November 1999 Newsletter

President's Message || MCDS Board of Trustees / Committee Reports

Treasurer's Report Detail || NJDA State Board of Trustees Report

Membership News || Articles || Announcements


President's Message

There is power in numbers. This age old maxim still has relevance in our high-tech society, and that was illustrated by a recent story that I heard on a local public radio station. The radio piece focused on the organization known as S. E. T. I. , which is an acronym for the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence, whose efforts were dramatized in the recent movie “Contact”.
In reality, the scientists at SETI are faced with the enormous task of analyzing massive volumes of raw data that streams into thousands of ultra-sensitive antennas, aimed at the heavens, that intercept minute radiowaves, gamma & x-rays, and infrared frequencies. The overwhelming volume of data was straining the capacities of the SETI supercomputers, so the scientists came up with a novel solution: anyone with a desktop PC and internet access can log onto their website and download a “screensaver” program which will perform analytical calculations on a small “chunk” of the raw data while your computer is idle. The program prompts you when the analysis is completed, and then you e-mail the “number-crunched” data back to SETI. In effect, harnessing the computing power of thousands of desktop PCs has enabled SETI to surpass the analytical capacity of their supercomputers. There is power in numbers.
The SETI computer scenario struck me as analogous to our own professional organization. It is a common notion for individuals to feel powerless, and inconsequential, when faced with issues that are state-wide or national in their scope. However, as individual members of organized dentistry our cumulative voices are heard throughout the halls of Trenton and Congress, and legislators take notice.
As I am writing this message the Norwood-Dingell bill has been passed in the House of Representatives and is now under consideration in the Senate. This Patient’s Bill of Rights, if passed, will benefit all patients as well as the Dental and Medical professions. Rep. Norwood from Georgia, also happens to be a dentist.
One of the problems facing the medical profession today is the declining numbers of physicians who are members of the AMA, and fractionation of organized medicine into multiple specialty associations. Although dentistry has a much higher rate of membership in our professional organization than does medicine, there is a significant percentage of dentists who are not members, probably because they do not appreciate the benefits of organized dentistry relative to the cost(in this case dues) of being a member.
The next time you are speaking with a colleague who is not a member of organized dentistry, ask them a simple question: “If you have a problem in your office (medico-legal, insurance, employee, state board/OSHA, etc…), who do you call for help?” Every member dentist has a voice, and the substantial resources of our dental organization to assist them.
Pick up one of the Tripartite brochures, which highlights many of the varied benefits of membership, at our next general meeting and pass it along to a non-member colleague. New member recruitment is most effective on a personal, one to one basis. You will benefit the profession, and by inclusion yourself. Every member dentist is a vital part of the whole of organized dentistry, and the lifeblood of our profession.
There is power in numbers.
I look forward to seeing you at the next meeting.
Sincerely,
Mark Schambra, D.M.D.
President, Middlesex County Dental Society

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MCDS Board of Trustees Report

-October 12, 1999-

Attendance: Bloom, Chustckie, Engel, Fertig, Glickman, Huberman, Kahn, Kline, Krantz, Livanos, McLaughlin, Perlmutter, Prabhu, Rosen, Schambra, Silverstein, Weiner

Acceptance of Minutes-9/14/99-Vote unanimous.

President’s Report-M. Schambra
The ADA Emergency Fund will make grants available of up to $1000 to dental professionals for immediate assistance for damage suffered from Hurricane Floyd if they are in one of the declared disaster areas (Bergen, Essex, Mercer, Middlesex, Morris, Passaic, Somerset, and Union Counties). Applications for Emergency Fund grants are available from the ADA and must be filed within two months of the disaster. The ADA Endowment and Assistance Fund also has loans available to assist dentists in restoring, repairing, and reconstructing a practice facility. Eligibility will be determined on a case-by-case basis of need, but shall not exceed $15,000. Anyone wishing to file a personal or business claim with FEMA can begin the application process by calling FEMA at 1-800-426-9029.
The President-President Elect Conference was held in September. Tim Clark, new Director of Governmental Affairs (succeeding Bill Prentice) urged all Board members to contact Rep. Frank LoBiondo, NJ, and ask him to support the Norwood-Dingell Bill HR2723 “Patient Bill of Rights” legislation.
Year 2000 dues for Associate Members and Active Life Members were discussed and accepted.
Essex County Dental Society sent a letter to all component presidents to read at their board meeting and discuss prior to the House of Delegates meeting regarding component societies right to collect their own dues.
All Board members giving reports need to have a written summary of their report to submit to the recording secretary to facilitate minutes reporting and to finish the meeting at a reasonable hour.

