Missouri was the fifth state to receive advocacy assistance via the AAO Component Legal Support Fund (CLSF). In January, the Missouri Society of Orthodontists applied for CLSF funding and in April, the state dental board rescinded the state’s dental advertising rules. *
Dr. Michael LaFerla of Joplin, president of the Missouri Society of Orthodontists, recently reported to the component’s membership:

“The AAO’s Component Legal Support Fund (CLSF) enabled Associate General Counsel Sean Murphy the ability to work with the Missouri Dental Association and the Missouri Dental Board to draft a legislative amendment that strengthens Missouri’s advertising laws and as a result, protects the public. It all moved very quickly, but the coalition was still able to amend the language into HB 1719, which passed within the final hours of Missouri’s legislative session this year.”

Click here to view the language, which is underlined on pages 98-100. 

First established by a vote of the 2015 House of Delegates, the CLSF provides grants to component organizations that enable the AAO to assist with legal and advocacy work on proposed legislation or regulatory changes that would impact orthodontic practices and patients at the state level.

Learn about other recent state-based advocacy initiatives:

- New Hampshire
- Iowa
- Georgia
- Rhode Island
* An additional 10 states have now qualified for assistance via the CLSF.
Jun. 29, 2018

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The 2017-18 AAO webinar series is now available as part of AAO Online Lectures, with the recent webcasts having joined hundreds of other online programs addressing key orthodontic clinical and practice management topics.
Visit Online Lectures to access lectures in the categories you prefer, including:

Business of Orthodontics lectures (free to all members).  Explore recent topics such as:
▪ Speak Their Language! Utilizing Technology to Communicate with the Modern Orthodontic Patient, by Dr. Daniel Bills
▪ New in Practice? Critical Financial Strategies for Success, by Brad A. Kucharo, CPA, CFP®
▪ Let Data Drive Your Strategy, by Mary Beth Kirkpatrick
▪ Building an Elite Office with Facebook Marketing, by Dr. Neal D. Kravitz
▪ Why Your Digital Marketing Isn’t Working, by Dr. Leon Klempner
▪ Measuring Orthodontic Marketing Effectiveness, by Andrew Tucker, JD, CPA, CFP®

Doctors Lectures:  Presentations are accessible with a $100 per year Online Lectures subscription or at $30 pay-per-view. Recent additions include:
▪ Facial Esthetics Oriented Treatment Planning with VTO and TADs Dr. Sercan Akyalcin
▪ Pragmatic and Peculiar Practice Pearls, by Dr. Kelton Stewart 
▪ Realistic Treatment of Patients Missing Maxillary Lateral Incisor by Dr. José A. Bósio
▪ The Doctor’s Role in Case Acceptance:  Key Components of a High-Value Consultation, by Landy Chase, MBA, CSP

Orthodontic Staff Lectures:  Lectures are accessible as a benefit of membership in the Orthodontic Staff Club ($50 per practice, per year, for all staff) or at $30 pay-per-view. Recent additions include:
▪ Clinical Photography: What is Your Doctor Looking For?, by Dr. Douglas Depew
▪ OSHA Safety Rocks – for Ortho Teams, by Jackie Dorst, RDH, BS
▪ Best Practices for Infection Control in Orthodontic Practices, by Jackie Dorst, RDH, BS

ADA CERP Recognition
The American Association of Orthodontists is an ADA CERP Recognized Provider.  ADA CERP is a service of the American Dental Association to assist dental professionals in identifying quality providers of continuing dental education. ADA CERP does not approve or endorse individual courses or instructors, nor does it imply acceptance of credit hours by boards of dentistry.

American Association of Orthodontists designates for all CE activities, 0.25 credit hours will be awarded for each 15 minutes of activity time unless otherwise noted. Concerns or complaints about a CE provider may be directed to the provider or to the Commission for Continuing Education Provider Recognition at www.ada.org/cerp.

Jun. 29, 2018

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Dentist and U.S. Rep. Brian Babin (R-Texas) has introduced the Resident Education Deferred Interest Act (REDI) Act in the House of Representatives. The bill, HR 5734, would halt interest accrual while loans are in forbearance or deferment for those who qualify for the internship/residency category of either of these payment delay options.

