I was pleased to see managed care discussed in the Guest Commentary section. The article by Lois Chandler-Cousins [July 1995] made some very fine points about the importance of managed care to the future of the dental hygiene profession.
ADHA agrees with Ms. Chandler-Cousins that managed care is here to stay and believes it is imperative that dental hygienists be positioned to make the most of the opportunities inherent in a managed care system. Prevention, cost containment, access to care, quality assurance, and outcomes assessment are critical components of managed care system - making dental hygienists uniquely qualified to work within such a system. These concepts have been hallmarks of dental hygiene care from the very beginning of the profession.
Ms. Chandler-Cousins and your other readers may not be aware that ADHA has made assisting dental hygienists make the transition to managed care its highest priority. Interested readers can learn about ADHA`s plans by reviewing the association`s 1995-1998 strategic plan in the September/October issue of Access, ADHA`s professional magazine. The issue is being sent free of charge to most practicing hygienists in the United States. The strategic plan begins on page 51. Readers may also want to take a look at Access Extra, beginning on page 29. The story reports data from ADHA`s own consumer survey, indicating that 80 percent of Americans still believe that health reform is needed on national and state levels.
Ms. Chandler-Cousins also stresses the need for dental hygienists to advocate oral heath care as part of the basic preventive and primary care benefits package, and to lobby at the state and federal levels to overcome barriers to preventive oral health care. In fact, these activities have been priorities of ADHA for several years now. ADHA lobbied intensely during the health care reform debate, as well as since then. As just one example of the association`s activities in this important area, our representatives visited over 100 legislators and scores of federal agencies. Our message: Oral health is critical to and indivisible from total health. It is essential that it be treated no differently from other forms of health care. A basic benefits package of preventive and primary care, including oral health, is essential for all Americans.
ADHA continues to be guided by a commitment to improving the nation`s total health while enhancing the position and image of dental hygienists. ADHA will continue to represent the interests of dental hygienists - both members and non-members. However, ADHA`s message is strengthened by a strong membership base. We encourage all dental hygienists to join the commitment to the profession by becoming members of ADHA, the largest organization representing the interests of dental hygienists across the country. Interested dental hygienists are invited to call (800) 243-ADHA for more information.
Gail B. Bemis, RDH