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Did ADA Leaders Mislead Congress about EDR Security?

 Electronic Dental Records [EDR] Security?

By Darrell K. Pruitt DDS

“Terrifying Truth: Ransomware is Everywhere – At its basest level, ransomware is a form of kidnapping. Hackers effectively ‘kidnap’ a business’s data and information systems and threaten to destroy it unless the business pays a ransom for its safe return.”

Todd Lewis for Nibletz [October 24, 2017]
http://www.nibletz.com/security/ransomware

Lewis: “Healthcare and hospital networks are prime targets for these attacks. A patient whose medical service provider is unable to access critical patient information can be in a life-or-death situation unless the healthcare network is rapidly recovered and brought back on line. Cyberattackers take advantage of this urgency and realize that hospitals have greater incentives to pay a ransom to recover their systems and operations. Moreover, hospital networks operate on a 24-hour basis and are rarely taken down for maintenance and updating that might include patches for security holes. Ransomware attacks frequently take advantage of holes in networks that have not been patched with regular updates, and hospitals and medical centers are more likely than businesses in other industries to have failed to close those holes.”

ADA: “Dentists will have a more complete data set of the patient they are treating, enabling better care.”

Dr. Robert H. Ahlstrom, representing the American Dental Association and by default, all US dentists, in testimony before the National Committee on Vital and Health Statistics (NCVHS) on the benefits of EHRs in dentistry. His testimony is featured in an official document titled “Testimony of the American Dental Association, National Committee on Vital and Health Statistics Subcommittee on Standards and Security July 31, 2007.”
https://www.ncvhs.hhs.gov/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/070731p08.pdf

Insightful or clueless dentist?

Conclusion

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Contact: MarcinkoAdvisors@msn.com

***

EHRs, ADA Leaders and Conflict of Interest

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A decade later ….?


By D. Kellus Pruitt DDS

In July 2007, Dr. Robert H. Ahlstrom, representing the American Dental Association and by default, all US dentists, testified before the National Committee on Vital and Health Statistics (NCVHS) on the benefits of EHRs in dentistry.

His testimony is featured in an official document titled:

“Testimony of the American Dental Association, National Committee on Vital and Health Statistics Subcommittee on Standards and Security July 31, 2007

http://www.ncvhs.hhs.gov/070731p08.pdf

Here are the ADA’s 11 selling points which Dr. Ahlstrom presented to HHS in support of electronic dental records:

  1. Dental office computer systems will be compatible with those of the hospitals and plans they conduct business with. Referral inquiries will be handled easily.
  2. Vendors will be able to supply low-cost software solutions to physicians/dentists who support standards-based electronic data interchange. Costs associated with mailing, faxing and telephoning will decrease.
  3. All administrative tasks can be accomplished electronically. Dentists will have more time to devote to direct care.
  4. Dentists will have a more complete data set of the patient they are treating, enabling better care.
  5. Patients seeking information on enrollment status or health care benefits will be given more accurate, complete and easier-to-understand information.
  6. Consumer documents will be more uniform and easier to read.
  7. Cost savings to providers and plans will translate in less costly health care for consumers. Premiums and charges will be lowered.
  8. Patients will save postage and telephone costs incurred in claims follow-up.
  9. Patients will have the ability to see what is contained in their medical and dental records and who has accessed them. Patient records will be adequately protected through organizational policies and technical security controls.
  10. Visits to dentists and other health care providers will be shorter without the burden of filling out forms.
  11. Consumer correspondence with insurers about problems with claims will be reduced.

Not one of Ahlstrom’s 11 promises has been fulfilled. None …. Total failure!

A decade later, it has become clear that the nation was misled by ambitious leaders of the American Dental Association who have since enjoyed power and/or profit from members’ misinformed adoption of digital records.

***

***

 In my opinion, the grandest deception in the history of dentistry is clearly a result of a secretive not-for-profit corporation’s conflict of interest. This very important business lesson would have been lost to history if I hadn’t been documenting the true progress of EHRs in dentistry.

