Thursday, May 03, 2012

The Morning Drill: May 3, 2012

Architect's vision of the new Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry building in the San Francisco, California's South of Market district. (Photo courtesy University of the Pacific)

Good Thursday morning!

On to today's dentistry and health headlines:

University of Pacific dental school to relocate

The University of the Pacific Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry will be relocating its operations to a newly acquired, seven-story building in San Francisco's South of Market district.

SmithGroupJJR has been selected to provide architectural services for the new dental school campus located at 155 Fifth Street in a 395,000 gross square feet building.

The space will undergo a comprehensive renovation, including a complete replacement of the exterior facade and interior spaces and is expected to open in mid-2014. It will contain simulation laboratories, classrooms, and research and support space for the dental school, and will also accommodate clinical changes and technology enhancements to support patient care.

Extraction Only Dental Office Opening in Pacific

Facing a struggling economy and a need for a more practical kind of dentistry, Dr. William B. McHugh, a Marthasville dentist, is opening an extractions only dental office in the flagship McHugh-Dailey family building at 107 E. Orleans St.

Some 80 years after his father, Dr. William O. McHugh, opened his dental office in what is now the smoking room of the Great Pacific Coffee Company restaurant, Dr. McHugh has transformed the first floor of the old annex into a dental office.

The dentist’s decision to locate on the first floor of the McHugh living quarters, adjacent to the space where his father opened his first dental office in 1927, created a family gathering that included his brother James McHugh, nieces, nephews and numerous Dailey cousins of several generations.

The waiting area for the new office is created in an alcove, which can be entered via a ramp at the east end of the former McHugh annex or by the Orleans Street grand entrance that leads up the wide staircase to the upper floors. Waiting patients can sit in a row of wood theater seats rescued from the third floor opera house, which is being restored for public use.

“We sanded them down and rubbed linseed oil into them,” said Gloria Yanker, McHugh’s office manager.

McHugh and his brother James are now part owners of the building with two Dailey brothers, Tom and Mike, grandsons of building co-founder James Dailey.

McHugh, who graduated from St. Louis University High School and dental college, became a dentist in 1964. He now has a full service dental office in Marthasville. He plans to keep both the Pacific and Marthasville offices open.

Extraction is most often the dental procedure of choice in these economic conditions, McHugh said. Extraction will be done for a flat fee of $150.

American Academy of Implant Dentistry Sues Texas Dental Board

The American Academy of Implant Dentistry (AAID) has filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Austin seeking to invalidate a Texas regulation that severely restricts dentists from advertising their bona fide AAID credentials in implant dentistry.  In 2009 and 2010, AAID won judicial verdicts overturning similar rules enforced by state dental boards in Florida and California.

AAID's chief legal counsel, Frank Recker, JD, DDS, informed the Texas Board of Dental Examiners in writing about the unequivocal judicial precedents and hoped to convince the Board to rescind its restrictions and avoid litigation.  "The Board did not respond to our communications for two years.  Since AAID's credentialed members continue to be in jeopardy if they advertise their credentials, the Academy decided to pursue legal action," said Recker.  Two Texas dentists holding AAID's dental implant credentials, Dr. Jay Elliott of Houston and Dr.  Monty Buck of Galveston joined the lawsuit as individual co-plaintiffs.   

AAID is seeking a permanent injunction and declaratory judgment to strike down the Texas regulation, which allows unrestricted advertising only for dental credentials and accreditations issued by organizations recognized as dental specialties by the American Dental Association (ADA).  Dentists with bona fide credentials not issued by ADA-recognized specialty organizations are required to include lengthy disclaimers in their advertising in Texas.  This limitation, contends AAID, is burdensome and prohibits dentists from advertising true statements about credentials in implant dentistry earned from AAID and American Board of Oral Implantology (ABOI).   In Florida and California, the presiding judges ruled that such advertising restrictions violate the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, which protect freedom speech and equal protection of the laws.  Recker said the legal precedents solidly favor AAID and Drs. Elliott and Buck.

Salem health center gets $500K for dental clinic

North Shore Community Health Inc. will receive $498,500 of the $728 million the federal government awarded to health centers across the U.S. this week for capital investments.

At NSCH, the grant will go toward much-needed equipment upgrades and a relocation and expansion of their Salem dental clinic, CEO Margaret Brennan said.

NSCH offers primary care, from immunizations to counseling services, at facilities in Peabody, Gloucester and two locations in Salem: Salem High School and 47 Congress St. The majority of NSCH's patients are at or below the federal poverty level, Brennan said, but the facility treats anyone who walks through the door, "whether they can pay or not."

The grant money will allow NSCH to relocate its Salem dental clinic, which treats between 2,000 and 3,000 patients each year in a cramped space with six treatment rooms.

The clinic has to turn away roughly 1,000 patients each year who need more complicated oral surgeries, Brennan said. Facility staff ask the patients to go into Boston for the surgery, but many are unable to make the trip and end up in an emergency room, and eventually, back at NSCH.

NSCH is looking to relocate the dental clinic from its Congress Street facility to a nearby site. In doing so, it will be able to reclaim the existing dental clinic space to provide more medical services.

"We're hopeful with expanded dental services we'll be able to treat those folks (that need oral surgery), which will be a tremendous service to our community," Brennan said. "This is going to go a long way ... This will only improve our ability to provide even better care."

The grant money will also go toward upgrading dental equipment as well as a telephone call center, which has seen a spike in call volume; NSCH's patient load has increased by 43 percent since 2007.

NSCH applied for the federal grant in November and found out Tuesday morning it was one of 13 recipients in Massachusetts.

In the Commonwealth, $33 million was distributed through the new health care law, often dubbed "Obamacare." The grant program is meant to support renovation and construction projects.

U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced the grants Tuesday, touting the program as creating jobs and boosting health centers' ability to care for additional patients.

Enjoy your morning!

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