For years, Dr. Frederick “Ric” Prael was the embodiment of selfless giving, donating time and money to causes in his Whidbey Island community and beyond.
I believe it would be appropriate for WSDA’s legal counsil to cite the law with specific references to the extent to which dentist may speak to one another and (or) with practice consultants regarding fees and fee structures. In this instance misunderstanding of the law could result in prosecution or alternatively a major change in the practice of dentistry as we know it. I don’t understand how simply speaking about ones fee structure to a college could violate anti-trust law. That sounds like freedom of speech to me, not necsicarily price fixing. Some clarity from our leadership would be appreciated.
“This was a tremendous struggle for us to accommodate within our internal processes,” said Inge. “One of the issues that we had, was that Washington Dental Service was paying higher fees for services than some of our competitors.”
Recently, when WDS lowered their fees to dentists, some of you asked why we couldn’t do more. We heard your frustration, and were ourselves frustrated by our inability to move to your defense in a more concrete fashion. The truth is, anti-trust laws are extraordinarily clear in this respect: it is not permissible for us to intervene on your behalf, to organize or join with you in any action that might appear we were attempting to set or change fees, lest we face swift investigation and possible penalties by the Federal Trade Commission.* And to be clear: the same laws regarding organizing apply to you, as individuals.