Saturday, May 02, 2009

Flaps Dentistry Blog Links May 2, 2009


Boston public health officials said Thursday that a student at the Harvard School of Dental Medicine had a "probable" case of swine flu. In a statement, the Boston Public Health Commission said it had closed a dental clinic at the center and requested that Harvard cancel classes for all third- and fourth-year and postdoctoral dental students until the extent of the illness was known. The statement said the university was fully cooperating and had agreed to close both the dental school and dental clinic on Friday as a precaution. The student, who was not identified, was said to be recovering.

Hawaii Gov. Linda Lingle on Thursday signed into law a bill intended to make dental care more accessible to special-needs patients by broadening the types of professionals who can qualify for dental licensure in the state. The old law allowed dentists, even those not licensed in Hawaii, to apply for a temporary license while employed by the state or county governments to provide dental services to dispensaries, infirmaries, private schools and welfare centers. The new law, called Act 36, broadens the scope by adding another category of temporary licenses for dentists employed by the state Department of Health to cover people with disabilities or mental illness as well as the aging population in Hawaii’s rural, underserved areas. It is intended to make it easier to recruit out-of-state dentists to practice in Hawaii’s rural areas, particularly the Neighbor Islands, where state officials say there is a shortage of dentists.

The Association will continue to challenge the Red Flags rule while the Federal Trade Commission delays enforcement until August 1, ADA President John S. Findley told members in an April 30 e-gram. The e-gram text is below and posted at "The ADA’s vigorous efforts to reverse the FTC’s regulation, coupled with the nearly 11,000 e-mails [ADA members] sent to Congress, have had the desired effect," Dr. Findley said. The rule would require financial institutions and creditors to develop written plans to prevent and detect identity theft. FTC originally deemed dentists and physicians as creditors who are subject to the rule when they don't receive payment in full from their patients at the time of treatment. The ADA believes that characterizing dentists as “creditors” in this context is incorrect, and our friends in Congress agree.

A new report issued by The Access Project and Brandeis University found that the costs of dental care represent more of a financial burden on families and individuals than has been previously recognized. In a survey of family farm and ranch operators in seven Great Plains states, three-quarters of households reported having dental out-of-pocket costs. The report, The Cost of Dental Care and the Impact of Dental Insurance Coverage, found that families on average spent $873 out-of-pocket annually on dental care, exceeding their $700 average out-of-pocket costs for prescription drugs. The amount spent on dental care constituted more than a quarter (27%) of families' overall out-of-pocket health care costs.

THE acceptance letters are in, decisions are being made and another horde of parents is getting ready to send children to college in the fall. If you’re part of that wave, here’s an important item for the to-do list: make sure your child has the right kind of health insurance. The task used to be fairly straightforward. Most group health plans have traditionally allowed dependent children to stay on a parent’s policy until the age of 23 or, in some cases, 25, if the child is a full-time student. That’s still typically the case. But with so many people losing jobs and, in turn, health benefits, counting on employer-sponsored health insurance isn’t the automatic default it once was

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