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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On January 17, the IRS published a notice (see attached) stating that the agency will temporarily waive penalties (not the tax itself) tied to the medical device tax for the first three quarters of 2018 in the “interest of sound tax administration” due to the “short time frame between the end of the moratorium period [January 1, 2018] and the due date of the first deposit [January 29, 2018].”  The medical device tax has long been an advocacy issue for the AAO, so removing the penalties now that the moratorium has been lifted (at least for the first three quarters of 2018) is hopefully beneficial to you and your practice.  

The AAO continues to lobby to try to retroactively extend the medical device tax moratorium, such that the tax would not apply to sales during calendar years 2018 or 2019.  

Jan. 19, 2018

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The 2018 Annual Session lecture, “Respectful Workplace Conversations: Resolving the War of Words between Doctor/Staff; Staff/Staff; Doctor/Patient,” by Jacqueline Huggins, PhD will have space for 500 participants. Registrants may now reserve tickets to the lecture at Annual Session registration online.

The three-hour program, to be presented starting at 8 am Saturday, May 5, is part of the Mega Trends series for doctors and orthodontic staff.
“In developing the 2018 Annual Session continuing education, the Planning Committee wanted to do some re-imagining of topics and how lectures are presented stylistically,” says Dr. Sheldon Seidel, serving as 2018 Orthodontic Staff Program co-chair along with Dr. Normand Boucher. “Dr. Huggins uses an interactive format and will respond to texted questions during the program, which is something many of our members have requested. The program will include breakdown into small group discussions.”

The Annual Session lecture schedules list the Mega Trends series in the Orthodontic Staff Program grid; however, Dr. Seidel emphasizes that content in the series, including Dr. Huggins’ program, will be relevant for both doctors and staff.

“Dr. Huggins will guide us through an exploration of a way to approach the workplace that is very different from how most of us view it,” says Dr. Seidel. “We think the program will have a big impact and that those who participate will feel differently and interact differently with people after they return to work.”
An organizational effectiveness consultant and corporate training program developer, Dr. Huggins teaches individuals and organizations how to improve thought processes and implement organizational procedures that lead to positive change.  On Saturday afternoon, May 5, Dr. Huggins will present a second, reserve-ticketed lecture in the Mega Trends series, “The Generation Gap:  Bridging the Divide.”

To view the complete Mega Trends lecture schedule, view the Annual Session Orthodontic Staff program.

Jan. 18, 2018

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Register your team for the 2018 Annual Session and provide an intensive education for them in many key skills and knowledge aspects of each position.

Note that your team may be eligible for Annual Session registration discounts. An Orthodontic Staff Club member may be eligible for both of the following:
• Each AAO Orthodontic Staff Club member will receive a $25 registration discount for the 2018 Annual Session.  Membership dues are $50 per practice, covering an unlimited number of employees.
• All orthodontic staff are eligible for a 20 percent registration discount when four or more employees of the same doctor register by the Early Registration Deadline (April 6, 2018).

Orthodontic Staff Hands-On Sessions Provide State-of-the-Art Training
New orthodontic staff workshops at the 2018 Annual Session will include Barbara Brinker of Dolphin presenting, “Advanced Processing of CBCT Images," and Cali Kaltschmidt and Dr. Christopher Riolo presenting, “Hands-on 3D Printing: From the Scanner to Your Hand."

The workshops will be two of four ticketed, hands-on lectures for Orthodontic Staff on Friday, May 4 at the 2018 Annual Session. Each workshop is offered at 1 pm and again at 3 pm. Tickets for these limited-attendance workshops should be purchased in advance via Annual Session registration.

Advanced Processing of CBCT Images
The workshop will use Dolphin 3D to demonstrate advanced aspects of processing CBCT datasets. Ticket cost is $30. Participants will learn:
♦ Techniques for rendering, orienting, and segmenting volumes and slices;
♦ How to build accurate 2D radiographs from the 3D dataset including: lateral and frontal cephs, panoramic images, cross sections, nerve canals, and TMJ slices (coronal, sagittal, circular);
♦ Use of the measurement tools (2D and 3D) and 2D and 3D cephalometric analyses;
♦ If time permits, overlaying and linking soft tissue bitmaps and digital study models.

NOTE: Participants may bring their own laptops with Dolphin Imaging 3D installed, or use a workshop computer. Optional: Bring a DICOM format patient file to load and use.

Hands-on 3D Printing: From the Scanner to your Hand
This workshop will bridge the gap between the intra-oral scanner and the 3D printer. Ticket cost is $30. Participants will:
♦ Edit and print in 3D dental arches from intraoral scans;
♦ Use Meshmixer to fill holes, trim models and create a base for the STL of their scanned dental arch;
♦ Import and print their dental arches using one of a number of different 3D printers available at the workshop.

NOTE: Each participant must bring a laptop and download and install Meshmixer on the laptop before the workshop. Registered participants will be emailed a link to obtain Meshmixer in advance.

 Popular returning hands-on programs will include:

♦ “Wire Bending for the Orthodontic Assistant,” by Dr. Douglas Depew (ticket cost $30);

“Patient Photography Made Easy,” by Rita Bauer (ticket cost $50; 1 pm session is sold out).


