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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.”

Click to access 070731p08.pdf

Insightful or clueless dentist?

Conclusion

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***

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?

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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?

Conclusion

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Journal of the American Dental Association [Letter to the Editor]

ADA Image Tarnished?

[By Darrell K. Pruitt; DDSpruitt]

Dear Editor,  

This is a sincere letter which I am sure you will agree should be published in the October 2009 edition of the JADA. Today is July 19, 2009. I am allowing for the six weeks minimum time it requires for letters to appear in print following their selection for publication. It will be posted on the Internet immediately. In spite of this, I trust you will eventually agree to publish it in spite of your archaic rules. Otherwise, by November, history could show that the editor of the JADA arguably denied representation of dental patients’ interests at a most critical time in the history of the profession. That would be regrettable for your own professional reputation as well as for the JADA’s. As an ADA member, if my concerns are ignored, I will hold you publicly accountable for an explanation for a long time.

Public Laundry

From now on, we will agree to wash our laundry in public because otherwise it doesn’t always come clean. You can call the pressure I bring unprofessional if you want, but following the ADA News’ public exhibition of their shoddy ethics this week, it would be foolish to use my methods as an excuse to deny my access to membership. As I am certain you are aware, there were three revisions of “ADA/idm to phase out service” on ADA News Online (7/10, 7/13 and 7/16). I not only welcome a wide-open public discussion about ethics in journalism with representatives of the JADA, but I encourage it. We both know that the ADA needs clean laundry now more than ever before in its history.

ADA Business Enterprises, Inc.

For members who haven’t heard, the 2 ½ year old joint venture of our ADA Business Enterprises, Inc. (ADABEI) with Intelligent Dental Marketing – a Utah-based private business – fell apart in late spring of this year. Months later, our ADA leaders are still less than transparent with membership about what went wrong. I’ve been in business long enough to know that if mistakes by employees are not revealed and discussed, they are bound to happen again and again. And, it’s not like the leaders of the ADA were not warned. They just didn’t take heed. By late 2007, many knowledgeable people involved in the dental industry easily recognized the faults in the partnership between our non-profit professional organization and a for-profit Utah advertising company. In hindsight, anyone can see that ADA/IDM’s slogan, “Image is everything,” clearly betrays an attitude inconsistent with both the mission of the ADA and the Hippocratic Oath. Nevertheless, even the spirit of the slogan was regretfully adopted by the leaders of the ADA’s Business Enterprises, Inc. Now it is the image of the entire ADA that is suffering the damage.

ADABEI

I personally began questioning the accountability of the tricky ADA/IDM business model over two years ago when the profits from ADABEI had officials excited about avoiding the need to raise membership dues last year. Not unexpectedly, in the atmosphere of euphoria, nobody in Chicago wanted to acknowledge the concerns of a handful of alert members. We were cast aside as troublemakers. So how critical is the risk? With massive, unprecedented health care legislation imminent, this is the worst time imaginable for our stoic, image-conscious officers to lead us to nation-wide embarrassment.

Following the Money

The surrender to such temptations for leaders of non-profit organizations is not unprecedented. Do you know why the dues for the American Association of Retired People (AARP) have been kept so low? Not unlike the ADA, the non-profit AARP reaps profits from insurance policies and other products that its leaders sell to membership – even using misleading ads in AARP dues-supported publications. However, unlike dues money, vendor “kickbacks” don’t depend on accountability to members. A few years ago, the profits derived from agreements with vendors predictably became the lifeblood for AARP’s self-perpetuating bureaucracy – eventually influencing their lobbying efforts. Since non-profits like the AARP and the ADA are traditionally respected by lawmakers who like huge campaign donations, a non-profit entity’s lobbyists can be tempted to quietly represent vendors’ interests at members’ expense. Sometimes they get caught.

Lost Confidence

Almost a year ago, the AARP lost valuable member confidence when the organization was forced to suspend sales of “limited benefit” health plans backed by UnitedHealth Group (of Ingenix fame). Sen. Chuck Grassley said the plans which leave policyholders vulnerable to tens of thousands of dollars in costs were sold by the AARP to naïve and trusting members using misleading marketing tricks – not unlike those used in the ADA’s promotion of ADA/IDM. Sen. Grassley sent a detailed letter to CEO Bill Novelli demanding answers to questions about health insurance plans promoted to over a million dues-paying AARP members. Grassley told USA Today reporter Julie Appleby that “Insurance is supposed to limit your exposure to the potentially high cost of a serious illness and these plans do the opposite.” (Nov 7 2008).

http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/2008-11-07-aarp-insurance_N.htm

Is AARP-level accountability as good as it gets?

