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Entries in WSDA News (62)

Monday
Aug272012

Top Six Credit Card Processing Questions from Dental Offices

Ever wonder if you are over-paying for credit card processing? Is your practice bombarded by callers saying that your credit card terminal is not PCI-compliant, not EMV or NFC ready, and/or not receiving Durbin debit rates? Or maybe you’ve been told that your practice’s credit-card processing account is set up for retail, but should be set for healthcare?

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Monday
Aug062012

Pertussis (Whooping Cough) Epidemic Update

As of July 14, 2012, there were 3,014 reported cases throughout the State compared to 219 reported in the same period last year. More information about our Pertussis epidemic for you and your patients can be found

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Wednesday
Jul252012

Covering the WDS Issue: Keeping you informed!

 

Being a strong-minded, independent lass, I am always surprised and delighted when someone does something thoughtful for me. It has come to my attention that some of us may have forgotten the thoughtful way WSDA has handled Washington Dental Services reduction in fees.

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Monday
Jan232012

The Budget Crisis: WSDA News talks with key legislators

With the state still steeped in a budget crisis of immense proportion, the WSDA news reached out to two key players on the senate’s Ways and Means Committee (the primary fiscal committee for the Washington State Senate, with responsibility for developing operating and capital budgets) — Senator Joe Zarelli (Ridgefield, R), ranking republican, and Senator Ed Murray (Seattle, D), Committee Chair, for their take on the budget and what measures need to be taken, including cuts, revenue and taxes. Both were gracious enough to give us time just before the holiday:
 
WSDA NEWS: Our members are aware of the significant challenges to the state budget — with another $2 billion to cut, this has got to be a near-impossible task. How do you prioritize which programs and expenses to keep and which to eliminate in the current economic climate?

Senator Zarelli: We’ll have to rewrite the budget enough to close that gap, and while the reductions adopted during the recent special legislative session get us about one-quarter of the way there, the heavy lifting is still ahead because we will have to change or eliminate some of the commitments that were made. Which ones? Well, under Washington’s constitution the paramount duty of state government is to make ample provision for basic education. Whether the state is meeting that obligation is being argued in the courts right now – but it’s safe to expect that K-12 education will continue to receive more money than any other area of government. We have public safety obligations, of course, and I also feel strongly about continuing some level of state assistance to our most vulnerable residents. How much assistance is going to be a key question, and that’s where reforms come in.

Senator Murray: Well, not easily, that’s for sure. It’s very hard to prioritize in this situation, and certainly we’re going to look at where we think we can find efficiencies, where we think we can find savings, where we think we can make decisions that won’t have short-term savings and long-term costs elsewhere. But then, given the dire state of this economy around the globe as well as across the state, we’re left with some tough choices. My hope is that we prioritize those things we can cut, those things that we don’t want to cut, and send those to the voters for revenue. 

Senator Zarelli: I don’t see the 2012 budget rewrite being “all cuts” either. For example, let’s suppose the Legislature finally takes action to address abusive lawsuits that target the state and its “deep pockets” at a cost of tens of millions of dollars each year in defense bills and payouts. The $150 million appropriated in the current budget for such costs represents about 10 percent of the remaining budget gap. The reform of lawsuit abuse could largely if not completely free up those dollars for use elsewhere – which could enable the Legislature to maintain a higher level of assistance to our most vulnerable residents.
  I’m not a dentist, but I provide professional services to clients, so I’ll put the tax-reforms-revenue question in those terms. If I want my business to bring in more revenue for whatever reason, there are three straightforward ways to get there. The first is to raise my rates, which is like government adopting a tax increase. The second is to find ways to reduce the cost of doing business, yet serve just as many clients as effectively as before. That’s “reform” – not as easy as raising my rates, but it produces the same net outcome because it lowers the spending side of my balance sheet. As a bonus, reforms that make my operations more efficient can help me weather any loss of clientele, the same way reforms can help state government get by on less revenue. A third approach is to grow my clientele, without changing my rates or how I do business, so that revenue grows naturally. Government can do the same thing by, for example, streamlining the permitting process for construction projects that create jobs. So if I want my business to bring in more revenue, I’d look at streamlining my costs and growing my clientele before I consider raising my rates – and legislators can also go that route.

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