The AAO supports this bill in addition to H.R. 4001, introduced last year by Congressman John Garamendi, and for which the AAO has advocated extensively. The Babin bill includes language similar to that of the Garamendi bill, but the latter also includes other provisions such as student loan interest rate refinancing and eliminating origination fees on student loans – both of which may be quite costly. The Babin bill focuses exclusively on interest rate deferral and so offers an additional legislative opportunity to address this high-priority issue.

During 2017, AAO leaders and legislative counsel led dental organizations that worked closely with Rep. Garamendi on his bill. The legislator introduced the Student Loan Refinancing and Recalculating Act with Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania. Congressman Garamendi is a Democrat and Congressman Fitzpatrick is a Republican, so the bill had immediate bi-partisan support.
Jun. 29, 2018

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A new commission that will oversee decisions about recognition of dental specialties and their certifying boards met for the first time May 9-10 at the American Dental Association headquarters in Chicago.

Among the meeting participants was Dr. Andrew J. Kwasny of Erie, Pennsylvania, who was appointed by the AAO as its representative on the National Commission on Recognition of Dental Specialties and Certifying Boards. The ADA announced that the commission includes nine general dentists, appointed by the ADA Board of Trustees, and one specialist from each of the nine recognized specialties, with a public/consumer member still to be appointed. The commission’s initial meeting included establishment of rules, policies, operating procedures and organizational structure.
View the ADA Announcement

Dr. Kwasny became the ADA Third District trustee in 2013 and served a four-year term on the ADA Board. He had been a delegate to the ADA House since 2003 and was a member of the ADA Council on Government Affairs. He is a past president of the Pennsylvania Dental Association. Dr. Kwasny completed his dental education and orthodontic residency at the University of Pittsburgh, where he also earned an advanced degree in microbiology.

AAO Leaders Helped Spur ADA Policy on the New Commission 
During the 2017 ADA Annual Session last fall, AAO Board members advocated for the resolution that changed the ADA by-laws to allow the creation of the new commission.  Dr. Brent Larson, now AAO president, served on an ADA task force that developed the resolution calling for establishment of the commission.

Dr. Larson and Dr. Christopher A. Roberts, now AAO secretary-treasurer, said at the time that the commission would shift responsibility for specialty and certifying board recognition from the state dental boards to the ADA, which would be the preference of most state boards.
Read More about the AAO’s Role in Advocating for the Commission
May. 31, 2018

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A company seeking interview subjects for a program that it says will air on the FOX Business Channel has initiated a new “pay-to-play” media opportunity campaign targeting orthodontists.
As has been the case with past programs of this nature, the salesperson may contact your office and ask to speak to you about a possible interview for a health-related TV show. If you accept the call, the initial dialogue with the company may be lengthy and the representative may pressure you to sign a contract almost immediately. There could be insinuations that the offer must be acted upon quickly or it will be withdrawn and/or offered to a competitor.
The caller may not reveal that there are costs involved or may avoid responding with straightforward information about costs when asked to do so.  With these types of situations, costs often range from a few thousand to tens of thousands of dollars.

Legitimate news organizations do not expect people they interview to pay for the interview, its production costs, or air time, nor do they expect those interviewed to sign a contract.

While many AAO members may have no interest in paying the hefty price tag, others may determine that a “pay-to-play” media opportunity is a desirable marketing option for their practice. If you feel this is an option you want to pursue, make sure you know about any financial or legal obligations up front.  You can also ask the representative to provide:

● The name and URL of the media outlet they represent;

● The day(s) and time(s) the interview will air;
● The station(s) or websites that will air the interview;
● All fees associated with the opportunity.
You may also wish to ask if you will be able to use the video for your own purposes if you contract for interview production.  However, if you are interested primarily in video production, it may be less expensive to hire your own video production company.

If you receive a questionable “media” call, you are welcome to refer the caller to the AAO.  You may also contact AAO staff with questions or concerns about “pay to play” media opportunities:

Pam Paladin
Marketing and Member/Consumer Relations Manager
800-424-2841, Ext. 524
May. 24, 2018

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The AAO Component Legal Support Fund (CLSF) achieved a victory in recent work with the New Hampshire Association of Orthodontists.