I say no. Attention ADA members – It is my opinion that our leaders are losing the control of our professional organization. The recent failure of ADA/IDM isn’t the first glaring sign of trouble in Headquarters. Over a year ago, the executive director, Dr. James Bramson, was suddenly fired with no explanation. In fact, then President Dr. Mark Feldman commanded that the reasons for the firing will not be disclosed. Obediently, ADA leaders have so far maintained firm control of the top secret information which if released could somehow endanger dental patients (?). Because Bramson’s severance pay came from my dues and not out of Dr. Feldman’s pocket, I think I deserve to know more details. Otherwise, this mistake could happen again and again.

The ADA/IDM disaster is also not the only ADABEI embarrassment I see on the horizon. It is my opinion that CareCredit is also showing signs of silent desperation. On July 9, the officials of the wholly-owned ADA subsidiary purchased an ad on dentalblogs.com titled “Press Release: CareCredit Adds 24-Month, No-Interest [sic] Payment Plan” (no byline).

http://www.dentalblogs.com/archives/administrator/press-release-carecredit-adds-24-month-no-interst-payment-plan/

Even though I approve of the benevolence in the idea of extending credit to those with worsening dental problems – especially during these hard financial times for patients – the anonymous CareCredit (ADA) representative who posted the ad failed to respond to my timely and important question: “If the Red Flags Rule is not delayed for the third time in three weeks, how will it affect those who offer Care Credit?”

Assessment

Nor did he or she respond to my follow up response on July 13. “On July 9 at 4:54 pm, I submitted a sincere question concerning how the Red Flags Rules will affect ADA members who sign up for CareCredit. Instead of posting it with the promise of an answer, you regretfully chose to censor an ADA member. Today, July 13, I have a second and third question: Why did you ignore my first one and who is your boss?”

Conclusion

So far, I’m still waiting for responses to all three questions. I trust you will treat my concerns with more respect, Editor.

Conclusion

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ADA / IDM Breakup – You Heard it Here First

Will CareCredit be the Next ADA Subsidiary to Fail?

I saw a warning sign last week.

By Darrell K. Pruitt; DDS pruitt

My aggressive writing hobby has understandably brought me in hard contact with public relations people whose job is to insulate good ol’ boys from accountability – even if it means taking hits for the team and staining their reputations. Let’s face the fact we all of us involved in public relations know but don’t dare discuss: Depending on the ethics of one’s employer, PR professionals are sometimes used up like expendable pawns. And avoiding bylines for press releases no longer shields anyone from accountability.

I often silently stalk PR employees (Gasp!) on the Internet who work for sleazy companies just to better understand them. I’ve discovered that it is not hard to find and exploit the weaknesses of those whose heart isn’t behind selling their employer’s product. Sometimes all it takes is a fistful of transparency to cause defenseless representatives to completely shut up, and that alone makes our neighborhood safer. Committee-approved methods of evasion are as simple-minded as committees, so it doesn’t take long to figure them out – exposing the shameful ethics of those who sign off on the use of lame, institutional trickery.

For example, here’s a very popular, traditional PR trick: If a huge business entity such as the ADA has bad news they can no longer keep secret from customers, professional PR-types will advise their bosses to post bad news on a Friday to soften the blow. When traditional leaders find that they can no longer sidestep accountability, delaying accountability until a busy news day is the next best thing one can purchase. Even though the tricks seem simple, there are people who study evasion science as part of obtaining a degree in marketing.

So how good is the ADA’s PR team? How much time did ADA members’ employees buy for leaders before they had to quietly acknowledge an expensive failure?

On July 10, a Friday, “ADA/idm to phase out service” was posted on ADA News Online without a byline. (Another PR trick: When the ADA posts an orphan without a name, it means someone is ashamed of the bastard.)

http://www.ada.org/prof/resources/pubs/adanews/adanewsarticle.asp?articleid=3655

ADA Business Enterprises, Inc. (ADABEI), a wholly owned ADA subsidiary, announced today that ADA Intelligent Dental Marketing (ADAidm) of Salt Lake City, one of its joint venture companies, is no longer able to provide marketing services to its customers due to significant production and operational difficulties.”

Now the ADA must refund money to members in a depressed market. Could this embarrassment for our professional organization have been quietly avoided instead of delayed and magnified? I personally started seeing clues of CEO Trajan King’s reticence long ago, and warned ADA leaders in Chicago about my concerns. Nobody ever responded to my numerous, sincere warnings.