Editor Reports
R. Kline, Business Editor-Ads that were placed for one year are now ready to renew and will be contacted. Unsolicited calls are now coming in for advertisements in the MCDS newsletter.

NJDA Council Reports:

NJDA Board of Trustees Report-D. Krantz
See full report below.

Dental Benefits-D. Krantz
See full report below.

Communications-R. Silverstein
The American Academy of Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology requested that we provide a link from NJDA’s web site to their home page. A motion to allow this was defeated. The Council voted to allow direct links from NJDA’s web site to members’ home pages, however, this will not be implemented for 3 months to allow members who don’t have practice web sites to have a site made.
There is no stated NJDA policy regarding patient referral to member dentists when someone calls NJDA and requests a referral. NJDA wanted to know if the individual components would object to NJDA coming up with a stated policy (rather than having NJDA refer such calls to the components as it does now).
The Capsule will be published 10 times in the coming year.

Dental Health-B. Huberman
The Sixth annual “Smile line” will most likely be held at this year’s annual session. Volunteers will be needed once again to man the phones.
OSHA- a reminder that sample manuals are on the website (i.e., exposure control). The council has started to look at the proposed regulations that may be imposed down the line regarding ergonomics. They are looking at injuries that are sustained by an employee due to repeated physical motion in the workplace.
New articles are being formulated for the NJDA website patient information section. It was also suggested that a question and answer section be added to the website. That discussion will be further pursued with Art Meisel regarding the legalities of the concept.
A new fluoridation campaign was recommended to include legislation, promotion, and training of spokesperson dentists. Cooperation with NJDA Council on Communications and Council of Governmental Affairs will be sought.

New Dentists-M. Weiner
The Tri-County representative to the New Dentist Council contacted Dr. Weiner to inquire about the new member induction certificates and frames that are presented to MCDS new members, as they are seeking to present a similar certificate.

Peer Review-J. Fahsbender
Three cases have been reviewed and settled.

MCDS Committee Reports:

Budget Committee-I. Rosen
The proposed budget was discussed and modified. The revised budget was unanimously approved and will be presented to the membership at the next monthly meeting and voted upon.

Mentor-E. Glickman
The Perio Stat/Perio Chip/Atridox course presented June 22, 1999 at St. Peter’s Hospital had 120 people in attendance, 13 of which were nonmembers and will be contacted to invite them to join MCDS. More Mentor courses are in the planning stages. Dr. Greg Livanos will now be co-chairing the Mentor Committee, and anyone interested in joining the committee should contact him or Dr. Ethan Glickman.

Old Business
The By-laws need to be amended regarding Associate Editors. The By-laws need to pluralize to Associate Editors and include corporate sponsorship and advertising to duties and delineate separate editors and duties.
The treasury surplus was re-addressed, and discussion ensued regarding a dues reduction, a full-day CE course at no cost to the membership, and the possible hiring of a part-time executive secretary to answer phones, record the minutes, assist in mailings, and any other activities needed. These discussions were tabled until the November meeting until more information can be gathered.