The New Hampshire component applied for funding from the CLSF after the AAO Legal Department’s Sean Murphy discovered that the state legislature was considering amendments to its specialty advertising laws that would have removed the “general dentist” disclaimer from general dentists advertising specialty services. 

Where the law now requires each dentist to indicate in his or her advertisement whether they are a "general dentist" or "specialist" when advertising services, the proposed revisions would have removed the required “general dentist” disclaimer from general dentists’ advertisements in New Hampshire.  The change would have made it possible for a general dentist to advertise orthodontic or other specialty services, without clarifying that he or she is a general dentist.

To put this in perspective, under the old language, a general dentist practicing orthodontics would have to state, "John Doe, general dentist, practicing orthodontics." Given that requirement, consumers knew exactly who they were dealing with - a general dentist.  Under the proposed change, the general dentist disclaimer would not have been required, so the same advertisement could read, "John Doe practicing orthodontics."  As you might imagine, consumers might have concluded (incorrectly) that John Doe is a specialist in orthodontics or maybe even an orthodontist, rather than a general dentist.

The proposed revision eliminating the general dentist disclaimer was included in legislation designed to update regulations applicable to dentists and dental hygienists by the New Hampshire Board of Dental Examiners.
The New Hampshire Dental Society responded positively to the AAO’s outreach on this issue. Society leaders subsequently indicated to the bill’s sponsors that the organization would not object to removing the language eliminating the general dentist disclaimer law from the pending legislation.

Working with Dr. Dennis Hiller, an AAO member from Jackson, New Hampshire, the AAO Legal Department prepared a letter outlining concerns about the bill. After it was approved and signed by Dr. Hiller and by Dr. Phil Mansour of Goffstown, New Hampshire, (Northeastern Society of Orthodontists’ representative to the AAO Political Action Committee), the letter was sent to all New Hampshire state legislators.
View the Letter to the New Hampshire Legislators
In the end, the language that would have removed the general dentist disclaimer was stricken from the bill.  General dentists’ advertising specialty services in NH must continue to inform consumers that they are “general dentists.” 
May. 24, 2018

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The 2018 AAO House of Delegates met May 4 and May 7 in Washington, D.C., acting on numerous items impacting the association and the specialty.
The HOD directed that the AAO president create a Big Data task force consisting of AAO members, nonmembers and/or consultants who have an expertise and/or interest in data analytics. The task force will assess how the AAO might develop a data analytics program to better position the association and/or the specialty in propelling the AAO’s mission and strategic plan forward in new and/or more effective ways than would be possible without the data. A detailed explanation of the importance of Big Data to the future of the specialty recently appeared in the AAO Tech Talk blog.

Additional HOD actions included:

Newly Approved Strategy Map, Policies Reflect Goal of Diversity in Leadership, Governance 
▪  The HOD approved a new AAO Strategy Map developed by the Global Strategic Planning Committee (GSPC), a group of diverse and representative AAO stakeholders. The Global Strategic Planning Committee includes delegates, councils, constituents, vendors, manufacturers, industry consultants and new and younger members. The proposed new strategy map emphasizes inclusiveness as a core value of the AAO. In addition, it focuses on promotion and defense of the specialty and leadership in innovation and transformation in the specialty that will help drive member success.

▪ The HOD encouraged constituents to assemble House delegations that reflect the diversity of members in their geographic region. In addition, each year the breakdown of delegates by race and gender, by constituent, is to be reported to the HOD by the AAO staff, who are also directed to investigate the best method of assessing the racial and gender make-up of the AAO membership and leadership.
▪ The HOD also called for the Council on New and Younger Members (CONYM) to select one of its members to attend each of the quarterly regularly scheduled meetings of the AAO Board of Trustees.

▪ An AAO task force will research issues specific to female orthodontists and specific ways that women may be better served as association members.

Dues, Consumer Awareness Program Fees Set for 2018-19 
Dues for U.S. Active Members will be $793.00 for 2018-19 (unchanged since 2013). 

