May 2020 Volume LV Number 3


State News

March 2019 Volume LIV Number 2

As reported by Nevada Academy of Pediatric Den- tistry President Dr. Cody Hughes and Public Policy Advocate Dr. Lindsay Row Whiting:
The Nevada Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Health Care Financing and Policy (DHCFP), was proposing a rate realignment of the existing CDT rates that would go into effect Jan. 1, 2019. The proposal estimated a decrease in annual aggregate expenditures by the state of $1,324,736 for state fiscal year 2019 (six months) and $2,700,076 for fiscal year 2020. The proposed realignment would have reduced reimbursement rates for a number of codes frequently required in the treatment  of pediatric patients, including, but not limited to, D1206 topical application of fluoride varnish, D2330-2335 anterior resin-based composite restorations, and D2930-2931 prefabricated stainless steel crow for primary and permanent teeth. The proposal included increases for some CDT codes, but the majority of these were mainly for surgical and prosthetic codes rarely, if ever, used in pediatric dentistry.
The Nevada Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (NVAPD) and Nevada Dental Association (NDA) worked together to inform the DHCFP of concerns that this would negatively impact access to care. The AAPD also provided a letter of support for the NVAPD’s position which was sent to department administrators and other key government officials. Members of the NVAPD and NDA wrote letters and emails and participated in a conference call with administrators and policy makers to express concerns and provide information and evidence to show how access to care could be impacted. Shortly after these efforts, notification was given that the rate realignment had been removed from the public hearing agenda scheduled for Sept. 27. 2018. The reason noted for the removal from the agenda was because the DHCFP, after provider input, had decided to not pursue the rate realignment at this time.
We are grateful the DHCFP listened to and heard our concerns as providers. We are also appreciative of the efforts made by the multiple pediatric dentists and dentists who took the time to contact administrators and legislators, in conjunction with the organized efforts. This result will no doubt, at least in part, maintain current levels of access to care for the most needy and vulnerable of our population.
In the November 2018 PDT PAC corner, there was a photo of U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.) and pediatric dentists at a local fundraiser held at the home of pediatric dentist Dr. Shane Fisher on Sept. 14, 2018. This event raised over $20,000.
But there’s more to the story.
The fundraiser was planned by Drs. Shane Fisher, Nicolet DeRose and Colleen Greene. None of them had never hosted a political fundraiser before. Greene is a faculty member at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin and Public Policy Advocate (AAPD) for the Wisconsin Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. DeRose served as the Wisconsin PPA before her. Therefore, the planners had a wide range of advocacy experiences as PPA.
  • Serving as the state chapter’s advocate for children’s oral health, interacting with state legislative bodies and regulatory agencies.
  • Cultivating working relationships with key policymakers.
  • Coordinating advocacy activities between the state chapter and the AAPD.
  • Monitoring public policy issues and informing state chapter leadership.
  • Providing recommendations for advocacy activities by the state chapter.
  • Assisting the state chapter in developing legislative and regulatory priorities.
PPAs have many avenues for advocacy, such as visits to members of Congress in Washington, D.C., trips to the state capitol to meet with legislators, and providing support to candidates for elective office. In the spring of 2018, Greene was contacted by the AAPD concerning the AAPD PAC’s decision to contribute $5000 for the re-election campaign of  U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.). Greene thought this contribution would have an even bigger impact if a local pediatric dentist hosted a fundraiser that would add individual dentist contributions to the campaign.
Greene notes that, "It was fun to include a broader dental network into this AAPD PAC-inspired event. There were many general dentists and other specialists present who were excited to support the event  and interact personally with the Senator. We demonstrated inclusivity, enthusiasm and a passionate focus on the oral health of children from across different training backgrounds in dentistry."
Greene received information, guidance, and support from the AAPD, the Wisconsin Academy, and the Wisconsin Dental Association. Scott Litch of the AAPD staff provided talking points on AAPD issues. Many key planning recommendations were provided via the ADPAC publication In District Fundraiser Toolkit. Wisconsin Academy President Shane Fisher generously agreed to host the event at his house.
The Wisconsin Dental Association staff was able to provide a list of known political donors along with contact information. The state association Legislative Advocacy Committee chair communicated with campaign staff to set the date of the event as the evening before the annual CE day of the AAPD state chapter. This was critical to driving publicity and attendance. Promoting the event also focused on shar- ing recent legislation that Senator Baldwin had introduced related to children’s oral health. The planning committee emailed every known political donor and potential new donors from personal and profes- sional networks. The response was enthusiastic.
Greene utilized the following talking points at the event:
  • The AAPD PAC selects candidates to support by looking at their past or potential willingness to listen to AAPD when  we talk about children’s oral health issues. We continue to build relationship on both sides of the aisle in Congress. The AAPD has only one issue: optimal oral health for children. In these very partisan times, it is important for AAPD members to understand that our PAC is non-partisan, and supports members of  both parties based on their support of  children’s oral health and the AAPD’s legislative   priorities
  • Senator Baldwin sits on the both the appropriations and autho- rizing committees for important health programs such as Title VII training funds for pediatric dentistry, which in the past three years has resulted in a number of grants for faculty loan repay- ment for pediatric dentists. Senator Baldwin has listened and is supporting an oral health bill championed by AAOMS and endorsed by the AAPD, that would require ERISA plans to cover oral health services necessary to correct congenital anomalies  and birth defects. We look forward to working with her on other issues as well.
The fundraiser was a great opportunity to build and strengthen  the relationship with Senator Baldwin, and also raise the profile of the Wisconsin Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. It also allowed AAPD’s Congressional Liaison Dr. Heber Simmons to get an appointment with Senator Baldwin’s staff during his next trip to Washington, D.C.
Greene concludes:
"I would encourage the PPAs in other states, and indeed any pediatric dentist interested in advocacy, to consider hosting a political fundraiser in your home or office. This is a great way to advocate
for pediatric dentistry and children’s oral health. Plus, the 2020 Congressional and state elections are just around the corner!"

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