The WDA Foundation’s Dentists Concerned for Dentists program was established in 1986 to help those who struggle with problems associated with alcohol or chemical dependency, depression, infectious diseases and other well-being issues.
The American Medical Association has classified addiction as a disease for more than 30 years and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism estimates at least 10 percent of Americans are addicted to alcohol or other mood altering drugs.
Chemical dependency and addiction endanger health, upset social, family and business relationships and affect job performance.
The WDA Foundation and WDA are committed to helping members of the dental profession whose personal and professional lives are jeopardized by addictions, depression, infectious diseases and other well-being issues.
The DCD program serves this need by providing compassionate assistance, education and referral to approved programs of addiction therapy. The DCD Committee adheres to the philosophy that it is most beneficial for the affected dental professionals to be helped by their peers – people in the same profession who know and deal with the stresses involved in a dental practice.
All cases are strictly confidential. This confidentiality extends to the dental professional and those people providing information about the case.
The DCD program is not a punitive entity. However, the WDA reserves the right, as concerned citizens and professionals, to forward to the state Department of Safety and Professional Services the names of alleged impaired licensed dental professionals who refuse or do not reasonably pursue appropriate assistance and whose actions in the judgment of the DCD Committee may violate the Wisconsin Dental Practice Act.
Through compassionate peer-to-peer assistance, the DCD Committee helps those with well-being issues get the care they need without putting the public at risk or involving regulatory or government agencies. It is not the program’s goal to provide treatment, but rather to guide the individual in seeking treatment from trained professionals.
Many members of the DCD Committee have faced similar problems or helped others with these issues, so they have first-hand experience with such struggles.
The DCD Committee lends support through all the stages of a case, beginning with intervention planning, which may include family, friends and the dental team to completion, if needed. Support remains readily available during treatment and continues through outpatient treatment and beyond. The DCD Committee is available to listen, encourage and even help cover patients to keep the practice running.
The cost of treatment for well-being issues is substantial, which is why the work of the DCD Committee is supported by the WDA Foundation’s Benevolent Assistance Fund. An initial evaluation is currently more than $3,500 and includes a three or four-day inpatient stay. When a person has a problem with chemical dependency or alcohol abuse there often are related financial issues, causing the individual to put off getting the treatment he/she so desperately needs.
While financial assistance is available through the American Dental Association and WDA Emergency Relief Fund, the loan application process takes several months – months that could be used for recovery.
Support from the Benevolent Assistance Fund can reduce or eliminate delay in treatment. The fund is used only when necessary and does not pay for any other DCD activity. Disbursed funds are sent to the treatment facility. No funding is given directly to the recipient.
While assistance from the fund is not a formal loan, repayment is encouraged after the individual has completed treatment and reestablished his/her practice. Repayment helps ensure that the fund is readily available for others who also may need help.
By supporting the Benevolent Assistance Fund you are helping your peers and colleagues get the treatment they need and to sustaining the public’s faith in the dental profession. Contributions for this fund may be made to the WDA Foundation, Inc. with a designation for the Benevolent Assistance Fund.
For more information about the WDA Foundation’s Dentists Concerned for Dentists program, call 414-755-4198 or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
All cases are strictly confidential.