These are highly critical times on Capitol Hill and our patients trust us to represent their welfare. Dentists are their last hope, because there is nobody else who cares. Practicing dentists are solely responsible for assuring the benevolence of our niche market, and we are losing control publicly. Disasters like the ADA/IDM make the ADA look foolish to Congress, and word gets around fast on the Internet.

This morning, I read an article posted on The NY Times titled “Study Measures the Chatter of the News Cycle, “ written by Steve Lohr.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/13/technology/internet/13influence.html?_r=1

Researchers at Cornell used powerful computers and sophisticated algorithms to accomplish an unprecedented analysis of news articles and comments on the Web during the 2008 presidential campaign. They studied the characteristics of the news cycle by scanning 1.6 million mainstream media sites and blogs for repeated phrases and tracking the history of their appearances.

Lohr writes: “The researchers’ data points to an evolving model of news media. While most news flowed from the traditional media to the blogs, the study found that 3.5 percent of story lines originated in the blogs and later made their way to traditional media.”

The study also shows that traditional news outlets are still quicker than blogs by 2.5 hours. I should now point out that the Cornell study was performed using data from very popular, huge news items collected during a presidential election – not hidden, niche news like dentistry’s.

If you are involved in the dental industry, where are you more likely to read time-sensitive news about our profession first? In an ADA publication, or from D. Kellus Pruitt; DDS?

Whereas traditional media is 2.5 hours quicker with popular topics, I scooped traditional ADA News Online by three weeks when I posted “ADA/idm – A bad union after all?” on the PennWell forum.

http://community.pennwelldentalgroup.com/forum/topics/adaidm-a-bad-union-after-all

So what about the warning sign I saw concerning CareCredit – a wholly-owned subsidiary of the ADA?

When Trajan King, former CEO of the defunct ADA/IDM partnership refused to acknowledge my questions, I immediately suspected something was terribly wrong with the union of my non-profit professional organization and his for-profit Utah advertisement company. Six months later, my fears were confirmed. Now then, I hope it grabs someone’s attention that I see the same warning signs coming from the ADA’s CareCredit business. Note this date: July 13, 2009.

On Thursday, July 9, CareCredit purchased a press release on dentalblogs.com: “CareCredit Adds 24-Month, No-Interst [sic] Payment Plan” (no byline).

http://www.dentalblogs.com

Since dental problems only get worse, I consider the idea of extending credit to dental patients is a benevolent thought during these hard financial times. I also say that the offer appears to have been put together out of generosity and not greed like the ADA/IDM disaster. However, at 4:54 pm on the same day that CareCredit’s press release was posted, I submitted a difficult question for the anonymous author of the piece who works PR for CareCredit – and is an ADA employee.

“If the Red Flags Rule is not delayed for the third time in three weeks, how will it affect those who offer Care Credit?”

I was given the hopeful response “Your comment is awaiting moderation,” but days later there is no sign that my question is being considered at all. Please, oh please ask yourself: What could CareCredit leaders be hiding and how much will it end up costing ADA membership?

I will not be ignored by anyone. Today, I submitted two follow-up questions on dentalblogs.com. I considered warning the anonymous moderator that this is being simulposted on other blogs, as well as described on Twitter, but then I thought, why spoil the fun? Let the leaders of the ADA Business Enterprises, Inc. (ADABEI) get word of my e-Attack from their colleagues. Won’t they be surprised!

Oh, and for those who are wondering what happened to ADA/IDM CEO Trajan King – he quit.

Dear Dentalblogs.com moderator:

On July 9 at 4:54 pm, I submitted a sincere question concerning how the Red Flags Rule will affect ADA members who sign up for CareCredit. Instead of posting it with the promise of an answer, you regretfully chose to censor an ADA member. Today, July 13, I have a second and third question: Why did you ignore my first one and who is your boss?

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Defining Current Dental Terminology [CDT®] Codes

What they Are – How they Work

By Staff Reportersdhimc-book1

OMAP Unique Procedure Codes*

The HHS [Health and Human Services] Office of Medical Assistance Program’s [OMAP] unique procedure codes were originally listed in the appropriate service guides. The maintenance of these codes was the responsibility of OMAP. These procedure codes were reviewed as needed and deleted either when a program no longer exists or when other Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System [HCPCS] codes are created which fully describe the service. Most of the unique codes were created to meet the needs of specialized services or programs. OMAP’s unique procedure codes were all five character configurations with the following alpha/numeric combinations: four numeric/one alpha (e.g., 7300Y); three numeric, two alpha (e.g., 206EP); two alpha/three numeric (e.g., BA311); or three alpha/two numeric (e.g., VIS01).

