.
 
RAISE Health Benefits Act lead sponsor Rep. Steve Stivers (R-OH) at the AAO's 2017 Professional Advocacy Conference in Washington, D.C
We are excited to share that legislation that the AAO has been advocating for several years -- the Responsible Additions and Increases to Sustain Employee (RAISE) Health Benefits Act -- took a critical step forward in Congress this week. On July 12, the House Committee on Ways & Means approved a key element of the RAISE Health Benefits Act (H.R. 6313) -- the elimination of the “use it or lose it rule,” under which employees forfeit their flexible spending account (FSA) balance at the end of the year. 

If passed, an employee’s hard earned FSA contribution would stay theirs from year to year, for an amount up to three (3) times the annual limit before needing to be spent down.  This would allow individuals and families to save resources that could help them handle current and future medical and orthodontic expenses. This would strongly benefit the approximately 63% of the AAO’s patients who use FSAs to pay for their orthodontic treatment.

We thank the lead sponsors of the RAISE Health Benefits Act, Rep. Steve Stivers (R-OH) and Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-NM), for their long-standing leadership and hard work pushing this legislation forward. The AAO is working with Reps. Stivers and Lujan Grisham to pursue additional refinements to the RAISE Health Benefits Act before it goes to the House floor.

The RAISE Health Benefits Act would not be at this point without the grassroots efforts of AAO members like you -- together we have helped secure 50 co-sponsors in the House and Senate.  In fact, just two months ago the AAO held its largest Professional Advocacy Conference to date, with over 150 orthodontists storming the Hill to discuss the AAO’s RAISE Act with Representatives, Senators, and their staff.  

Stay tuned, as we may ask for your help again in the next few weeks engaging your Member of Congress to push the RAISE Health Benefits Act across the finish line in the House. 
 
Sean Murphy | Jul. 16, 2018

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The 2017-18 ABO Board announced the testing change in the March 2018 AJO-DO. Pictured, from left, front row: Drs. Valmy Pangrazio-Kulbersh, Chun-His Chung, Larry Tadlock, Nicholas Barone. Back row: Drs. Steven Dugoni, Jae Hyun Park, Timothy Trulove, Patrick Foley, David Sabott.
 
 
Following its May 2018 meeting in Washington, D.C., the AAO Board of Trustees announced its support for the American Board of Orthodontics’ new, scenario-based testing format.

“The AAO supports the ABO scenario-based exam,” said Dr. Brent Larson, AAO president. “We encourage board certification for all AAO members.”

“There have been many changes in the ABO exam since its inception,” said Dr. Gary Inman, AAO president-elect and chair of the AAO/ABO Communications Committee. “This is simply another way to promote and encourage Board Certification without the ethical dilemma that presenting cases poses. The scenario-based exam will be a true test of orthodontic knowledge as well as problem solving. The key objective of the change is to encourage all eligible AAO orthodontists to become Board certified.”

The ABO Board announced the change in testing format in a March 2018 editorial in the AJO-DO. The editorial noted the ABO written examination will remain the same and the exam as a whole will “not be easier.” The ABO Board cited a lengthy process of evaluation that led to the conclusion that the requirement for presenting treated cases was proving to be a barrier to Board certification for many in today’s orthodontic work environment.

The editorial noted, “The clinical examinations of 4 of the American Dental Association’s recognized dental specialty boards are completely scenario-based (American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology, American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, American Board of Pediatric Dentistry, and American Board of Periodontology). Also, the orthodontics oral examination of the Royal College of Dentists of Canada is entirely scenario-based. The majority of the American Board of Medical Specialties’ member boards also offer scenario-based certification.”
Additional information about the ABO’s planned implementation of the scenario-based testing system may be found in the March 2018 AJO-DO editorial, including an explanation of how the tools previously used by the ABO to assess case outcomes will be used within the scenario-based exam system.

