On April 1, the LDA sent out an email to members asking for information on the amount of charitable dental care they provide. We’ve had a number of questions on this topic and would like to clarify the nature of the request.
As stated before, dentists are often called upon to provide free dental care within their community. It has become very clear that Louisiana legislators are interested in the charitable care provided by dentists. The LDA uses this information in our governmental affairs efforts to illustrate significant impact on Louisiana’s access-to-care problem and the large amount of FREE care that Louisiana dentists provide in our state. It is essential that we have factual information so we can explain to legislators how important it is to NOT cut Medicaid rates, NOT cut sales tax exemptions or NOT push additional, unnecessary mandates on dentists, as all these things would reduce dentist’s capacity to provide care pro bono.
The attached form is a means for the LDA to better capture the TOTAL amount of charitable work performed by Louisiana dentists. The total amount should be EXTREMELY impressive and a great way for the LDA to demonstrate the lengths to which Louisiana dentists are already going to address access issues. ONLY LDA staff will know exactly WHO donated WHAT services. We will NOT publish a list of names, and you do not need to be concerned that you will get additional calls for folks looking for free dentistry.
We’d greatly appreciate it if you would report your charitable dentistry to the LDA on the attached form as soon as possible. If you have not been keeping track of this information, select one month (February is ideal since it is National Children’s Dental Health Month and Give Kids A Smile Day) and report what charitable dentistry you performed that month. From there, we will tabulate figures and develop an approximate number of charitable dollars donated to the community. Please take special care not to include in your report any of the types of discounts or free work specifically excepted in the form’s instructions. We understand many dentists believe some items in the exception list SHOULD count as charitable donations. However, most government officials will NOT view anything in that list as charity, and it would merely detract from our overall effort to argue otherwise. The dollar amount of everything that SHOULD be reported on the form will be MORE than enough to make a highly favorable impression.
We thank you in advance for your philanthropy and your support for organized dentistry.