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  WDA Healthy Choices E-Lert  
May 2011 | Legislative E-Newsletter

Issue Update:
Non-fiscal 'Healthy Choices' legislation progressing

The WDA and its 3,000 members are committed to working with policy leaders to help reduce barriers to dental care in Wisconsin, even amid the financial constraints our state currently faces.

With that in mind, the WDA is proposing two pieces of "Healthy Choices" legislation – currently in the drafting stage – that will bring dental care to more Wisconsinites with little or no expense to taxpayers.

Sen. Mike Ellis

One plan advocates for two small changes to the Wisconsin Dental Practice Act.

First, it updates the state's definition of dentistry to the American Dental Association definition, which clarifies that dentists can offer dental treatments and services based on the most recent scientific and technological advances.

It also would allow dentists to assign more duties – such as finishing fillings and removing sutures – to trained, educated and certified Expanded Function Dental Auxiliaries (which can be either dental hygienists or dental assistants) with the close supervision of an on-site dentist.

Requiring the supervision of a dentist helps maintain safety and provides patients with a vital link to routine and comprehensive dental care. Expanding delegated duties would help Wisconsin dentists and their staff care for more patients in a cost-effective and more efficient manner.

In addition, WDA also supports legislation that would prohibit dental benefit plans from setting fees for services not covered by the plan. To date, 21 states have passed similar legislation that allows dentists and patients to make treatment decisions without third-party interference.

A healthy state is attractive to new businesses, jobs and economic growth. Dentists want to help, and we urge legislators to join in our efforts to break down barriers to dental care for Wisconsin residents. Working together to support the WDA's "Healthy Choices" plan – and without spending more tax money – we can help improve the health of residents and our state.

If you'd like to discuss WDA's "Healthy Choices" legislation further, please contact Government Affairs Director Mara Brooks at 608-250-3442 or mbrooks@wda.org.


WDA Foundation grants help Wisconsinites get dental care

Thousands of Wisconsin residents will receive much-needed dental care in 2011 through $38,100 in grants recently awarded by the WDA Foundation.

The 19 grant recipients for 2011 include the Brown County Oral Health Partnership in Green Bay, which will use its $2,000 grant to serve adults with developmental disabilities and provide school-based care to low-income children. Healthy Smiles for Wood County will use its $1,000 grant to purchase dental supplies and educational materials and Community Dental Clinic of Jefferson County will use its $3,000 grant to help treat its low-income patients, 60 percent of whom are children.

A complete list of grant recipients is available on the WDA website.

"While donated care alone is hardly the solution to dental access problems in Wisconsin, it does play an important role in getting state residents the treatment they need," said WDA Foundation President Dr. Anthony Sciascia, a general dentist from Mondovi. "The foundation is glad to provide these grants to help terrific, community-minded organizations with their important work."

  See a sampling of photos of 2011 WDA Foundation grant recipients


WDA Legislative Day 2011:
Focus on helping people in need of oral health care

Bipartisanship and working together to improve the delivery of dental care in Wisconsin was the predominant tone at WDA Legislative Day 2011, which featured state leaders of both parties, including Gov. Scott Walker, Senate President Mike Ellis (R-Neenah) and Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca (D-Kenosha).

"We are here today to focus on 'Healthy Choices', demonstrate the unity and strength of the dental profession and build relationships that can help enhance oral health care delivery in the Badger State," Dr. Steve Stoll of Neenah, WDA president-elect and host of this year's event, told the crowd of more than 275 dentists, dental team members and Marquette University School of Dentistry students.

Sen. Mike Ellis
Dr. Steve Stoll introduced one of his lawmakers, State Senate President Mike
Ellis (R-Neenah).

Gov. Walker renewed his commitment to working with the dental community. "The WDA has 85 percent of this state's dental health industry as its members – we should be listening and working with you!"

Rep. Barca noted his support for dental-related bills currently being drafted by the WDA. "The WDA's bill to expand the scope of services that can be provided by trained dental staff under the supervision and direction of a licensed, practicing dentist is well thought out," he said.

Sen. Ellis reviewed the fiscal challenges facing both Republicans and Democrats because of the state's current budget crisis. "We must and we will balance this budget," he said.

After a morning of speakers, including WDA leadership and national political TV news consultant and University of Wisconsin – Madison professor of political science Ken Goldstein, attendees visited the state Capitol to meet and talk with legislators and staff about WDA's "Healthy Choices" agenda for reducing barriers to dental care in Wisconsin.

  See more WDA Legislative Day 2011 photos on Flickr


Dental Academy participants honored with molar awards

Member dentists used some of their time in Madison on Legislative Day to present participants in the WDA's first Legislative Dental Academy with acrylic molar awards.

The "Dental 101" seminar in January drew more than 60 attendees who learned about several key aspects of dentistry in Wisconsin, including the barriers to care many low-income families face and WDA's "Healthy Choices" approach to ensuring all Wisconsinites have access to oral health care.

  Click here to see our online photo gallery and other info you might have missed at the WDA Dental Academy




Join us for Mission of Mercy, June 24 and 25 in Wausau

Rep. Jon Richards
WDA lobbyist Forbes McIntosh, State Rep. Jon Richards (D-Milwaukee), WDA Government Services Director Mara Brooks and Racine general dentist Dr. Ned Murphy visit at last year’s MOM in Sheboygan.

I invite you to witness and participate in a truly incredible event. The WDA and its foundation's third annual Mission of Mercy will be held Friday, June 24 and Saturday, June 25 at Greenheck Field House in Wausau.

Over just two days, 2,000 low-income children and adults will receive an estimated $1 million in free dental care from more than 950 volunteers, including dentists, dental hygienists, assistants and Marquette University School of Dentistry students.

MOM is a real-life illustration of the need to make "Healthy Choices" to remove barriers to oral health care in Wisconsin.

We hope you'll take a tour or even volunteer at the Wausau event. I guarantee you'll learn a lot talking with patients and volunteers. Please let me know if you'd like to be part of this year's Mission of Mercy.

Mara Brooks, WDA Government Services Director
608-250-3442 or mbrooks@wda.org

WDA Leaders

Gene Shoemaker, DDS

Steve Stoll, DDS

Vice President
Tim Durtsche, DDS
La Crosse

Immediate Past-President
Kent Vandehaar, DDS
Chippewa Falls

Legislative Committee Chair
Eric teDuits, DDS

Wisconsin Dental Political Action Committee Chair
Dave Clemens, DDS
Wisconsin Dells

Executive Director
Mark Paget

Director of Government Services
Mara Brooks

Contract Lobbyist
Peter Christianson
DeWitt Ross & Stevens, S.C.

Contract Lobbyist
Forbes McIntosh
Government Policy Solutions

About the WDA

The WDA, established in 1870, is the dental profession’s leading voice in Wisconsin. It has 3,000 member dentists, representing 88 percent of all licensed, practicing dentists in the state. 

The WDA pursues a variety of activities and programs relating to advocacy, education, empowerment and service. All programs support the WDA’s mission to promote professional excellence and quality oral health care in Wisconsin.


Executive Office: 6737 W. Washington St., Suite 2360, West Allis, WI 53214 | 414-276-4520
Legislative Office: 10 East Doty, Suite 509, Madison, WI 53703 | 608-250-3442
Copyright © 2011 All Rights Reserved.

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