Current Dental Terminology (CDT procedure codes)

The American Dental Association’s (ADA) Code on Dental Procedures and Nomenclature is contained in the CDT-3 user guide. The maintenance of these codes is the responsibility of the Council on Dental Benefit Programs with consultation from: Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, the Health Insurance Association of America, the Health Care Financing Association, National Electronic Information Corporation, and the American Dental Association recognized dental specialty organizations. The ADA updates the user guide approximately every five years. CDT codes are five-character, alpha-numeric configurations (e.g., D2110). Contact the American Dental Association to obtain a current copy of the CDT-3 Users Manual.

* Note: Due to HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) requirements, Medicare Local codes and OMAP Unique codes were replaced with national standard procedure codes. 

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ho-journal8

Assessment

For more terminology information, please refer to the Dictionary of Health Economics and Finance.

www.HealthDictionarySeries.com

Conclusion

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Reflections on Evidence Based Dentistry

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My Search for Truth – 2009

[By Darrell Kellus Pruitt; DDS]pruitt4

Do the leaders of the American Dental Association [ADA] encourage critical thinking by membership?  Or; do they fear my opinion of what appears to be destructive and self-serving institutional bias in my ADA that favors businesses peripheral to the care of dental patients, and at patients’ expense?  I think it is clear that there are a few good ol’ boys imbedded in the fat ADA who prefer to hide behind a comfortable, but obsolete command-and-control ADA business model.  The mighty ostrich stuck its head in the sand. Then along came a noisy, gasoline-powered weed-whacker. Never saw it coming.

Evidence-Based Dentistry Champion Conference

On May 29-30, the First Annual “Evidence-Based Dentistry (EBD) Champion Conference” will be convened in ADA Headquarters in Chicago.  Just like last year, the meeting with a brand-new name is sponsored by Procter & Gamble and The Journal of Evidence-Based Dental Practice with Dr. Michael G. Newman as its Editor and Chief.  Even though this effort is enthusiastically supported by large corporations with products to sell, like P&G, managed care insurance companies such as Delta Dental, and electronic health records vendors such as Allscripts, the power of the reclusive stakeholders is further amplified by bureaucrats inside and outside the ADA – siphoning off my professional organization’s credibility.  That is my opinion based on actual contact with a few characters in this group. 

Evidence-Based Dentistry: 3rd International Conference

I attended the meeting last year when it was called “Evidence-Based Dentistry: 3rd International Conference” – I assume that in the last year, it lost its “international” status, and now caters only to “EBD Champions” (cheerleaders).  Last year, they were also looking for Champions for their EBD ideas, but the bias was better concealed.  I reported on the meeting in an article called “Evidence-Based Dentistry – My search for truth.”

http://community.pennwelldentalgroup.com/forum/topics/evidencebased-dentistry-my

Shortly into the meeting on May 4, 2008, I could tell by a show of hands from attendees that as a dentist who actually puts his hands in patients’ mouths as a regular part of his job; I was virtually alone in the auditorium.  This was confirmed by the volume of “Boo” directed at me later that day.  The Champions who had been selected months before the conference had already met that week and they were pumped. One could smell the zeal for EBD – whatever it means. 

Journal of Evidence-Based Dental Practice

In his introduction to last year’s conference, Dr. Michael G. Newman, Editor in Chief of the Journal of Evidence-Based Dental Practice, told attendees that P&G is providing all the information about EBD to all the dental schools in the nation. I will be honest with you.  Being booed last year for addressing what I think is the inferior quality of managed care dentistry during the final discussion period may have affected my attitude about EBD. In addition, being subsequently blocked from responding to a hurt and angry managed care discount dentistry broker by an ADA employee named Dr. Ron Zentz also disappointed me in my ADA.  Dr. Zentz told me “This is not the place for this” as he stood between me and the microphone. Later I could not get Zentz to concede the indisputable fact that quality is proportional to reward. When I pressed him for an answer to the managed care question, he stoically repeated exactly what the insurance representative said: “Whether the dentistry is managed care or not, it makes no difference in the quality of care.”  Here is something cute:  The event was an “Evidence-Based” conference on the second floor of the Headquarters of the ADA, and Dr. Zentz is employed in the ADA’s “unbiased” science department.  Get it?  Now that’s funny!