In addition, Dr. Larry Tadlock, then ABO president-elect, was interviewed about the change to scenario-based testing in an AAO podcast that was made available via the eBulletin. The podcast featuring Dr. Tadlock’s interview remains available at The Business of Orthodontics Podcast.  Additional information may also be found at americanboardortho.com.
 
Jul. 12, 2018

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Lawmakers in Washington, D.C. have  passed a Continuing Resolution (CR) to fund the federal government through February 8.  In addition, the CR will also retroactively extend the moratorium on the medical device tax (which went back into affect on January 1, 2018), such that the tax will not apply to sales during calendar years 2018 and 2019. Without the moratorium, the medical device tax would have applied to many orthodontic devices and appliances. 

The medical device tax has long been an advocacy issue for the AAO, and this moratorium will allow an average member's practice to not have to pay this additional tax, at least for the next two years.  Thank you to all of those who support the AAO's advocacy efforts and Political Action Committee (AAOPAC).
 
Jan. 23, 2018

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Dr. Nahid Maleki with Rep. John Garamendi (D-CA)
AAO recently spearheaded an effort, which involved 14 other dental groups, who all endorsed proposed legislation in the 115th Congress, that would allow graduates to more efficiently pay back student loans.  Led by a bipartisan coalition, including Reps. John Garamendi (D-CA) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), the proposed legislation would provide parity in the ability to refinance student loans and would ensure that the federal government does not profit from student borrowers.
 
The AAO recently wrote an official letter of endorsement, also signed by numerous other dental-related organizations.  Key features of the Student Loan Refinancing and Recalculation Act include:
  • Allowing borrowers to refinance their student loan interest rates to the 10-year Treasury note rate, plus one percent, throughout the lifetime of the loan.
  • Eliminating origination fees and instead set future student loan interest rates at the 10-year Treasury note rate, plus one percent.
  • Delaying student loan interest rate accrual for many low- and middle-income borrowers while they are in school.
  • Allowing for borrowers in medical or dental residencies to defer payments until the completion of their programs.
The letter notes that dental specialty graduates, such as orthodontists, have some of the highest average debt loads of any borrowers. If passed, the Student Loan Refinancing and Recalculation Act would create changes to the federal student loan program, which would allow all student borrowers to more efficiently pay back their loans, while also allowing them to make other important investments in their careers and futures (such as starting their own orthodontic practices).
 
AAO members can view a full copy of the letter by clicking here.
Sep. 6, 2017

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Register now and hear a clinician's 10-year perspective on 3D imaging and 3D printing at the 2017 Winter Conference, February 10-11 in Fort Lauderdale. In addition to Dr. Ed Lin's lecture, speakers will share new perspectives on Internet and social media marketing and a deep dive into technology return on investment.

The meeting, "Technology: Balancing Profit, Lifestyle and Patient Care," will feature presentations by well-regarded consultants and AAO members with expertise in technology-related aspects of practice management.

“Orthodontists love gadgets,” says Dr. Greg Jorgensen, general chair of the conference. “Most of us are technology nerds. In addition to craving the newest and coolest things, we also feel pressure to make sure our practices are up-to-date technologically. As a young doctor, you wonder, ‘If I don’t have this technology, will I be able to compete?’ As you near retirement, you worry, ‘If I don’t have this technology, will I be able to sell?’ And in the mid-career years, you ask yourself, ‘Will this make me money, make my life easier, and give my patients better care?’ Attendees will leave the conference with a better idea of not only what is the newest thing, but also a grasp of what technology makes sense for their individual practices.’”

The program will include:

● Mr. Steven McEvoy
Lecture:
Computers are a Pain in the  . . .

● Dr. Greg Jorgensen
Lecture:
Internet Marketing 2017:  What’s Working, What’s Not
 
● Dr. Neal Kravitz
Lecture:
Building an Elite Office through Facebook Marketing

● Dr. Aaron Molen
Lecture:
TechNO or TechYES:  Pragmatic Technology in the Modern Orthodontic Office

● Dr. Edward Lin
Lecture:
One Clinician’s Journey with 3D Imaging and 3D Printing over the Past Decade
 
● Dr. Christian Groth
Lecture:
Intraoral Scanners and 3D Printers:  Is It Time to Upgrade Your Digital Toolbox?
 