▪ U.S. and Canadian active and affiliate members (active academic members excluded) will also be assessed $600 for Fiscal Year 2018-19 to fund the AAO Consumer Awareness Program (CAP),* keeping the assessment the same as that of 2017-18. The CAP assessment for 2019-20, 2020-21 and 2021-22 will be $800 per year. The objective of the CAP is to increase the public’s awareness of the value of having orthodontic treatment rendered by orthodontic specialists by exposing consumers to accurate information. The CAP’s all-digital approach for 2017-18 garnered a 6,100 percent increase in monthly visits to the consumer website, aaoinfo.org. A recent Google study (March 2018) showed that consumers who had seen a CAP ad were 615 percent more likely to search for the AAO or an AAO orthodontist than those who had not.
Learn More about the Consumer Awareness Program
Component Legal Support Fund Augmented to $1 Million
The Component Legal Support Fund (CLSF) balance will be increased to $1 million. First established by a vote of the 2015 House of Delegates, the CLSF provides grants to component organizations that enable the AAO to assist with legal and advocacy work on proposed legislation or regulatory changes that would impact orthodontic practices at the state level. Recent initiatives funded by the CLSF have addressed issues in Rhode Island, Georgia, Iowa, and New Hampshire.

AAO Faculty Fellowships to be Reinstated 
The AAO Faculty Fellowship Award Program will be reinstated for 2019, 2020, and 2021 with three, two-year funded Fellowships per year for orthodontic educators, and an outcomes assessment to follow. The fellowships are designed to help address an anticipated shortage of orthodontic faculty, data from the American Dental Education Association having revealed high numbers of experienced full-time and part-time dental faculty members are currently age 50+, with a significant number age 60+. AAO Full-time Faculty and Faculty First Fellowships were first awarded from 2007-09, with a total of $1.5 million being distributed among recipients in exchange for specific commitments to orthodontic education. The AAO has tracked recipients’ careers and of the 20 former Fellows, all but one has remained in academics.
Position on Medically Necessary Treatment of Craniofacial Anomalies Clarified 
For the purpose of third party reimbursement, the AAO considers serial reconstructive, orthodontic, and restorative therapies to be medically necessary treatment for craniofacial anomalies (CFA) to ensure a reasonable quality of life for affected individuals. Coverage should extend throughout the patient’s lifetime. The AAO supports legislation stipulating that insurers recognize the sequential nature of reconstructive, orthodontic, and restorative therapy for CFA, which requires ongoing coverage for all aspects of the treatment plan.

Additions to Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct Address Harassment, Inapproriate Interpersonal Relationships 
The HOD directed that the Principles of Ethics, Code of Professional Conduct and Advisory Opinions of the American Association of Orthodontists be amended to include:

“Members shall provide a workplace environment devoid of harassment or inappropriate behavior and a workplace that upholds respectful and cooperative relationships for all employees and patients”; and

“Members shall refrain from inappropriate interpersonal relationships or behavior within the orthodontic workplace and shall promote mutual respect, professional communication and cooperative efforts of all team members to enhance excellence in orthodontic care and assure safe and professional relationships with and between employees and patients.” 

Leadership Development Conference to Be Held Every Year
The AAO Leadership Development Conference for constituent and component leaders (formerly the biennial President-Elects Conference) will take place very year. The Leadership Development Conference will now also be open by application to emerging leaders who have not previously held leadership positions, with content of the meeting to be augmented to address this group’s needs. Of participants in the 2018 Leadership Development Conference, 97 percent said that they learned about new practical tools or information that will make a difference in their roles as volunteer leaders and 100 percent would recommend the Conference to colleagues.
Component CAP Matching Grant Program to Accept Applications through May 31, 2018 
Components may apply for funding from the Component CAP Matching Grant program through May 31, 2018, with all approved funds to be spent by May 31, 2019. Funds not awarded will be transferred to the Consumer Awareness Program budget for 2018-19. Since the national matching grant fund started in 2015 the media landscape has changed significantly and the national CAP digital program is now reaching all states more effectively than in the past.
View the Complete Chart of 2018 HOD Adopted and Referred Resolutions

* Life Active members pay 50 percent of the CAP assessment for active members in their country. Full-time faculty members are exempt from paying the assessment. Recent graduates within the 1st year after graduation receive a 90 percent assessment discount; within the 2nd year a 75 percent discount; within the 3rd year a 50 percent discount; and within the 4th year a 25 percent discount.

May. 24, 2018

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