Trouble-Makers Don’t Get Invited Back

My bad behavior last year may have something to do with why I was not invited to attend this year, even though I worked hard on the prerequisite essays which I will share with you later.  Nevertheless, I have to warn that ADA-approved propaganda from P&G doesn’t strengthen this dentist’s confidence that our leaders are protecting the future of dentistry, friends. Take a look at what healthcare parasites have quietly done over the last decade or so to physicians’ practices with the blessing of the AMA, and counter to the interests of patients.  Those same parasites were in ADA Headquarters on May 4, 2008.  Our house at 211 East Chicago Avenue reeked. 

EDB Vagueness

Like the HIPAA Rule on which Newman’s favorite interpretation of EBD leans hard, the beauty of EBD is in its vagueness. Both HIPAA and EBD can mean damn well anything one needs them to mean, and stakeholders with lots of influence have their fingerprints and drool all over the plans.  For example, Dr. Robert Ahlstrom, a stakeholder and one of the speakers at last year’s conference uses HIPAA to support EBD and vice-versa according to closed-circuit, cause-I-said-so science that he evidently makes up as he goes.  It is difficult for me to imagine that Ahlstrom’s eleven reasons that HIPAA benefit dentistry – which he presented as testimony for HHS Secretary Michael Leavitt over a year ago – were approved by a committee. I think Ahlstrom made up his reasons while waiting in the hall for the NCVHS meeting to begin. If the reasons were indeed approved by an ADA committee, I extend my sympathy. It must be difficult for challenged people like that to safely find their way home from work every day. 

(See “HIPAA and Dentistry – About Ahlstrom’s Controversial HIPAA Testimony”) 

https://healthcarefinancials.wordpress.com/2009/01/08/hipaa-and-dentistry/

Where is the Evidence?

A few hours before Dr. Ahlstrom, an ADA NHII (National Health Information Infrastructure) Task Force member, took the podium, Dr. Newman pleaded with dentists to always ask, “Where is the evidence?”  I know Dr. Ahlstrom heard Dr. Newman’s words because Ahlstrom was sitting on the first row, next to ADA Senior VP Dr. John Luther, who is in charge of the ADA Department of Dental Informatics – a major beneficiary of EBD and HIPAA.

***

dental

***

Buzzwords 

I have come to the conclusion that EBD is a buzzword for a scheme supported by avaricious stakeholders who seek to regulate dentistry using healthcare IT.  I assume it will be left to Dr. Robert Ahlstrom to present the plan to the next administration in his special, fanciful way.  It is clear to me that the ADA is using Ahlstrom to lead American dentists down a computerized, cook-book path initially promoted several years ago at ADA Headquarters by none other than Newt Gingrich.  The path ends with the NPI, NPPES and Ingenix-style Pay-for-Performance instead of free-market competition and consumers’ desires.  Like Ahlstrom, EBD is little more than a tool.

Living with Rejection

I learned a couple of days ago that my application for this year’s conference was rejected.  A PDF letter signed by Dr. Michael Newman, Editor and Chief of the Journal of Evidence-Based Dental Practice stated that the competition for seats was intense this year, and that I just didn’t have what the selection committee was looking for in a “champion” – even though one can see by their essay questions that the EBD stakeholders desire dentists who can draw audiences. 

My Responses 

Below are my responses to this year’s questions that I posted on September 23, even before I hooked up with PennWell, and the ME-P.  I’m even more widely read now. 

Q: Are you involved in the treatment of populations with limited access to care?

Counseling people who have big problems and little money is part of the job. Almost every day I help patients make hard decisions that affect their appearance as well as health. Compromises are always difficult, especially when it involves children. I do my best to provide my patients with the information they need concerning their specific problems in a personal manner. In that respect, I am no different than almost all other dentists I know.

Q: Given the opportunity, how do you plan to disseminate the information and knowledge of EBD?

For dentistry-related news, I am arguably the most popular commentator on the Internet. If I am convinced that EBD is in patients’ best interest, I can promote the concept to a wider audience than anyone else in dentistry and it will not cost a thing. I can use any number of websites in addition to a private network of colleagues that has been in place for almost three years.  

If I leave the conference suspecting that stakeholders ambushed EBD to manipulate dentist-patient relationships for selfish reasons, I will work even more effectively to undermine it. Fair is fair.

Q: Are there any specific examples that demonstrate your ability to be a good disseminator?

Apart from having an increasingly popular column about healthcare matters on this ME-P https://healthcarefinancials.wordpress.com/?s=darrell+pruitt+dds ), I am always seeking new and innovative ways to attract attention to dentistry. I am very good at what I do.