New Business
The next Board meeting will be November 2nd rather than November 9th. Art Meisel will speak to the Board and will solicit advice form members regarding what is effective at NJDA and what needs improvement, addition, or deletion. The Board will be asked for suggestions, so confer with other members and be prepared to discuss on November 2nd.
Respectfully submitted, Bruce Huberman, DMD, Secretary

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Treasurer's Report

Detailed Treasurer’s Report
November 1, 1999
Nancy Villa, DMD

Previous Balance (9/30/99)
45,449.87
Current Balance (10/31/99)
45,074.00

PROFIT & LOSS STATEMENT
9/30/99 Through 10/31/99
INCOME:
Corporate Sponsorship
Continuing Education 375.00
Newsletter 150.00
Interest 57.10
Mentor Committee 650.00
TOTAL INCOME 1,232.10
EXPENSES:
Executive Committee Dinners 417.86
Lecture Fees 500.00
Name Badges 21.63
Newsletter 479.00
Office Supplies 77.48
Secretarial 112.00
TOTAL EXPENSES 1,607.97
Net -375.87

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NJDA Board of Trustees Report

Components societies are not allowed to separately post minutes of the State Board of Trustees Report. You can now find the reports at http://www.njda.org/member/board_minutes/index.html.

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Membership News

MCDS Welcomes Our Newest Member:

Dr. Jeffrey S. Karlin

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Articles

A Note from the Program Chairman/
Newsletter Content Editor

The dinner theater theme enjoyed at our last two May Staff Night events will not be renewed this year due to repetitiveness. After weighing several entertainment options and costs, it was decided that a “dentist and staff talent night” would be tried this May. We are soliciting any doctors or staff members with musical or other talents (magic, comedy) to perform this coming May. Due to the high cost of other entertainment options, the savings generated will be used to purchase more door/raffle prizes to increase our staff members chances of walking away from the event victorious. Call (732) 297-4900 if interested.
My FAX number has just been changed to (732) 297-4860. All future newsletter related correspondence should be faxed to this new number. Wishing everyone an enjoyable holiday season,
Mitch Weiner.


CONGRATULATIONS IN ORDER

MCDS Vice-President Dr. Peter DeSciscio was awarded Fellowship in the American College of Dentists in October, during their Annual Meeting in Hawaii. Fellowship is based on demonstrated leadership and contributions to the dental profession and society. Dr. DeSciscio is also the current President of the UMDNJ-NJDS Alumni Association.


ADA Annual Session Report

Actions and Resolutions of the House of Delegates
Dr. Joel Leizer
1-Dr, Richard Mascola of New York has been installed as the new President of the American Dental Association. Dr. Robert Anderton of Texas has been elected the new President-Elect.
2-ADA dues for the coming year will be $395.
3-The House passed a resolution to terminate the Dental Indicators Program. All of the indicators that were presented to this years meeting were not adopted.
4-The House approved a new dental specialty, Maxillo-Facial Radiography.
5-The House did not approve specialty recognition for Dental Anesthesiology and Oral Medicine. Anesthesiology failed to meet criteria 4 which calls for a substantial need and demand for services which are not adequately met by general practitioners or dental specialists. Oral Medicine failed in this criteria as well as in criteria 3 which calls for the scope of the specialty to be (a) separate and distinct from any recognized specialty or combination of specialties and (b) cannot be accommodated through minimal modification of a recognized specialty or combination of recognized specialties.
6-The House approved a resolution that calls for new or enhanced public relations programs. A National Media Conference, expanded National Children’s Dental Health Month, an annual event targeted to seniors and a live web cast.
7-The House defeated a resolution which would reduce dues for dental school faculty.
8-The House approved a resolution, which calls for a dental consultant for an insurance company to be licensed in the state in which the procedures will be performed. This was a New Jersey addition to the original resolution, which only called for the consultant to have equivalent training with the treating dentist. The rational is that third party analysis is considered diagnosis and hence the practice of Dentistry. If the consultant is practicing Dentistry with impact in a particular state he or she should be licensed in that state and have full liability with the State Board or Dentistry in that state as well as with the patient being treated.
9-The House approved the continuation of the Direct Reimbursement Program for a period of three years, The cost will be $2.5 million per year.
10- The House, approved a resolution, which supports legislation opposing all inappropriate third party payer overpayment recovery practices. If legislation were passed in a state it would prevent an insurance company from withholding future assigned benefits in order to recover a possible previous overpayment.
11 - The House passed a resolution calling for graduates of non-accredited dental schools to complete at least a two-year program in an accredited school in order to be licensed, The original resolution called for a license to be granted if the dentist has completed an educational experience that is recognized by the State Dental Board to be equivalent to the two-year program. This provision was removed before passage thanks to the efforts of the New Jersey Delegation.
12- Approved a resolution which calls for the ADA to encourage and support states to adopt adequately funded fee for service Medicaid programs. It is hoped that by doing this the states would encourage dentist participation in the programs and increase access and care for the patients in the programs.
13- Approved a resolution, which calls for the election of a Treasurer. There will be no formal campaign but the treasurer will be elected from a group of candidates chosen by the Board of Trustees. The Treasurer will serve a three-year term with a maximum of two consecutive terms.


