Let your voice be heard

Next month, the ODA House of Delegates will hold at its annual two-day meeting in conjunction with the ODA Annual Session in Columbus.  The meetings will be held at the Hyatt Regency Hotel near the Columbus Convention Center on Sept. 11–12. 

The House of Delegates, as the legislative and governing body, is the supreme authority of the ODA.  Its responsibilities include directing the operations of the ODA, including approving its annual budget, setting membership dues levels, and overseeing its governance and strategic plan. 

The House of Delegates may also pass resolutions that create ODA’s policies related to its advocacy agenda.  For example, two bills currently pending in the Ohio General Assembly were developed through the ODA’s governance structure. 

House Bill 159 would prohibit dental insurance companies from setting the prices dentists can charge their patients for services that the dental insurers do not cover.  This non-covered services bill is currently pending in the Ohio House Insurance Committee. 

House Bill 463 would, among other things, double the capacity of the Ohio Dentist Loan Repayment Program, create a study commission to address Medicaid dental fees in Ohio, allow dental licensure through completion of an accredited dental residency program, allow dentists greater flexibility in the use and supervision of auxiliaries, and make no-interest loans available for the purchase of dental equipment in designated under-served areas.  House Bill 463 unanimously passed the Ohio House of Representative in June by a 95-0 vote and is currently pending in the Ohio Senate.   

Most of the provisions of both of these bills were developed by the ODA’s councils, committees and task forces and ultimately approved by the House of Delegates.

The ODA’s House of Delegates is made up of representatives from all 25 component dental societies in Ohio.  Under the governance section of www.oda.org you can find the House of Delegates’ meeting materials, including the delegate roster with contact information and any resolutions that have been submitted so far.  If you have ideas regarding the ODA or policy issues you think the ODA should be pursuing, feel free to contact a delegate from your area and discuss your issues with him or her.  The House of Delegates is the ODA’s democratic process for member input, so don’t be shy about engaging the delegates in your area.

Even better, feel free to witness the House of Delegates meetings in person.  Any ODA member dentist who is registered for the ODA Annual Session and has a name badge is welcome to sit in the visitors’ section. On Thursday, Sept. 11, the resolutions will be heard in an open session via reference committees.  The reference committees are divided by subject matter and include: (1) communication, membership, and public service, (2) dental education, dental services, and government affairs, (3) administrative affairs and long-range planning, and (4) finance.  All ODA members are permitted to attend reference committee hearings and participate in the discussion, whether or not they are members of the House of Delegates.  

So, feel free to stop in at the House of Delegates meetings and see the deliberations first-hand.