Here is a simple demonstration of my talent: Googlesearch “Darrell Pruitt DDS.” You will discover that I’ve got what they call “googlejuice.” I create interesting content. People you need to reach read me.

The question is; does the ADA have the confidence to subject EBD to my critique? On the other hand, does the ADA have the courage not to?

Since I will not be allowed to keep colleagues in my neighborhood as informed in real-time and in detail as they should be, I invite one or more “EBD Champions” to describe what they learned following the Conference in May right here on this ME-P and PennWell forums.  And as always, I invite Dr. Robert Ahlstrom to discuss what he plans to do with my dental practice. 

Assessment

Tomorrow, as part of “Transparency and the ADA – a dissecting experiment,” I intend to post another question on the EBD link following my weekly report.  I will ask if Dr. Robert H. Ahlstrom will be addressing the audience before having my name put on a short-call list to replace late-cancellations.  Depending on the answer, I may go camping instead.

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Conclusion

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Problems with HIT in Minnesota

The Continuing eHR Saga

By Darrell K. Pruitt; DDSpruitt2

If you were one of fifty governors who decide to jump off a cliff because flying looks so cool, would you proudly race to be the first to grab the air? Blissfully, Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty is way ahead of the pack. He’s so confident in healthcare information technology [IT]  that he doesn’t even have to watch where he’s going – leaving him free to smile for the cameras. Now that’s cool.

Initial Ambitious Plans

Attention ME-P readers! Please gather around to watch a world-class belly-flop of a gutsy statewide eHR mandate. A few years ago, Governor Pawlenty had ambitious plans to lead the nation with an interoperable eHR system that was touted to include all providers – that means Minnesota dentists as well. Your landing could be vertical and abrupt, Pawlenty.

CCHIT Approved? 

In fairness to a brick, back in 2005 Pawlenty could not have predicted the economic collapse that began three years later, nor could he have known about the subsequent $19 billion eHR money that would be made available to providers – but only if they purchase healthcare IT software that is approved by the Certification Commission for Healthcare Information Technology (CCHIT).

CCHIT Laggards 

Even if the descending Pawlenty could have predicted the recent changes in the terrain, including the CCHIT qualification, he would have never guessed that to this day in March of 2009, the certifying commission would still be yet to certify even one single electronic dental record – thereby blocking Minnesota dentists from copious federal help in their efforts to become compliant in Pawlenty’s brave new state.

“The government is actually looking for places to spend the money where there is a strong likelihood of success stories”.

Mike Ubl

Executive Director Minnesota Health Information Exchange

[Owned by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota, HealthPartners, Medica, Fairview Health Services, UCare and the Minnesota Department of Health].

Link: http://www.twincities.com/ci_11830085

And that after this is accomplished, and the brave new world begins – When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins”.

-Rudyard Kipling

The CCHIT qualification was incredibly bad luck for Pawlenty’s nifty ideas of interoperability with all providers. When Minnesota dentists discover that they must pay $30 thousand for software they don’t want in order to practice in paradise, some may just swallow their pride, sell the portable ice-fishing house, and move to slow-moving Iowa.

Dentists, MDA and the ADA News

Why the surprisingly quick landing? If Pawlenty actually gave any consideration for dentistry at all, just like everyone else, he must have assumed that dentists’ concerns about digital records would be adequately attended to by the Minnesota Dental Association [MDA] and the American Dental Association. It was easy to make that mistake because of the enthusiasm for eDRs radiating from ADA Headquarters and expressed in confident terms in ADA News Online articles that have since stopped appearing.  Most eDR enthusiasts naturally assumed that by now the majority of dentists in the nation would be saving money, lives and trees with paperless practices. However, the ADA has been nowhere to be found for a long time. As it turns out, the professional organization has still not yet even contacted the certifying commission. We know this, because when I personally contacted CCHIT a few weeks ago, it caught them off guard. I was told that I was one of the first to ever mention dentistry.

Link: https://healthcarefinancials.wordpress.com/2009/03/02/cchit-is-prejudiced-and-lacks-diversity-%e2%80%93-an-indictmen

No Endorsements

To show how far the ADA has slipped, and as an example of its flagging influence on membership, I doubt that more than 5% of American dentists have made the ADA-endorsed leap from paper to digital. Why should they? It makes good business sense to wait, and most dentists are not techno-silly. Consider this; Even if a dentist is happy with a costly eDR system that demanded unanticipated time and effort to learn, in less than a year, CCHIT could determine that his or her favorite system is not worthy of certification because it does not integrate with physicians’ one-size-fits-all, CCHIT-certified eMRs. Tough luck, Minnesota dentists! Uncertified eDRs will be outlawed, while favored, large healthcare IT companies in Madison and Chicago will profit and pay more state taxes with Twin-Cities’ dollars. By then, all the stimulus money will be gone and lawmakers will no longer be giddy about eHRs due to the imminent explosion of data breaches everywhere caused by moving too fast. No return on investment [ROI] there. 