Jan. 15, 2018

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The AAO’s new executive director, Lynne Thomas Gordon, CAE, began her official duties on January 8, 2018, following her appointment to the position late last year. She began her orientation to the AAO by participating as an observer in the recent Global Strategic Planning Committee meeting in St. Louis.

Bringing more than 30 years of healthcare and association leadership experience to the AAO, Ms. Gordon succeeds Dr. DeWayne McCamish, who served as interim executive director during 2017 while the Board of Trustees conducted a national search for a permanent appointee. Most recently, Ms. Gordon was the CEO of the Chicago-based American Health Information Management Association, a position she had held since 2011. She had previously served as the associate vice president of operations and director of Rush Children’s Hospital in Chicago, administrator of Houston Medical Center in Warner Robins, Georgia, and COO of Children’s Hospital of Michigan in Detroit.

“I have great respect for the orthodontist professional and the work they do to create healthy, beautiful smiles,” said Ms. Gordon. “It is with immense pleasure and pride that I accept this role. It will be an honor to work with such a dedicated Board of Trustees as well as the AAO staff.”

Ms. Gordon has been nominated several times by Modern Healthcare as one of the “100 Most Influential People in Healthcare” and has provided numerous interviews and articles to publications such as The New York Times, CNBC, The Wall Street Journal, Modern Healthcare, The Washington Post, Politico, Health Leaders and The New Yorker, among others. She holds an MBA and is a Certified Association Executive (CAE), board certified in healthcare management as an ACHE Fellow (FACHE), a Registered Health Information Administrator (RHIA), and a Fellow of the American Health Information Management Association (FAHIMA).

Under Ms. Gordon’s leadership, the AAO will continue to educate the public about the benefits of orthodontic treatment by AAO orthodontists; improve the health of the public by promoting quality orthodontic care and the importance of overall oral healthcare; advocate for the public interest; promote the highest standards of excellence in orthodontic education and practice; and support AAO members in the practice of orthodontics. The AAO will continue to provide support to orthodontic education programs and orthodontic research through its charitable arm, the AAO Foundation, incorporated as a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation.

Jan. 11, 2018

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No matter which stage your career is in, the challenges and intricacies of an orthodontic practice transition can be daunting. This full-day program will address your questions, concerns and uncertainties from all angles. Join expert orthodontic consultants Ken Alexander, Doug Copple, Shannon Patterson and Dr. Laurance Jerrold as they share their unique approaches to practice transition. New in 2018, the Seminar will also offer invaluable insights from DSO (dental support organization) executives and experts through an interactive panel discussion. Topics to be addressed are:

    Finding the right candidate for your orthodontic opportunity is both imperative and arduous, and we aim to ease the process by offering multiple ways to facilitate your search. Join the AAO’s Orthodontic Career Fair held each year during Annual Session to find professional, highly-motivated candidates invested in ongoing learning and career development.

    The heavy burden of student loans carried by the typical new orthodontic graduate creates a variety of challenges and may limit career choices for some. The AAO found four young orthodontists, however, who all identified multiple solutions that helped them overcome many debt-related financial obstacles. Here are summaries of the “Student Debt Superstars’” stories:

    Canada Native Knows His Financial Boundaries: As a Canadian, Dr. Matthew Ng had limited eligibility for loans to study in the United States, where he completed dental school and his orthodontic residency. Completing his residency with $105,000 in total debt, Dr. Ng paid off his debt in two years after completing his residency in 2004.
    Read the Complete Story

    Tackling Debt Head-On Has Its Rewards: As an undergraduate, Dr. Trista Felty improved her performance as a member of the Villanova University varsity swim team so that by her senior year, she had a full athletic scholarship. While in dental school and orthodontic residency, Dr. Felty utilized a variety of financial management strategies to continue limiting her student loans. Her resourcefulness helped hold her total debt to $56,000.
    Read the Complete Story
    The Fast Track to Financial Freedom:  High interest rates on student loans caused this young orthodontist to accumulate more than $70,000 in interest and total debt of $525,000 as a dental student and orthodontic resident. He paid off 50 percent of his debt over three years after graduating in 2014, helped by refinancing and a property sale. He also challenged the conventional wisdom that heavy student debt means one cannot buy a practice soon after graduation.
    Read the Complete Story

    Sticking to the Plan Pays Off:  Since graduating from his orthodontic residency in 2006, this doctor has reduced his $185,000 in total student loan debt to less than one-third of the original amount. He planned his payments to focus on the higher-interest residency loan first while consolidating and refinancing other loans.
    Read the Complete Story

    More about Student Loan Debt

    ♦ Access an AAO Business of Orthodontics webinar, “Student Loans: Controlling the Cash Flow,” by Andrew Tucker, JD, CPA, CFP® (free to AAO members).

    ♦ Through AAO Services’ endorsement agreement with SoFi (Social Finance, Inc.), members may be able to lower their student loan debt by consolidating and refinancing their loans.  
    Learn More

    ♦ AAO leaders have helped lead efforts to advocate with Congress for student debt legislation designed to reduce the debt load among young orthodontic graduates.
    Learn More
    Jan. 4, 2018

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