Highlights of NJDA Trustees Meeting 9/15/99

1. It was brought to our attention that Massachusetts Delta has opened a clinic with Harvard University for “research”. We will keep track of the implications of this.
2. A presentation was made for a new public awareness campaign. This campaign will consist of billboards, in-office promotional materials and radio spots on NJ 101.5 FM. The theme will be Good Health, Good Looks, Good Nutrition.
3. A resolution to fund the National Museum of Dentistry in Baltimore. They are instituting a “Wall of States” and we decided to participate to the tune of $6000 ($1.50 per member).
4. A resolution was passed to delay SNODENT, until further study of the costs (ie: upgrading software) have been done.
Council on Dental Benefits
1. The council reviewed NJDA’s letter to Dept on Banking and Ins. requesting a ruling regarding application of the PIP multiple procedure reduction formula to TMJ surgery performed on both joints.
2. The council met with Delta of NJ regarding their policy of “disallowing” procedures. Delta agreed to take the matter “under advisement”.
3. It is recommended that all members purchase the CDT-3 Since there are new codes and some deletions.
4. The ADA conducted a survey of dentists’ experiences with capitation and PPO’s. Some findings were: 60% of dentists said their patient base had increased, only 49% said that their practices’s gross income had increased, less than 40% said their net income had increased, while 24.7% said their net income had actually decreased.
5. The ADA is supporting a bill, H.R. 1304, which would allow physicians, dentists and other health care professionals to collectively negotiate contracts with health plans. This ability is currently prohibited under anti-trust legislation.
6. We reviewed a NY Times article about the lack of access to health care nationally for Medicaid beneficiaries, and the effect this is having on the oral health of low-income children (NJ has the lowest fee nationally, and probably the worst access to care and was not mentioned in the article).
7. The Kansas Dental Board promulgated a policy statement affirming that dental consultant review is to be considered the practice of dentistry.
8. The Prompt Payment Legislation, already signed by the Governor, will go into effect on Jan.1, 2000. It will require payment of paper claims within 40 days and 30 days if filed electronically. There are other provisions which will be changed into rules by the Dept. of Banking and Ins. and will be analyzed by us as soon as it is done.
Daniel B. Krantz, DDS


