The Week That Was: October 3-7

Rolling Into October

Just like that … the calendar has flipped to October and everyone is wild about pumpkin spice lattes and fall football tailgating. The pace is picking up, so I’ll try to capture some recent highlights and point toward a busy month. Grab your favorite sweatshirt and settle in.

Sixth District Caucus in West Virginia

If you’re unfamiliar with how organized dentistry is governed, you’re not alone—it can be confusing to a degree. Under the ADA structure, there are 17 districts nationally. Missouri is in the Sixth District along with KY, TN and WV. Before the ADA has its annual SmileCon and House of Delegates (forthcoming in the next two weeks), representatives from each district meet to discuss resolutions, member concerns, trends and more. Last week the Sixth District gathered in West Virginia. There was interesting discussion on membership categories, among other things. Joining MDA ED, Vicki Wilbers, and representing the MDA, were Drs. Prabu RamanRon WilkersonEmily MattinglyAmanda FitzpatrickWendy WeimerJen WheelerBob Butler, and Mark Zust. Beyond the meetings, there’s always a little down time to share a meal out or take a tour of a coal mine, which was fitting since we just lost country icon and Coal Miner’s Daughter, Loretta Lynn, earlier this week.

MDA Member Participates in Third Party Payer Video

Last week, MDA Communications Director, Melissa Albertson, was on the road to visit Dr. Andrea Eidson in her Branson Family Dentistry office in the beautiful Missouri Ozarks. Earlier this year, the MDA received a grant to create a promotional video about the ADA’s Third Party Payer Concierge—a resource Dr. Eidson used to answer a question about her new associate and getting an NPI number so he could be properly enrolled in the office’s dental insurance programs. This week, Melissa wrapped up that filming process as part of a virtual video session with Dennis McHugh—in the ADA’s Chicago office—who is Manager, Third Party Payer Advocacy in the ADA’s Center for Dental Benefits, Coding and Quality. Once you see the finished video, which also stars our own ED, Vicki Wilbers, we hope you’ll understand better the value of this service.

Saluting UMKC Scholars

On Monday evening I attended the UMKC Scholarship dinner which was in person for the first time in three years. It was great to reunite and see some familiar faces. I ran into the happily retired, Dr. Mike McCunniff, our awesome student event liaison, Richie Bigham, and first-year UMKC Dean, Dr. Jay Haas. I like this event because the program is short and meaningful. D4 Daniel Canaday spoke on behalf of his fellow student scholars and Dr. Nick Rogers, chair of the Dr. Roy J. Rinehart Foundation shared about the donor pool which this year tallied close to $2M. I also like there’s plenty of time for dinner and visiting with students. We were joined at our table by awesome MDA members, Drs. David and Kelly Suchman, as well as D4, Nic Harl. Plus, at the end you get a keepsake photo. You can see me with five of our six MDA Foundation winners. Front: Matthew WahleEmily BahadoorsinghSeth Hofheins. Back row: me, Chandler HillKiefer Schmidt. Kudos to all for their achievements and hosting a wonderful event.

Speaking of Donations …

The MDA and its Foundation made two significant ones in the past couple weeks. A couple weeks ago the MDA Board voted to support the Yes On 2 For Dental Care Massachusetts ballot initiative in the amount of $20,000. Many other state dental associations and the ADA also are supporting because it’s felt a win in Massachusetts would be a watershed moment for patients and dentistry, setting a precedent that could herald future change for dental insurance across the country. If you are interested in giving a private contribution to the campaign or wish to learn more about the ballot initiative, follow the link above.

Earlier this week the Finance Committees of both the MDA Board and the Foundation Board each approved $2,500 donations to be sent your colleagues in the Florida Dental Association to aid with relief from the devastation from Hurricane Ian. The FDA Foundation has a program to help provide immediate $1,000 relief checks to members—many of whom lost their practice, home or both. If you would like to donate direct, see the information below. Just today we received a kind note from an MDA member who lost their practice in the Joplin tornado, about how much our support meant. Similarly, I know those in Florida will appreciate the support, both financial and emotional. If you would like to contribute to the FDA Foundation Disaster Fund, click here and select “Disaster Fund” for the first question.

Farewell Lunch

On Tuesday, MDA and MDIS teams had a farewell lunch for Sharlene Rimiller who is retiring from her part-time position with MDIS. Sharlene has been around the profession for a long time, having served as Missouri Dental Board executive director and as a member the Dental Well Being Foundation Board, among other roles. We’ll miss her practical wisdom and positive spirit. Sharlene plans to get some new knee hardware and spend more time traveling. We wish her the best! A new face at MDIS is Diana Rutledge, who has been hired for administrative support.

Speaking of the MDIS Team …

Two of them, Jerri Wildhaber and Lindsey Kutscher, are in Hannibal today with Vicki Wilbers, at the Northeast Dental Society Fall Business and CE Meeting. They’re presenting on “Hidden Liability Exposures in the Dental Office.” Not only is the MDIS team a wealth of knowledge, but the agency (created by dentists, for dentists), offers insurance products and services to mitigate those risks and liabilities. I promise you will not be disappointed in the 5-star service of their team. Contact them today.

Basic Skills Review … Anything But Basic

Today at the office, we’re hosting our first in-person Basic Skills Review Course, with MDA EFDA Manager, Mandy Lewis, spearheading the new CE offering for dental assistants. Passage of the Missouri Test of Basic Dental Assisting Skills is one of the paths taking Expanded Function Dental Assisting courses. Linda Twehous, an EFDA as well as a veteran of dental assisting education, is the course presenter. Both dentists and assistants have been asking MDA about an in-person course where students can interact, ask questions and get feedback from a subject expert—so we’re excited to see it come to fruition. If you missed this course, we’ve already got another scheduled December 9. Click here to learn more.

The Week Ahead

Fire up the engines! I’ll travel to Dexter to explore outreach partnership opportunities with the Smiles of Hope clinic. Vicki and Halie Payne, MDA Professional Affairs Director, will join the MDA delegation in Houston, TX for the aforementioned ADA SmileCon and House of Delegates. I hope to get some boots-on-the-ground updates from them. Plus, there’s a Missouri Dental Board meeting and plenty of the usual MDA work. Roll on, October!

Quote of the Week

“Originality is the essence of true scholarship. Creativity is the soul of the true scholar.” – Nnamdi Azikiwe

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