signing up for voluntary (but permanent) National Provider Identifier (NPI) numbers, without ever having to answer why. Normally stoic dentists in the House of Delegates made a huge mistake when they uncharacteristically voted to endorse a history professor’s half-baked ideas about dentistry – even while ignoring at least one dentist’s warnings about the risks to dental patients’ privacy – which the professor has since noticed.

    What do you want to bet that hanging on an office walls of more than one of the ADA Delegates is a photo of the dentist grinning proudly while shaking the hand of the former Speaker of the House? Now that Newt abandoned the dental leaders to deal with dentists’ devastating data breaches the best they can, I wonder if any words of regret have yet been expressed in the boardrooms of the CR Foundation and the ADA. I also wonder if Newt feels he shares any responsibility at all with leaders of the CR Foundation and the ADA for the worst blunder in dental history.

    D. Kellus Pruitt DDS


  6. The end of EDR fantasies

    There are over 175,000 dentists in the nation, and nobody dares to publicly discuss with me the increasing danger of EHRs in dentistry. Have you ever before witnessed so many adults with post-graduate degrees act so childish?

    Doc, unless you are emerging from a coma, it shouldn’t be news to you that there is something dangerously wrong with accountability in the electronic dental record industry. Though very few (one dentist) are currently able and willing to openly discuss the maturing-ugly malfeasance, I think everyone here knows the shameful secret I’m talking about: The industry’s neglect of dentists’ needs in favor of power and/or profit from the sale of EDRs to same dentists is second only to the compounded neglect of clueless, trusting dental patients by both dentists and unresponsive, unaccountable stakeholders.

    What makes the deceit even more egregious is that dentists who are increasingly scared of data breaches are increasingly less likely to warn their patients of such very real dangers… Until perhaps HIPAA forces notification within 60 days of a thousand or so ex-dental patients to properly inform them that their unencrypted Protected Health Information (PHI) – including perhaps medical identities – has been fumbled. If the HIPAA fines and ex-patients’ class action lawsuit doesn’t bankrupt the unfortunate dentist, the required press release describing the incident will crush any remaining reputation in the community. So even if the dentist does the right thing and ethically informs patients about a stolen computer, the practice will never fully recover. Here’s what should make 175,000 dentists furious: Stakeholders who profit from lousy, dangerous EDRs will not be held accountable. When things go bad, you are on our own.

    For example, Ryan Beardall, the Support Operations Technical Mentor at Henry Schein Practice Solutions responded to a question I posted on the Dentrix Facebook on December 27 concerning the increasing danger of breaches of dental patients’ identities. After distancing his employer from the accountability by pointing out that Dentrix software isn’t electronic dental records (?), he became surprisingly defensive before attacking the historical safety record of paper dental records: “As a software vender, Dentrix cannot enforce the good or bad management policies employed within the practice any more than a paper-and-pen supplier can ensure the best management of their products.” He offered that the security of EDRs is a vast improvement over paper dental records because dentists allegedly leave patients’ charts lying around where anyone interested can look through them.

    So if any Covered Entity or Business Associate out there feels he or she can respond without risking an obscene HIPAA fine for “willful neglect,” I have a serious, important question: Do you think half of the data breaches from dental offices are being reported? A simple yes or no response may be the most meaningful thing you’ve said publicly in years, Doc. At least privately, you know what I’m talking about.

    D. Kellus Pruitt DDS


  7. I’ve Been Quoted

    “Years before Newt Gingrich distanced himself from his lobbying for electronic health records (EHRs) on behalf of paying members of his Center for Health Transformation think tank, he penned what would become a popular mantra for other health IT stakeholders as well: “Paper kills.” I wonder how long ago Gingrich recognized that even though he created a really catchy slogan, it still wasn’t clever enough to hide the truth: Stolen medical identities have proven to be far more dangerous than paper cuts.”

    I’ve been quoted by ICMCC
    International Council on Medical & Care Compunetics


    D. Kellus Pruitt DDS


  8. Newt – A Tale of Lust and Power

    Darrell – The romance between Newt Gingrich and the health wonks, and Gingrich’s makeover as a leader with ideas as much substantive as political, began after the appearance of his 2003 book, Saving Lives & Saving Money.

    The book gave credibility and visibility to a set of ideas being talked about in the health policy world about using health information technology to improve medical care.


    But, I am not sure it is working out the way planned.



  9. Thanks, Kari:

    “But, I am not sure it is working out the way planned.”

    Let me help you with that. If it were working out as planned, Newt would be taking credit for the $6.4 billion dollars that data breaches have cost healthcare in the last year.



  10. “Electronic Health Records Were Supposed To Cut Medical Costs. They Haven’t. – Despite the promise that electronic health records would cut billing costs, savings have yet to materialize, according to a major new study by researchers at Harvard Business School and Duke University.”

    By Roberta Holland for Forbes, March 7, 2018.



    The problem: Automation may help on some record-keeping tasks, but it also imposes its own costs. “In fact, more costs were shifted over to doctors in that they had to enter more codes into the so-called automated system,” Kaplan says. “Turns out that that gets them annoyed, and it distracts them from dealing with the patient.”


    EHRs are a scam. They were a scam long before 2007 when Newt Gingrich promoted them in a book titled “Paper Kills.”

    Darrell Pruitt DDS


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