DENTAL BENEFIT TIDBITS
Percentiles

In last month’s Tidbit, I talked about UCR. I mentioned the term “percentile”. Someone called me and didn’t understand the term. Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, 10th ed, defines it as: “a value on a scale of one hundred that indicates the percent of distribution that is equal to or below it.” You might remember “percentile” from the standardized tests you or your children took. The raw score, or number of questions answered right, was meaningless unless it was compared to the scores of everyone taking the exam. If you answered 60 out of 100 questions correctly, but almost everyone else who took the examination answered 50 correctly, your score would be at about the 99th percentile and not 60%.
This works similarly with dental fees. If a doctor’s fees are at the “80th percentile”, what this means is that 80% of doctors in the same area charge less and about 20% charge more. Insurance companies have a way of accumulating fees submitted for all procedures done by doctors where an insurance claim has been submitted. This raw data is separated by doctor’s zip code, by procedure, and finally by amount charged. This data is then subjected to a statistical analysis, the end result being a chart listing which fees are at which percentile level, separated by procedure and zip code. If doctors in a particular geographical region have to charge higher for a procedure because of higher overhead costs, higher costs of living, etc., the fee at a particular percentile level would be higher than doctors from an area where costs were lower. Thus the same procedure, from the same insurance plan, at the same percentile level would be paid at different amounts depending on zip code. Similarly, as I mentioned last month, the same procedure, by the same doctor, on patients from different plans would be paid differently depending on which percentile level coverage plan the employer purchased. Let me invent one final scenario: Two doctors in the same neighborhood, perform the same procedure on two patients who work for the same company, but charge different fees for these procedures. Assume also that the employer purchased a plan at the 70th percentile level and one doctor’s fee is higher than the 70th, the other doctor’s is lower than the 70th. The plan would probably pay Dr. Higher the maximum amount the plan at that percentile level would allow and would pay Dr. Lower his submitted fee. Dr. Higher’s patient would have a co-charge (patient’s portion) while Dr. Lower’s patient would not, since his lower fee was satisfied by the plan. This example is, of course, grossly oversimplified; it doesn’t take into consideration such factors as deductibles, subscriber contract limitations, maximum yearly amounts, coverage levels for preventive, basic and prosthetic services, but the concept is valid.
Insurance companies don’t pick their reimbursement and percentile levels out of thin air, they use the fees we submit to them to determine these levels. Percentile levels are merely one method used by insurance companies to codify and organize our submitted fees, to make themselves more competitive in the dental benefit market.

Daniel B. Krantz, DDS
Middlesex Representative to Council on
Dental Benefits

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Announcements

Children’s Dental Health Month 2000
Organizational Meeting
Tuesday November 16, 1999 (after component meeting)
Contact Cavan Brunsden, DMD
732-679-2323


Free CE
At
Component
Society Meetings

MCDS members may attend general meetings of all component societies in the state and receive continuing education credit for the program (course) portion of the evening. Component Societies are providing this feature as a benefit of membership. Individuals wishing to purchase dinner must reserve prior to the meeting by calling the contact person indicated. A complete listing of programs can be found in the members only CE section of the NJDA website (www.njda.org). Be advised that programs involving NJDA officers and staff may not be eligible for credit. Licensees may utilize 7 credits per licensing cycle in practice management courses.


Save the Date...

The NJDA Council on New Dentists will be sponsoring a reduced fee course at the annual session in Atlantic City, Saturday, May 22nd. Featuring Dr. Karl Leinfelder: "Clinical Evaluation of Restorative Systems"

All members 10 years out of dental school or less can attend the full day course for only $90.

More details to come in future issues.


Don’t Forget These Great Member Benefits

MCDS Web Site — Our web site has all of the latest MCDS news, as well as archives of past newsletters and useful links. You can reach the site through NJDA’s component section (http://www.njda.org/member/02_components/middlesex). Contact Diane Davis at NJDA at 821-9400 or ddavis@njda.org for a user name and password.
MCDS Video Library — at St. Peter’s Hospital. All you need is a valid ADA membership card to access the extensive video collection.
Lawline — Remember LAWLINE if you have a legal question related to your dental practice. As a continuing member benefit, NJDA’s General Counsel, Arthur Meisel, Esq. is always available to confer, at no cost, with members.
If you have a question or need assistance, call Mr. Meisel at his direct-dial number (732) 422-2730 or send him a fax at (732) 821-1082.
Discounted hotel rates are available to ADA members at selected hotels in Chicago, New York, and Washington, D.C. For specific hotels and rates, call ADA at 312-440-2500 extension 2853.
Members who join Walt Disney's Magic Kingdom Club receive discounts at Disney hotels, resorts, and stores and on Disney cruises. Membership in the Magic Kingdom Club is free to ADA members. For more information, call ADA at 312-440-2500 extension 2582.
Hertz offers ADA members money-saving rates on car rentals in the United States and Canada, as well as bonus coupons throughout the year. For more information, call ADA extension 2923.