I read with great interest the October issue of Dental Economics. All in this one issue were: the results of the 1995 DE Practice Survey, showing that the respondents were overwhelmingly solo-practicing general dentists, most of whom practice strictly fee-for-service dentistry; the thoughtful and interesting Viewpoint article by John Kennedy, decrying the enormous weight of bureaucratic over-regulation, the complex, unreasonable and often conflicting legislation and case law that we all try to work within daily and the passive, if not active, assistance given to the Attorney General by the ADA in bringing the full weight of the federal government to bear on a few, poor dentists whose crime it was to not know or exactly follow some nuance for the 1990 Americans With Disabilities Act; and the "Shame on Them" editorial by Hugh Doherty, shaming the AGD for amending its bylaws to rescind its requirement that members also belong to the ADA.
I have been a lifelong member of both the ADA and the AGD and have been opposed to the AGD`s bylaw change, preferring instead to work within the organization to bring about change. But, instead of change, we`ve gotten more and worse of the same as referred to by Dr. Kennedy. Now that the AGD has taken this action, I hope no AGD member drops his/her ADA membership. I am equally hopeful that this action will have the effect of waking up the giant, lumbering ADA to the recognition of who its constituency really is. The AGD always has been responsive to the interests of its members, while the ADA is not. This action by the AGD may be the best thing that ever happened to the ADA.
While I am appalled that the ADA would provide expert witnesses against an individual dentist, I am personally offended by Dr. Doherty`s "Shame" editorial. Who is this guy to be admonishing the elected delegates to the AGD? Is he an AGD member? Is he even a dentist? If he is a dentist, why doesn`t he use the DDS or DMD instead of CFP? The CFPs I know try to sell me insurance I don`t need ... if these are Hugh Doherty`s only credentials, then why is he editing the Clinical Excellence section of your otherwise excellent publication? Could it be to add some credibility in order to sell his seminars and consulting offered in a full-page ad elsewhere in your magazine?
The ADA has too long been controlled by bureaucrats, academics and specialists who are out of touch with the wet-fingered guys in the trenches. If this vote by the AGD shakes up the establishment even a little, I`m all for it. If Hugh Doherty is a dentist, then let him say so; otherwise please ask him to stick to financial-planning.
Barry D. Brace, DMD
Editor`s Note: Dr. Hugh Doherty is a dentist and has been a career-long member of the ADA. He was chosen to edit the Clinical Excellence section because of his expansive role in attending dental meetings and educational programs-clinical as well as business and financial-which gives first-hand knowledge of topics and presenters who are addressing the current clinical concerns of practicing dentists.