Assessment 

Still, Tim Pawlenty could have never known, yet away he sails with a stupid grin on his face.

Conclusion

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Collaborative Dental Health 2.0 [Upcoming Three Part Series]

Hippocratic Dental Consumerism

By Darrell K. Pruitt; DDSpruitt

Even before the downturn in the economy sent dentists scrambling for new sources of patients, these were already times of revolutionary changes in the marketing of dental care. To those who are alert, the Internet-enabled chaos signals a rare opportunity if one sides with consumers rather than tradition. It takes confidence to welcome transparency, and it looks increasingly bad when dentists resist accountability in traditional ways – like suing. Yelp; because of a bad review that was posted on the patient referral site. That is the second stupidest thing one can do. Being perhaps a geeky student of the Internet, and sort of nosey, I have been tracking the popularity of dentists’ comments on a few Internet venues for quite a while, because of my own curiosity.  I also get ornery enjoyment from reporting to my friends my opinion of what is really happening in my profession that nobody else talks about. My hobby could be called fuzzy data mining based on a platform of precise subjectivity. 

For more intricate and dependable real-time information, I choose the surveys reported on The Wealthy Dentist Blog, hosted by Jim Du Molin. They are the best around.

Link: http://www.thewealthydentist.com/blog/

American Dental Association

The ADA also provides nice, formal presentations of even more accurate information, but it is often dated and not ground-level relevant like Du Molin’s studies. Until the Internet came along, gathering useful information about dentists’ prevailing attitudes outside one’s professional circle was virtually impossible, and dentists are well aware that even within these circles, colleagues’ opinions at dental meetings are sometimes intentionally misleading – perhaps mine are less reliable as well at social gatherings. I never talk this frankly in real life. 

Dental Information Silos 

Talk about information silos!  No less that 85% of dentists in the nation are owners of solo private practices (ADA News), and only 2% have bubbly personalities (my guess). Dentists’ quiet isolation, which is arguably favored by what I would guess would be around 85% of dentists in the nation, is a unique characteristic in modern healthcare that is part of a unique labor-intensive art – performed to exacting tolerances in an unpredictable environment – intricate work that most consumers know little about. Yet the ultra-personal accountability welcomed by almost all solo dentists is the way even neighborhood physicians once practiced their trade for thousands of years before modern stakeholders became involved. 

Hippocratic Oath

Is working alone with one’s chosen staff the most efficient way to provide dental care?  No way.  But for me personally, maintaining complete control of the care I provide from start-to-finish for those who depend on me is safer for them and a better business model for me than any alternative I have seen yet.  In my opinion, there is no room in the Hippocratic Oath for less than 100% devotion to the patients’ interests. More than two thousand years later, it is called consumerism, and it is 180 degrees counter to stakeholders’ interests, preferred provider lists and universal healthcare. And, it probably comes as no surprise that last October I observed that the most popular comments that were posted shifted from news about the benefits of high-tech inventions in dentistry to advice for how to survive in a tough economy. The whole nation is concerned about finances, and getting one’s teeth cleaned is commonly sacrificed when things get tough. Don’t even mention implants and crowns.

2009 Recession 

At the risk of sounding ostentatious as well as pedantic, I will offer that (for the time being) my practice is not suffering from a downturn that many of my local colleagues are enduring. In fact, I am actually busier than I was this time last year – and I made more profit in 2008 than ever before in 26 years of practice. I am also discovering that patients I lost long ago are returning now that they no longer have provider lists. They are also finding that my prices are not so high after all (in fairness, I should add that it has been longer than usual since I have raised fees – except for full gold restorations, of course). Since I am not in the business of selling advice, I am not afraid to also admit that my practice still experienced a couple of slow periods in the late fall – directly attributable to the initial shock of the downturn.  But I cannot say that the slowdown was any worse than other times in the last few years, and it certainly hasn’t been as bad as what dentists in Michigan must endure. My sympathy and best wishes go out to my colleagues up north. Things could all turn for the worse for me tomorrow, but for right now, I’m somewhere between surviving and thriving, for what that is worth; nothing spectacular, but solid.