I (alone?) recognized very early that paperless was doomed simply because the needs of dentists and their patients was secondary to implementation of third-parties’ half-baked, selfish ideas. And I got spanked for that by the same ADA leadership behind Ahlstrom’s tainted testimony to Congress.

My ADA membership was suspended, and I still have not been told why. All the President of the Texas Dental Association would tell me is, “You know what you did.”

Assessment 

To this day, dental EHRs are both increasingly less secure than paper dental records as well as increasingly more expensive. What’s more, they offer no tangible benefits for the patients. ADA leadership failed my profession.

Transparency is accountability.

Conclusion

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***

The Benefits of Dentistry Unhurried

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And Medicine, too?

[By Kellus Pruitt DDS]

1-darrellpruittThe hidden truth about managed care dentistry: Unhurried dentistry is generally of higher quality than hurried dentistry; anyone up to challenging this economic law?

Dental Handiwork

Dental care includes intricate handwork performed to exacting tolerances in sensitive mouths of nervous patients. When dentists compete on discounts (fast dentistry) instead of quality (slow dentistry), fear of bankruptcy fuels the race to the bottom with clueless, vulnerable patients.

 “‘Slow medicine’ strikes a chord – Nearly 500 people — doctors, nurses and ordinary people with an interest in health care — attended a forum Thursday to hear Dr. Victoria Sweet, a physician and author, talk about how ‘slow medicine’ could improve the quality of life of patients. Sweet is Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine at University of California, San Francisco.”

Melinda Morales for the Visalia Times-Delta

[Visalia, California – October 16, 2014]

http://www.visaliatimesdelta.com/story/news/local/2014/10/17/slow-medicine-strikes-chord/17400861/

Morales writes: “When Sweet told the audience she had once wondered to herself, ‘If I could do one thing to improve the quality of health care, what would it be?’ and then followed it up with her solution, ‘I would put time back into the hands of physicians,’ the audience burst into applause.”

***

Insightful or clueless dentist?

***

Enjoy the Teeth

Dentistry is far more enjoyable for all concerned when it is not rushed in order to squeeze out a profit from unsustainable pay offered by unaccountable, conniving discount dentistry brokers … like CIGNA.

“Cigna to launch rating system that ADA calls scientifically flawed – Cigna will launch in 2015 what it calls a cost-effectiveness designation program that rates in-network dentists based on cost and utilization patterns. These ratings will appear as stars within Cigna’s provider directory. According to Cigna, dentists who receive a three-star rating have a fee schedule that results in greater potential cost savings within their geographical area.”

Kelly Soderlund

[ADA News, October 13, 2014]

http://www.ada.org/en/publications/ada-news/2014-archive/october/cigna-launches-rating-system-that-ada-calls-scientifically-flawed

Good reporting, ADA News

This isn’t the first time CIGNA has been busted for selling intentionally misinformed, captive patients discount healthcare with no quality control – depriving Americans of the opportunity to choose providers which most patients prefer. Seven years ago, CIGNA and other insurers were reprimanded for employing Ingenix, UnitedHealth Group’s wholly-owned ranking algorithm designed to drive clients from out-of-network providers to cheaper in-network providers:

“Attorney General Cuomo Announces Agreement With Cigna Creating A New National Model For Doctor Ranking Programs – NEW YORK, NY (October 29, 2007) – Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo today announced an agreement with one of the nation’s largest health insurers, CIGNA HealthCare (NYSE: CI), as part of his industry-wide investigation into doctor ranking programs. Under the agreement, CIGNA will enhance its doctor ranking program, fully disclosing to consumers and physicians all aspects of its ranking system. Additionally, CIGNA will retain an oversight monitor known as a Ratings Examiner (‘Rx’) who will oversee compliance with all aspects of the agreement and will report to the Attorney General every six months.”

