xOkay, rating turned out to be a big mistake.
What I didn't realize is that some people don't like the blog.
So I got a .9 by one reader. Yeah, I said, "POINT NINE".
Now I can handle constructive criticism but...
Why not give me a zero? Am I better than a zero but not as good as a one?
But I must go on.
I wanted to talk to you about something that is going on in Dentistry.
I have enough knowledge of this topic to be dangerous, but I will do my best.
The topic is about Access to Care.
This is a very important topic so I hope to do it justice.
It is a heavy topic so I will do my best to lay the ground work for you (and I think it will be interesting to you non-dental people).
People in rural areas are not getting Access to Care.
What does that mean?
For example (and a lot of this started) in Alaska. There are areas of Alaska that there are people and there are no dentists. In some areas you might say, "just go to the nearest town" but the nearest town is just too far to go.
The problem is how do we get dental care to these people?
This is a problem for these patients. It is problem for the dentist. It is a problem for the government (that has promised to care for their citizens).
So in Alaska there idea was to train a "Mid-level provider". This is someone from that particular community that goes and studies for a year or so and that can deliver to their community some emergency dental care and some basic dentistry.
They would teach these people how to pull teeth. They taught these people how to do a simple filling, Then they taught them how to take care of some kids stuff, like sealants and a prophylasis.
Just think of these people like a nurse practioner in the medical field.
This plan kind of went under the radar of organized dentistry for a bit.
I think some things started to filter down to the great 48. The same kind of things started to happen in Maine and Minnesota.
Now the ears of organized dentistry started to perk up.
You remember in the AGD Impact there was an article about this. Now it is really beginning to be on a lot of people's radar.
Here is the deal. It is not about the eskimos any more. It is become about everyone that doesn't have access to dental care. Meaning everyone that can't afford dental care.
Think about the people that can't afford dental care in your community. Instead of going to the local dentist they can go to a less expensive dental pracitioner. Not only the less expensive provider the less educated provider.
So the Mid-level provider (MLP) want to not only provide dental care in the snow in Alaska, they want to set up shop in our towns. They want to set up shop in California, Texas, North Carolina, Florida, Georgia and all the others.
The people that want the MLP say there isn't enough dentists to go around.
Now the dentists say they have the ability to treat everyone. We are in the same towns and we have openings in our schedules....we can do this.
The government says it wants all its citizens to have dental care.
The government has a system called Medicaid.
But as you may know there are very few dentists that take Medicaid.
You all know me...I am a dentist who cares deeply about my community and the people in my town that can't afford dentistry...but in its present state I cannot take Medicaid any time soon. See, if I took Medicaid I would loosing money doing dentistry.
Now I am not talking breaking even I am talking loosing money. So it is not about dentists being greedy.
As an aside, I run with a couple of urologist and they say that 30-40% of their practice is Medicaid. They say Medicaid pays well and is easy to work with. Not the case here.
So now the choice of the general dentist is to loose money treating patients or offer patients an untrained dentist. One year of training does not even scrape the surface of the stuff I see in my practice daily.
The American Dental Association (ADA) is backing the MLP initiative. I find this very hard to believe that the members really know what is going on because this seems to be ludicrious. Trust me, I am an ADA member and I didn't know about this.
There are plenty of dentists and there it is a desire of most dentists to care for people but for some reason this is not good enough. This isn't cheap enough.
So, I am proud to say, the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD) has taken exception.
This is the "hill to die on". They are fighting the ADA on this with a passion.
A passion for its members and a passion for its profession.
The AGD is trying to educate its members to wake up.
Wake up and educate themselves. And when they feel like they have a grasp of the subject then call their ADA representative.
(You see the voting in the ADA is much like our government. There are representatives that vote on behalf of its regional members).
So today I am asking you to do the same. Educate yourself. The AGD has published a bunch of ariticles that may help.
Access to care:
About the White Paper:
Call your ADA representive. Have a voice.
Have a great weekend,
Ps. Hey John V...was that enough dentistry for you. POINT NINE?!!!