We have your back

One of the pleasures of the Ohio Dental Association presidency is visiting local societies and letting members know what they get for their dues dollar. This year, I asked local societies to encourage members to invite a non-member to the society’s meeting when ODA Executive Director Dave Owsiany and I talk about what the ODA does to preserve the integrity of oral health in Ohio and ensure that the dental profession is able to care for its patients.

This issue of the “ODA Today” goes to all dentists in Ohio, not just those of us who value membership. I thought I would take this opportunity to tell non-members what the association does for them and how the dues dollars of ODA members allow them to reach and hold onto their dream. So, for you the faithful, you can stop reading (and don’t be too surprised if a non-member colleague thanks you for what you do for them)!

For all non-members, I know you’ll want to thank your brother and sister colleagues and the ODA for the comfort of knowing that your back is covered, your treasure safe, and your way of life more secure because of organized dentistry.  As you sip that latte macchiato double supremo with sprinkles and whipped cream, ponder these facts:

  • Twenty-four seven, the ODA monitors the actions and proposals of dozens of state agencies that periodically endeavor to influence the practice of dentistry. Too often, these intended improvements are poorly conceived and offer no real benefit to patients and even more rarely, to dentistry.
  • You can thank the ODA for its legal efforts to reduce the length of record retention from forever to just a few years. You can forget about paying for that personal storage unit on the edge of town and add another shot to that latte you treat yourself to each morning (and still have saved enough to have a little extra to take your staff to lunch)!
  • Forget about having to pay someone to review the Ohio Automated Rx Reporting System (OARRS) database every morning for everyone on your patient schedule.
  • Remove “terminal drug distributor” from your resume and, oh yes, put an extra couple “hundo” into your retirement account because that is what you have saved annually.
  • Keep enjoying that warm fuzzy you get from your Invisalign patients because of the hundreds you didn’t have to charge them for that smile because ODA prevailed in its defense of an exemption from sales tax.
  • Forget about having to pay more for disposal of your waste while watching it go to the same waste disposal site as labeled medical waste.
  • Hold onto that special feeling of being able to see those Medicaid adults and special needs patients who depend on you for their dental home.
  • And all told, use wisely the several thousands of dollars you saved over the last few years on various and sundry fees, taxes, surcharges and mandates that the ODA  has stepped up to question and challenge on your behalf. This amount dwarfs the $275 in annual ODA dues you would have paid for that vigilance.

Some of us are joiners, some are not. Some of our newest colleagues, heavily in debt, struggle to make it. There are a few legitimate reasons to avoid the responsibility of organized dentistry membership, but none erase the fact that non-members enjoy the benefits of the work and dedication of colleagues who make the choice to belong and protect the oral health of Ohioans and the profession in our state. You might just offer them your thanks. Better yet, assume some of the mantel of ownership of the greater good by becoming a member.

So every day you turn that key to open your office, are thanked by a patient for what you can do for them at a reasonable fee, and think about the opportunity you have to practice your craft and live your dream, realize that a piece of those rewards are from your member colleagues and the Ohio Dental Association.

We have your back, but can always use some more help.

Dr. Casamassimo may be reached at casamassimo.1@osu.edu.