By Board Chair Jeremy Hedrick, Careington International

NADP is starting the New Year in the right direction, with a thought-provoking look at our industry and association. This week NADP hosted the 2021 Leadership Conference where a record-breaking number of volunteers provided answers to three key questions to be used in the strategic planning process as well as updates to their annual work plans that contribute to the advancement of the dental benefits industry. The thought, effort, input, and work put in by all our volunteers during this conference will provide incredibly valuable insight into NADP’s focus and planning for 2021 and beyond. On behalf of the Board of Directors, I commend our volunteers for their dedication and expertise and thank them for their service to NADP.

Following are some highlights from the Leadership Conference.

Strategic Planning Process

To help develop the next strategic plan, volunteer groups were given three questions to answer concerning potential challenges and threats facing NADP; opportunities for NADP to expand its influence; and additional topics for inclusion in the next strategic plan. Their responses will be sent to our consultant, Jon Seltenheim, and later reviewed by the Strategic Plan Steering Committee consisting of Stacia Almquist, Unum; Allan Corkum, UnitedHealthcare; Jeremy Hedrick, Careington; Theresa McConeghey, Principal; Chris Swanker, Guardian Life Insurance; and Daniel Wright, United Concordia Dental.

In February and March, NADP will conduct a member survey and develop an environmental scan to provide key insight into the development of the Strategic Plan, which will take place in the second and third quarters. The goal is to have a plan ready for review and approval by the NADP Board and membership in the fall.

Volunteer Group 2021 Highlights

NADP volunteer groups presented a brief summary of their 2021 priorities that support the high-level initiatives of the current strategic plan as follows:

Advocacy Groups

The Commission on Advocacy Policy (CAP) identified the following 2021 priorities:

  • Promoting Covid-19 relief in the form of a federal package offering provider support and advocating for preservation of funding for adult dental in Medicaid.
  • Monitoring and responding to legislator interest in dental plan COVID relief and recovery programs
  • Scrutinizing federal regulatory activities including Affordable Care Act (ACA) Rebuild efforts on issues such as tax subsidies, 1332 waivers and auto-disenrollment, 1557 taglines and more
  • Watching several state issues including efforts to deviate from the NCOIL Transparency Model Act.
  • Solidifying a position on dental in Medicare
  • Continuing engagement in discussions about federal non-covered services legislation.
  • Building coalitions with consumer, employer, and labor advocacy organizations.

The Government Relations WorkGroup (GRW) will continue to represent the dental benefits industry on the numerous state bills, which have already been introduced, and regulatory activities from state departments of insurance. Bill topics include dental loss ratios, non-covered services, network leasing and more. GRW will be developing strategies for proactive advocacy at the state level and identified several tactics for engaging with policy challenges before they arise, such as outreach to state dental trades. 

The Government Funded Program WorkGroup will closely monitor federal issues such as interoperability standards, price standards and more for updates and changes resulting from the current regulatory review under the new Administration. They will continue to represent the industry regarding legislation and regulations affecting federal and state-based exchanges and Medicaid programs.

Terminology, Standards and Transaction WorkGroups

The Codes Sub-WorkGroup (SWG) maintained its laser focus on reviewing submitted Code revisions and additions and just completed the initial review of the CDT 2022 submissions in preparation for the March 2021 Code Maintenance Committee meeting.

The Clinical Quality Measures SWG will identify how the Dental Quality Alliance measures can be adopted by commercial dental plans; collaborate with the American Dental Association and others to create a periodontology risk assessment tool; and explore the impact of artificial intelligence (AI) on quality measures.

The Diagnostic Terminology SWG continues to develop their plan for a gap analysis of diagnostic terminology in the industry by collecting data from five segments: 1) clearing houses and health information exchanges (HIEs); 2) practice management software; 3) dental schools; 4) dental support organizations and 5) AI vendors.

The SWG plans to share findings and promote the value of diagnostic terminology through targeted communications.

The Operations WorkGroup (WG) recently formed a Delegated Credentialing Subgroup to develop tools that will be helpful to plans and dental support organizations. The Operations WG will also continue to promote the provider directory validation process, which provides a streamlined resource for member use.

The EDI WorkGroup will continue to advance the adoption of electronic data interchange in the industry as well as improve EDI processes. Building on previous success, the WG will explore additional CARC and RARC codes that benefit the industry as well as provide input on the claims metrics report. Monitoring the emergence of Artificial Intelligence in the dental industry is a focus in the WG with the intended result of simplifying the movement and accuracy of the transactions.

Additional Volunteer Groups

The Communications WG will continue to support HL 5 with an Action Plan that includes six projects focusing on employers, consumers, providers, and outside organizations in addition to creating resources for NADP members on

The Education Commission will explore ways to present more customized tracks and content for unique audiences among the membership and industry while developing a program and strategy to deliver both in-person and virtual content.

The Membership WorkGroup will conduct two recruitment campaigns and retention outreach in the first, third and fourth quarters. In addition, they will seek to increase the number of member companies with volunteers by 2% as well as explore possible new membership products.

The Research Commission plans to conduct the following standard reports in 2021 including:

  1. Enrollment – In-Force business
  2. Enrollment -New Business
  3. Network Administration
  4. Claims Metrics
  5. Financial Operations and Premiums, which may be published as separate reports
  6. Plan Design
  7. Utilization
  8. Corporate Responsibility in collaboration with Communications WorkGroup
  9. Contact Center Metrics (pending)

The above lists demonstrate the depth and breadth of the services included in NADP membership and the value of our volunteers who drive these programs.  Should you have any questions regarding NADP, please contact me.

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