Dental Benefits Advocacy: WDS/Delta

WSDA is committed to keeping Washington dentists updated on the status of WDS member dentists' pursuit of transparency in ​WDS/Delta's governance process. 


Are You a Dissident Dentist?

We embrace the name dissident given to us by Delta’s lawyer and will proudly (and literally) wear that name as a badge of honor. Would you like to join us?

We are excited to announce that WSDA is now selling apparel in honor of all the dissident dentists out there. We have shortened the phrase to one word: DISSIDENTIST. Consistent with the Oxford definition, we define DISSIDENTIST as “a dentist who opposes official policy, especially that of an authoritarian state.”

You can now purchase your DISSIDENTIST gear online. All proceeds will support our ongoing litigation.


WSDA News Spring 2019 Cover

Changing Direction: How Delta Dental Went From WSDA Startup to Billion-Dollar Company

The company began with the simple idea of providing pre-paid dental care to union members’ children who might not otherwise have access. Over the last 65 years, that small startup has grown into today’s Delta Dental of Washington, a company covering nearly two-thirds of patients enrolled in private dental benefit plans in the state.  

The WSDA News Spring Issue cover story explores the history of Delta Dental and how its relationships with its member dentists and the Washington State Dental Association have changed over the years.​

Editorial: How Delta Dental Behaves in the Dark

For years, WSDA member dentists have worried about how Delta Dental’s market dominance impacts their practices and the patients they serve. We now know that negative impacts of that power are being felt in the public arena as well.

Over the past 18 months, WSDA executed a public records request to obtain and review emails between Delta Dental and a former state employee, Dr. Joel Berg, who previously served as the dean of the University of Washington School of Dentistry (UWSOD) (download high-resolution and low-resolution versions of some of the emails obtained through WSDA's request below). Their email exchanges shed light on how Delta Dental furthers its own interests through its “philanthropic” relationships.

Read Full Editorial
High-Resolution Emails
Low-Resolution Emails

wsda v. delta

Dentists & WSDA Take Legal Action Against Delta Dental

Three member dentists, along with WSDA, are taking legal action against Delta Dental of Washington.

In a complaint filed on February 20, 2019 in King County Superior Court, Drs. Denny Bradshaw, Todd Irwin and Nathan Russell, along with the WSDA, allege that the Independent Directors of Delta's board of directors twice have unlawfully rejected bylaw amendments overwhelmingly passed by the organization’s member dentists to improve transparency into operations and make Delta more patient-focused.

The complaint also charges that Delta Dental has not held an annual meeting since November of 2016, despite the fact that such a meeting is required by both its own Bylaws and state law.

Press Release

Delta ​Board Vetoes Most Bylaw Amendments

During the Delta Special Meeting on November 15, 2018, Delta member dentists passed a set of bylaw amendments (with 96% of voting members in favor) aimed at creating a better future for patients and improving transparency in the WDS/Delta governance process.

The WDS Board has chosen to veto the following amendments:

  • allow for open nominations for members to run for the board
  • impose term limits on board service for member dentists at Delta;
  • make the Delta CEO an ex-officio rather than full member of the board; and
  • eliminate board veto powers over member-approved bylaw amendments.
A letter from Delta regarding this decision can be found on the Delta Provider Portal or read here.

The WSDA Board of Directors and legal counsel are currently reviewing this development and considering potential next steps.​

Dentists Seek Insurance Commissioner Review of Delta Dental Reorganization

WDS members Drs. Cynthia Pauley, Christopher Delecki, Bernard Larson, Nathan Russell, and Todd Irwin filed a complaint with the Office of the Insurance Commissioner seeking a full investigation of the 2013 Delta reorganization effort.​ As of September 2018, the OIC is actively investigating this complaint.

Learn More

WSDA Asks Attorney General to Investigate Potential Delta Antitrust Practices

Washington State Dental Association leadership has requested the Antitrust Division of the Washington State Attorney General’s Office investigate whether Washington Dental Service (Delta Dental of Washington) has engaged in illegal monopsonist practices in our state.

Learn More

Antitrust Law

All WSDA members must be aware of antitrust law and the threat of antitrust liability. Learn more about antitrust compliance here. 


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