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                                         Dr. David J. Hildebrandt
                                         President, Louisiana Dental Association

                                         Supporting Our Members and Improving Advocacy

                  recently attended the 2017 ADA President-Elect’s     As we did at the recent insurance conference, we
                I Conference hosted by the American Dental           will at future meetings be discussing options the LDA
                Association and Dr. Joe Crowley, president-elect of   has for better representing our member dentists.
                the ADA. In one of the sessions of the conference,     Another interesting session of the ADA President-
                every state’s president or president-elect had the   Elect’s Conference involved membership and the
                opportunity to speak about the challenges his or     legislative influence of the ADA. I was encouraged
                her state is facing. Common issues often mentioned   to hear that our ADA is one of the more effective
                included complaints about dental insurance such      lobbies in Washington. One speaker stated, “The
                as: low reimbursement rates, denial of claims,       ADA lobby is similar in power to the NRA.” Because
                delays in payments, exemption from local insurance   the ADA represents the majority of dentists, our
                commissioner review by becoming ERISA entities,      voice has greater and more effective strength than, for
                and related issues that affect our practices.        example, the American Medical Association which
                  One bright spot was the discussion about a recent   represents only a minority of physicians. It is critical
                victory by the California Dental Association (CDA)   that we maintain a high percentage of membership.
                in its suit against Delta Dental. The CDA achieved a   In Louisiana, the percentage of practicing dentists
                successful settlement with Delta Dental, which had   who are LDA members is over 70%, and we hope to
                lowered reimbursement rates contrary to its contracts   increase that number to 80% in the near future.
                with its member dentists. California member dentists   In our session about the ADA business model,
                will be receiving reimbursements from Delta Dental   research indicated that the majority of ADA
                approaching prior reimbursement levels.              members see collective value in the benefits of ADA
                  This example has given us hope that we may         membership. The research showed that many dentists
                be able to collectively take on any similar issues   who do not belong to organized dentistry tend to
                here in Louisiana. At my recommendation, a dental    be individualists. They may only join when they
                insurance conference took place in conjunction with   see a direct correlation between membership and
                the recent ADA 12th District Caucus meeting. Among   direct benefit to their personal practice. Part of our
                other things, we would like to begin collecting      responsibility is to remind our colleagues who are not
                information from our LDA members about such          members that our membership in the LDA engenders
                issues as insurer interpretations of standard of care   significant benefits to our practices, both individually
                that in some instances reflect a misunderstanding of   and collectively. Our ability to educate Congress, the
                our profession. If you have information about such   Louisiana Legislature, and even insurers derives from
                issues that you would be willing to share, please send   strong membership.
                it to the LDA at:                                      Another critical component to improving our
                  LA Dental Association                              advocacy is for more members to consider supporting
                  Attn: Insurance Issues                             our political action committees. LADPAC (state
                  7833 Office Park Blvd.                             level) and ADPAC (federal level) stand up for our
                  Baton Rouge, LA 70809                              practices every day. Every donation, large or modest,
                  Or, email                     is important and significant. Currently, only some
                  Please include corresponding x-rays, EOBs, and     25% of LDA dentists make LADPAC donations. Yet,
                documentation with the patient information removed   LADPAC was still a critical factor in the LDA’s success
                for HIPPA compliance.                                during the recent legislative session. In spite of the

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