Ferguson offers healthcare assessment; FTC comments on dental therapists; Smile Center settles lawsuits

Dear DrBicuspid Member,

The Smile Center, a Texas-based dental chain, has settled lawsuits that accused the company of performing "excessive" treatments on children to "bilk" millions of dollars from Medicaid. The lawsuits involved 253 patients, including children who developed infections that required emergency medical care. Read more here.

Dr. Sherri Doniger writes about how the integration of care may take a little time, but pays off for patients, their physician, and for you, sometimes in unexpected ways. Read her thoughts here.

Last week, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued a comment endorsing the proposed accreditation standards for dental therapists by the Commission on Dental Accreditation for dental therapists, saying the midlevel providers could improve access to dental care. But the group also recommended removing "unnecessary language" regarding the supervision and practice scope of the dental therapists. Read more here.

At the Greater New York Dental Meeting, Dr. Fred Ferguson offered a frank assessment of the U.S. healthcare system: Cost outweighs health. And it has led to a dentistry approach that is deeply flawed.

"Our culture of 'reactive' healthcare cannot address behaviors, lifestyles, and habits that are driving common chronic health problems and related claims and costs," Dr. Ferguson explained. "The hardest thing we do as dentists -- what is it? Changing behavior -- not the dentistry." Read more of what Dr. Ferguson said here.

With controversies ongoing, such as the issues involving midlevel providers and access to care, dentistry is at a crossroads. How dental organizations choose to approach these issues will be an issue that continues in 2014 and beyond.

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