● Mr. Charles Loretto
Lecture: Technology and Orthodontics:  What Makes Financial Sense?
 
● Mr. Chris Bentson
Effects of Technology on Practice Value and Profitability

Keynote speaker Jack Shaw is a noted expert on the strategic impact of emerging technologies. Voted one of the World’s Top 5 Technology Futurists by more than 12,000 meeting planners, executives and conference attendees, Mr. Shaw has advised Oracle, SAP, IBM, CA Technologies and others.

Mr. Shaw’s lecture, “How Technology is Disrupting Business as Usual,” will address the relationship between today’s orthodontic practice and emerging technologies.

Learn more and register for the 2017 Winter Conference.

 
Jan. 30, 2017

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Access a wealth of practice management and clinical online learning opportunities via a new, easy-to-navigate platform that offers access to both archived Online Lectures and live webinar registration and information. Within the next few weeks, archived meeting lecture packages will also be available on the platform.

The easy to scan live webinars page offers brief descriptions of each upcoming webinar as well as dates, cost information and access to additional details/registration. You may also access your CE transcript via the platform. The next webinars in each series will be:

Doctors (registration $50 per practice): “Treatment of Transverse Problems in Young Adults with TADs” by Dr. Peter Ngan, February 7;

Orthodontic Staff (registration $40 per practice): “Risk Management Practices for Orthodontic Staff” by Jessica Barbachem, February 14 or February `16;

Business of Orthodontics (free to all members): “Student Loans:  Controlling the Cash Flow” by Andrew Tucker, February 21.

The Online Lectures section of the platform provides easy access to all archived Online Lectures in each package category. Scroll down to the middle of the page and click on the Business of Orthodontics package (free to members), or fee-based lecture packages for Doctors and Staff ($100 annual subscription or $30 pay-per-view; members of the Orthodontic Staff Club receive a free annual subscription.)

Within the three packages, each lecture description is tagged based on what the lecture addresses. If you click on a tag, such as bone biology or finance, all lectures on the platform pertaining to that topic will appear on the display.
 
System Requirements for Online Lectures on the New Platform
To view Online Lectures, you will need:
  • Browser​: ​IE9 or ​greater​​, Chrome, Firefox​ (​n​ewer browsers are recommended for HLS compatibility);
  • Cookies enabled on the ​users​ machine and network (network ​aadministrators can and will limit cookie traffic on secured networks);
  • Adobe Flash plugin installed at latest version OR HLS capable ​browser;
  • Bandwidth (recommended): 1.2 Mbps or g​reater.



 
 
 
Jan. 23, 2017

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Register now for the 2017 Winter Conference in Fort Lauderdale and plan to make your voice heard at an open forum for all AAO members to share ideas, questions and concerns with AAO leadership. The 2017 AAO Member Town Hall will be Saturday, February 11 from 7 a.m. – 8 a.m. at the Winter Conference.

The AAO held a town hall for members with 10 years or less in practice at the 2016 Annual Session; however, members at every career stage are invited to attend the 2017 town hall.

Dr. Daniel Keith of the Council on New and Younger Members (CONYM) will serve as the moderator, with four members to serve on the town hall panel:
  • Dr. Brent Larson, secretary-treasurer of the AAO
  • Dr. Norm Nagel, board member and trustee liaison to the Council on Communications
  • Dr. Michal Kleinlerer, CONYM Chair
  • Dr. Mariela Anderson, CONYM
To participate in the Town Hall, visit the Caribbean Salon IV (first floor) of the conference hotel. No tickets are required and continental breakfast will be available beginning at 6:30am. If you are unable to attend the Town Hall in person, you may still participate by:
  1. Viewing the event on Facebook Live – The AAO Town Hall will be streaming live on the AAO member Facebook page. Join from anywhere at 7:00am ET to watch and share your thoughts.
  2. Submitting your questions in advance – Send your questions or comments for the AAO panel to bhackworth@aaortho.org by Monday, February 6th.

