In "Read the Fine Print," (September 1996), Dr. Del Webb rightly urges dentists to be aware of key aspects of their practice, but some of his examples require correction.
He writes, for instance, that many dentists do not know when they have joined an HMO or a PPO. Maybe that could happen, but we believe dentistry is a profession that attracts intelligent people. Delta Dental trusts that its 110,000 dentists, throughout the nation, understand the participating agreements they sign. They not only understand the type of program they are getting involved with, but they also appreciate the advantages that accompany affiliation with the nation`s largest and most experienced dental carrier.
Regarding Dr. Webb`s comments on a Delta Dental Quality Review policy, it`s essential to recognize that most of Delta Dental Plans` Quality Review policies meet or surpass the guidelines established by state dental societies. These guidelines, in turn, inspire the confidence of Delta Dental clients and patients in their dentists. Rather than a situation where "Delta has usurped Peer Review activities," Delta Dental works with the dental profession in the public interest.
Dr. Webb mistakenly describes the "Favored Nation" clause as a widespread practice among Delta Dental plans. The vast majority of Delta Dental plans which have such clauses exempt those dentists who participate in bona fide alternative programs, such as PPOs and DHMOs.
For more than 40 years, Delta Dental has worked with dentists to offer quality dental care at an affordable cost. The results, in terms of greatly improved oral health for millions of Americans, is one of the true success stories in the health-care industry. The relationship between Delta Dental and the individual practicing dentist has been, and always will remain, the cornerstone of a Delta Dental plan, whether an HMO, PPO or managed fee-for-service program.
Carl A. Zimmerman, President
Delta Dental Plans Association
Oak Brook, IL