Having witnessed the events of the last few weeks and the reactions (fears) of the dentists around me, most of whom are of the younger generation, I am dismayed by the apparent lack of cohesiveness to the best interests of dentistry at large as a profession that has given so much to the betterment of our patients. I am also concerned about a perceived lack of resolve to our patient’s best interests as dental care trends becomes less professional & personal and more retail and “bottom line” oriented for the needs of the dental office or the needs of the insurance corporations to which we are increasingly being asked to tie much of our decision making. I am even more disheartened by the lack of loyalty to ourselves, our ideals, to the equality of the treatment and fees we provide to the patients who trust us so very much (read - equal treatment provided and not cost shifting to non WDS patients), and especially disheartened by the lack of insight as to what is being foisted on us, the sheep we are apparently expected to be? Who owns each of us and to whom do we owe our loyalty, responsibility, and self respect as the patient’s primary advocate for their dental health advice and treatment? If the WDS planned effort succeeds, it may very well not be ourselves or our trusting patients?
What does the WSDA do for you? Is it a source of leadership for the dentist of Washington state? Does it ceate a standard that members must reach to be a member in good standing? Does it provide a vision of the future for the practice of dentistry in Washington state? Is it a place where important debate can take place with the freedom to speak about legitimate concerns or has it become something else?
One of the many reasons I chose to be a community health dentist was because I thought I would not have to discuss money with my patients. Foolish me. I discuss it all the time. The hard part is that some of my patients weep when they discover the high cost of dentistry.
In light of the recent WDS debacle, quite a few of us are discussing money and what is fair for patients, employers, insurance companies and dentists. It feels like war but it is not. It is business, and it is hard business.
One year into operations, and they’re just about up to speed at the UW’s Center for Pediatric Dentistry, a joint operation between the UWSoD and Seattle Children’s hospital, located in the old Navy base at Magnuson Park.