Eric T. Schneiderman

[Office of Current NY State Attorney General]

http://www.ag.ny.gov/press-release/attorney-general-cuomo-announces-agreement-cigna-creating-new-national-model-doctor

See also, “UnitedHealth Group Shenanigans – Ingenix’s Lack of Independence”

Dr. David Edward Marcinko MBA

[Medical Executive-Post, January 16, 2009]

https://medicalexecutivepost.com/2009/01/16/unitedhealth-group-shenanigans/

As you can see, history reveals that Cuomo fruitlessly reminded CIGNA that price is only one variable in “cost-effectiveness.” As dentists and their patients know, correcting careless mistakes is always more costly than doing the job right the first time with the best materials for reasonable pay.

***

slow down

***

CIGNA Speaks

Cigna spokeswoman Karen Eldred tells ADA News,

“Cigna remains committed to introducing enhancements to the mycigna.com’s dental network directory that provide customers with cost [but not quality] transparency and insights when using their dental benefits.”

If anyone in the ADA is allowed to consider non-member dentists’ advice, I would recommend publicly confronting CIGNA with an easy to document comparison of the popularity of CIGNA’s one, two and three star, cost-effective dentists with competitors using doctoroogle.com – arguably the most transparent dentist-rating site in the nation.

http://texas.doctoroogle.com/

Anyone who is interested in performing the simple, consumer-friendly study is almost certain to discover a direct correlation between the amount of time dentists can afford to invest in their work and their preference by patients in the community.

More:

Assessment

Have you ever experienced a cost-effective injection of local anesthetic?

Hurried Care?

Conclusion

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Is the Texas Dental Association too Authoritarian?

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About Employee Mary Kay Linn

[By Darrell Kellus Pruitt; DDS]

Texas Dental Association Executive-Director Mary Kay Linn seems to think that TDA members owe her respect for some reason. I don’t see it. You get what you give TDA employee Mary Kay Linn.

Link: TDA response to Pruitt

I’ve attached the partially answered, authoritarian response from the TDA. I think it speaks for itself. And, I posted the following Twitterpoem today.

Mary Kay Linn, the executive director of the TDA just doesn’t get it.

@theTDA, I received the responses to some of the 30+ questions that were invited by the TDA. Linn’s evasion is transparent and regrettable.

@theTDA, when a Judicial Committee member delivered the PDF, he said Linn told him to tell me that “This is it. No more questions.”

Assessment

He added that: “There will be no follow up responses and that the very busy TDA staff spent far too much time on my questions already.” 

TDA Executive Director Mary Kay Linn, this will not end well for you.

Assessment

How responsive was the TDA; just right, under or overwhelming when pushed? Or, was Dr. Pruitt over-the-top? Does he expect too much from his professional association? Does almost every DDS except him know that the “emperor has no clothes?” Or, is he one member with critical thinking skills instead of blind [misplaced] faith?

Finally, is there an analogy here for the AMA, ADA, APMA, ANA, AOA, etc? Are the aging command-control medical association monopolies crashing down in the era of internet connectivity and professional networking? Do we need new norms and etiquette models of communication? Please opine.

Conclusion

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I Want Obama Transparency for the ADA

No More Hiding Places

By D. Kellus Pruitt; DDS

Today, Ed O’Keefe of the Washington Post posted “New Obama Orders on Transparency, FOIA Requests.”

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/federal-eye/2009/01/_in_a_move_that.html

O’Keefe writes:

“In a move that pleased good government groups and some journalists, President Obama issued new orders today designed to improve the federal government’s openness and transparency. The first memo instructs all agencies and departments to ‘adopt a presumption in favor’ of Freedom of Information Act requests, while the second memo orders the director of the Office of Management and Budget to issue recommendations on making the federal government more transparent.”

Soon, other ADA members are going to bluntly ask Pres Dr. Ron Tankersley:

“If the President of the United States has the courage to face those whom his actions affect, why oh why doesn’t the President of the American Dental Association support transparency in the non-profit organization that belongs to dues-paying members?” After all, ADA members pay more than $1000 per year for ADA services.”

