April 2015


by Board Chair Chris Swanker

Just as springtime signals new life, the work of your association this past month demonstrates major strides in the continued advancement our industry. To keep us on track with our six-year strategic plan, the Board of Directors met in Chicago for its annual face-to-face meeting, which included a conference call with the chairs and vice chairs of our volunteer groups. While there, the Board also held a joint meeting with leaders from the American Dental Association (ADA) Council on Dental Benefits. All these activities provided invaluable insights regarding the work of our association. Following are some key highlights.

During the Board meeting, we reviewed several key industry issues including briefings about:

  • Opportunities to develop an industrywide data base of quality measures
  • ADA’s development of a dentist credentialing system
  • Potential for an equitable treatment amendment to the ACA post Supreme Court decision

The Board also discussed which volunteer groups had ownership of the five High Level Initiatives (HLI) in the strategic plan and outlined next steps for a small workgroup to address HLI 2: Execute a strategy that integrates data, analytics and business intelligence to deliver new value to the dental industry, with emphasis on providers, the delivery of overall health/oral health care and associated outcomes. Dr. Fred Horowitz of Nevada Dental Benefits, who is the co-chair of the International Health Terminology Standards Development Organisation (IHTSDO) International Dentistry Special Interest Group (SIG) briefed the Board on the developments in ICD 10, SnoDent’s incorporation into SnoMed CT, and related code sets. These developments offer an unprecedented opportunity for the dental payor industry to populate a shared database of these measures for future research. Look for developments on this HLI and others in future editions of the Monthlybyte.

Our first chair and vice-chair conference call was an important first step in improving cross communication and coordination among our volunteer groups. It also provided an opportunity for volunteers to ask questions and receive clarification from the Board. We look forward to next quarterly call which will be set in July for second quarter reporting.

At the meeting with the ADA Council on Dental Benefits the next day, we had an important industry exchange on issues and concerns. NADP reported on market trends such as the expansion of Medicaid, increase in individual policies, overall enrollment growth through 2013, and indications of slower or stagnant future growth. We also highlighted the potential to address dental benefit issues with the advanced premium tax credit and consumer choice of dental coverage outside of public Marketplaces. This discussion included questions regarding the impact of ADA research and messaging as well as NADP’s pending development of consumer total out of pocket cost messaging. Other discussion items included the purpose of loss ratio reporting, NADP’s work to assure that any accreditation systems applied to dental use the DQA quality measures rather than create duplicative measures, NADP’s support for dental office use of Dental Service Organizations (DSOs) in non-clinical functions and our development of a model credentialing form.

The list of ADA concerns included discussions of ADA’s proposal for standard elements in dentist explanation of payment, less pejorative language for explanation of Least Expensive Alternative Treatment provisions, difficulties of small practices processing bulk payment processes, plus questions about how changes in technology are incorporated into benefit determinations.

Both groups observed how the ongoing relationship between the industry and profession has been mutually beneficial over the last decade and improved communication.

Without a doubt, April was a big month for our association and there is much more to come. The Webinar series opens this month, CONVERGE registration is also open with early bird rates good through this Thursday. Meanwhile there are survey instruments in the field and many more programs that add value to your membership.

We appreciate your contributions to our organization and look forward to the remainder of 2015. If you have any questions or suggestions about NADP, I’d like to hear from you. Please contact me at or (610) 807-8485.



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