Three Part Series 

This posting, which I hope some readers find useful, will be a multi-part series. I haven’t worked everything out yet, and my outline is subject to change, but here is what I have in mind.

In Part One, I’ll describe how my active participation in DR. Oogle (doctoroogle.com) has not only kept my name off of preferred provider lists, but it has also improved the quality of care my staff and I provide, as well as improved the working atmosphere in the office. Transparency will do that.

Then, in Part Two, I will offer my suggestion how one can use DR. Oogle or similar patient referral site to “graduate” from managed care into fee-for-service dentistry without losing patients or profit. As a naughty teaser, let me hint that over three years ago, I offered the idea as an article for the monthly newsletter of my local dental society, only to be refused publication for the first time in over two decades of submissions. I was told that an official nixed it as a transparent “scheme” to harm managed care dental companies, and was therefore below the standards of ADA publications.

“Image is everything”

-ADA/Intelligent Dental Marketing

Finally, in Part Three, I’ll describe how a good offense is also a handy defense – perhaps even in defense against malpractice litigation. Hopefully, a few sincere readers will consider playing to win rather than playing not to lose. And, for those who still don’t see my point, I will reveal how to play not to lose. Fair is fair.  It costs from $625 to $1995 per year, and in my opinion, is the stupidest thing one can do. Hope you enjoy this three part series. 

Assessment

Editor’s Note: This post was first published on PennWell. Dr. Pruitt blogs here and at others sites. His insights are applicable to most all medical specialties.

Conclusion

And so, your thoughts and comments on this Medical Executive-Post are appreciated.

Speaker: If you need a moderator or speaker for an upcoming event, Dr. David E. Marcinko; MBA – Publisher-in-Chief of the Executive-Post – is available for seminar or speaking engagements. Contact: MarcinkoAdvisors@msn.com  or Bio: www.stpub.com/pubs/authors/MARCINKO.htm

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ADA “Transparency” in Health IT [Part I]

It all Depends on the Meaning of the Word  

By Darrell K. Pruitt; DDS

http://community.pennwelldentalgroup.com/forum/topic/show?id=2013420%3ATopic%3A14837

It is my hope that the walls are beginning to close in on the American Dental Association’s healthcare IT hobbyists and other ambitious stakeholders who stoically tolerate harm to dental patients for the common good and personal power.  Supporting HIPAA is the most egregious blunder ADA leaders have ever made.  As the effort collapses because of natural reasons, those who hang onto absurdity the longest will lose the most.  Fair is fair. Those who recklessly promoted HIPAA have done long term damage to my professional organization.  I cannot let this continue. 

“Seal of Approval” 

I will show you irrefutable evidence that the once strong ADA, whose legendary “ADA Seal of Approval” was highly respected in the marketplace before it went on sale, is now a vulnerable empty shell.  In an age when transparency trumps talking points, the ADA is hemorrhaging credibility every time President Dr. John Findley opens his mouth.  In his address to the House of Delegates a couple of days ago, Dr. Findley said that he “values and promotes ‘transparency,’ which he defined as an openness and honesty that helps build and maintain trust”.

http://www.ada.org/prof/resources/pubs/adanews/adanewsarticle.asp?articleid=3272

Evidence-Based Dentistry

After two and a half years of asking questions to virtually every officer in the ADA, including Dr. Findley, I can tell you with certainty that ADA leadership still just does not get it.  It is impossible for one to use the word “transparency” as a buzzword successfully.  The term is not vague like “Evidence-Based Dentistry,” which of course can mean whatever stakeholders need it to.

“Intelligent Dental Marketing?” 

We must face this fact, friends:  Between the ADA’s chronic paralyzing fear of trouble from the FTC and the progressive loss of respect in the marketplace, the ADA can no longer offer adequate and uncontaminated representation for dentists and their patients.  In my opinion, a large part of the problem is that the ADA has gone commercial.  I might tolerate ads on our website, but they better be expensive and few. However, did you know that the ADA is in commercial partnership with an outside PR firm to sell practice marketing to ADA members?  It is called “Intelligent Dental Marketing.”  I think it is an atrocious idea.

Assessment

Here is a question about intelligent marketing which nobody will answer:  If two ADA members, the only two dentists in a small town, both use IDM, which one will get the better deal?

Conclusion 

I say that if the ADA has to sell stuff to dentists to keep dues low, that is an unethical business arrangement which favors third parties and does nothing to improve patient care.  I think downsizing is a far better idea. 

What do you think? All comments are appreciated.

[Part II will be posted soon]

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