“If you are an ADA leader, pay close attention. This is the future I warned you about that far too many of you avoided out of convenience. As you can read below in his memos, Obama promises, “The Government should not keep information confidential merely because public officials might be embarrassed by disclosure, because errors and failures might be revealed, or because of speculative or abstract fears.”

Who will be held accountable for the ADA/IDM blunder… among other bone-head ideas?

Obama promises that his administration:

“Will work together to ensure the public trust and establish a system of transparency, public participation, and collaboration. Openness will strengthen our democracy and promote efficiency and effectiveness in Government.”

I think openness will do the same in healthcare if we can move a handful of entrenched ADA leaders on down the road. They are weighing us down with their selfish special interests.

Assessment 

Did you hear that, Dr. Ron Tankersley, President of the American Dental Association? There are simply no more hiding places for the anonymous ADA hobbyists who elected you. I’m sure the long run of irrelevant ADA Presidents was fun before electricity and social networks, though.

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Top Ten Signs the ADA is Hunkering Down

About the American Dental Association

By Darrell K. Pruitt; DDS

Today, I especially cherish my right as a dues-paying member of the ADA – and as an American – to share my blunt, un-requested opinion as if you were a colleague, a patient or disinterested lawmaker.

For by early 2011, such liberty could warrant official sanction by the yet to be revealed national enforcer of the 2010 ADA Code of Conduct … if by then they find someone in the ADA capable of publicly announcing my crimes with a straight face, just before I receive a good talking-to about professionalism. If the future Ethics Enforcer would like me to help burnish his or her brand new gunslinger reputation quickly and deeply, I will gladly link any ADA official’s name to mine, and we’ll be companions for as long as I feel our union helps bring even more transparency to my profession. I’ve been an SEO assist for several ADA leaders for a couple of years already. Just ask ADA President Dr. Ron Tankersley – or – just Google his name.

Getting Spanked? 

I’m not too worried about getting spanked. What can the ADA possibly do to me? Besides, officially, nobody will utter as much as a peep because of the transparency thing. Unofficially, ADA officials will privately send more attaboys because they trust me. They know by now that I never betray friends. I’m selectively transparent – which is my right but not yours, non-profit ADA. I think we both know, Dr. Tankersley, that I’m not the only one who thinks a minority of ADA leaders are playing naïve, childish and costly games.

Then again, it could just be my persistent, egocentric stage of emotional development that causes me to imagine that Resolution 82 is pointed directly at the nose of D. Kellus Pruitt; DDS.

“Patient rights, ethics considered” was posted on Nov 16 on the ADA News Online, and was written by Jennifer Garvin 

http://www.ada.org/prof/resources/pubs/adanews/adanewsarticle.asp?articleid=3843

Garvin writes, “Res. 82 asks that the following principles be considered for an ADA member Code of Conduct:”

1. Members will maintain high standards of integrity and conduct their dealings as members of the Association in a professional manner.

2. Members will treat other members and Association officers, trustees and staff with courtesy and respect, and shall refrain from conduct that is unreasonably disruptive or is harassing.

3. Members will respect the decisions and polices of the Association and will not engage in conduct that is disruptive to Association staff or causes the Association to expend an unreasonable amount of time or effort to address.

4. Members are encouraged to use proper Association channels of communication to address differences.

5. Members will comply with all applicable laws and regulations, including but not limited to antitrust laws and regulations.

6. Members will respect and protect the intellectual property rights of the Association, including any trademarks, logos and copyrights.

7. Members will not use Association membership lists for personal solicitation purposes.

8. Members will not use all or part of Association lists, including membership directory, online member listings, conference attendees and education course participants for selling, prospecting or creating a directory or database.

9. Members will treat all information furnished by the Association as confidential and will not reproduce materials without the Association’s written approval.