About the Winter Conference
Expert speakers will offer in-depth knowledge of how to assess the potential impact of new technologies on your practice's bottom line at the 2017 Winter Conference. The meeting, “Technology: Balancing Profit, Lifestyle, and Patient Care,” will be February 10-11 in Fort Lauderdale.
Learn more and register for the 2017 Winter Conference
 
Dec. 19, 2016

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Dr. Martin Palomo, a member of AAO’s Committee on Technology (CTECH), recently presented updated CBCT research on the AAO’s behalf to the Alliance for Radiation Safety in Pediatric Imaging (the Image Gently Alliance).  Image Gently’s mission is to improve safe and effective imaging care of children worldwide through advocacy.
 
According to Dr. Palomo, Image Gently has accepted and implemented the AAO’s revisions to its website. The AAO language included:

● “Recent advances of low-dose CBCT options exposes the patients to less or equivalent radiation to commonly used dental imaging modalities (Ludlow 2013)”; and
● “Use CBCT when appropriate and use the low-dose CBCT option if available and appropriate.”

“These statements now appear throughout the Image Gently website and replace, ‘Use CBCT only when necessary,’ and ‘Taking a CBCT image results in more radiation dose to the child than other commonly used dental images,’” says Dr. Palomo.
 
Dec. 19, 2016

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The December issue of the Practice Management Bulletin features in-depth inter views with 2017 meeting planning committee members:

● The 2017 Winter Conference, February 10-11 in Fort Lauderdale, will address how to assess the potential impact of new technologies on your practice's bottom line.
● The 2017 Annual Session, April 22-25 in San Diego, will blend a comprehensive management curriculum for the orthodontic team with scientific and clinical advances.

Dr. Greg Jorgensen, Winter Conference general chair, joins other AAO members and consultants who will also lecture at the meeting in addressing how they plan to give attendees a sense of which technologies make the most sense for their individual practices.

In the Annual Session portion of the feature, Drs. David Musich, Paul McKenna and James Vaden explain the meeting’s complete management curriculum for the entre orthodontic team.
Dec. 19, 2016

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The 2017 Winter Conference keynote speaker, Jack Shaw, is a noted expert on the strategic impact of emerging technologies. Mr. Shaw is among lecturers who will offer  in-depth knowledge of how to assess the potential impact of new technologies on your practice's bottom line at the 2017 Winter Conference. The meeting, “Technology: Balancing Profit, Lifestyle, and Patient Care,” will be February 10-11 in Fort Lauderdale.

Voted one of the World’s Top 5 Technology Futurists by more than 12,000 meeting planners, executives and conference attendees, Mr. Shaw has advised Oracle, SAP, IBM, CA Technologies and others. In addition, he has helped Fortune 500 Companies such as General Electric and Coca Cola to develop best practices in technology planning and strategy. He has also advised hundreds of small to mid-sized businesses.

Mr. Shaw’s lecture, “How Technology is Disrupting Business as Usual,” will address the relationship between today’s orthodontic practice and emerging technologies such as 3D printing, artificial intelligence, and Blockchain.* He will guide attendees in an exploration of how these technologies relate to current orthodontic business and those of the not-too-distant future.

“Jack Shaw has spent the past six months studying the orthodontic climate and working with technology vendors,” says Dr. Greg Jorgensen, 2017 Winter Conference general chair. “His objective is to identify trends emerging outside the orthodontic field that may affect us and provide us with predictions about what to expect in the coming decade.”






















Learn more and register for the 2017 Winter Conference
● View the article, “Winter Conference Program Offers Technology ROI Insights
● Read a feature article about the Winter Conference in the December Practice Management Bulletin

​* According to Wikipedia, Blockchain is a “distributed database that maintains a continuously growing list of records called blocks secured from tampering and revision. . . (It) is a core component of the digital currency bitcoin . . . where it serves as the public ledger for all transactions.”
Dec. 16, 2016

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