10. Members will avoid conflicts of interest.

Assessment

Garvin concludes: “The resolution also states that a proposed member code of conduct, together with proposed sanction and enforcement procedures, be presented for consideration by the 2010 House of Delegates.”  It is probably earthly unprofessional to make light of authoritarian bluster, but this really reminds me of the John Landis film “Animal House” when Dean Wormer put John Belushi and other ΔΤΧ Fraternity misfits on double secret probation. ADA Trustees shouldn’t take themselves so seriously. It looks silly to those watching. Or then again, keep it up. After all, it looks silly to those watching.

Toga Party! Dentures 2 for 1! Just ask for Dr. Ron.

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Dr. Pruitt Invites Dr. Cohen to Discuss eDRs

Where is the ADA’s Representative?

By Darrell K. Pruittpruitt; DDS

He or she should have been talking with me long ago. I have the audience and I’m giving you that opportunity I promised you, Dr. Donald Cohen.

Rest Easy

I’m aware that I possibly make you uncomfortable, considering how “unprofessionally” I’ve publicly treated lesser devoted HIPAA consultants. Rest easy! As soon as I read your article, I could tell that you’re different from your colleagues I’ve met. First of all, like me, you’re a dentist. That’s very important. Secondly, your credentials are impressive and reveal that compliancy is not a hobby for you like it is for others. Nobody can accumulate a history as impressive as yours without professional dedication. The last point, and the most important of the three, you seem honest about HIPAA compliance.

A Professional

It wasn’t lost on me that in your article you were professionally non-judgmental of the Rule. Instead of trying to justify a defenseless law, your job is to help dentists comply with the mandate as it is written or risk significant fines. Like tax-collecting, someone’s got to do the job of delivering bad news. You have a legitimate purpose to be involved in the dental industry, even if what you teach makes little difference at all if a dentist’s records are breached. I argue that following the inevitable bankruptcy from a breach, HHS fines are hardly a deterrent. And that is the issue: eDRs containing patient identifiers are too risky for the marketplace.

Electronic Dental Records

I think you would have to agree that eDRs are going nowhere until records are safe, and encryption is not going to be sufficient to protect dentists against dishonest employees. Ambitious bureaucrats in waiting, such as HIPAA consultants Travis Criswell, Sharalyn Fichtl, Kelly Mclendon and Olivia Wann – not a dentist among them – hooked their careers to the HIPAA mandate to avoid the tough sales jobs competition otherwise demands in the free market. All four share an authoritarian misconception that since it is the law, dentists will be forced to purchase their products – even if they are utterly senseless. I think we both know that they are oh so wrong. I promised earlier to give you an opportunity to publicly support truth in eDRs if you so choose. Perhaps we could rationally discuss in front of everyone how dentists can wriggle free of the approaching mess. There is no pressure here, other than this is public invitation. Since you haven’t made unrealistic claims about eDRs like others have, I am not interested in hounding you further. I simply ask you to consider responding to the article I posted in your name on PennWell titled “Dr. Donald Cohen’s opportunity.”

http://community.pennwelldentalgroup.com/forum/topics/dr-donald-cohens-opportunity

Assessment

I sincerely appreciate the respect you have shown me, and I pledge to afford you the same. Of all the consultants I have approached with my concerns about HIPAA and eDRs, you are the first to even acknowledge a problem simply by posting my concerns. I think you have the courage to face the realities of the marketplace, while others foolishly think dentists are a captive market.

Note: I submitted this to be posted following an August 28th press release posted by HIPAA consultant Dr. Donald Cohen titled, “Dentists Should Know about New HIPAA Rules.”

http://www.dentalblogs.com/archives/administrator/dentists-should-know-about-new-hipaa-rules/comment-page-1/#comment-35672

If you are interested in discussing the topics of interoperability with fax machines, de-identified eDRs and security that surpasses paper records, in front of you is the opportunity to address your largest audience yet, Dr. Cohen. I’m self-syndicated.

Note: Do you realize that if Dr. Cohen takes me up on the offer, this will be the first time two dentists have openly discussed eDRs on the Internet? Do you think it’s about time?

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