American Dental Association
ADA Update May 1, 2003 
In this letter: SARS
Amalgam Suit Dismissed
Amalgam Ban
Amalgam Waste
Practice Management Consultants
HIPAA
Give Kids a Smile
Hertz
Soft Drinks
Dear Colleague:

Many members have contacted the ADA with questions on how to deal with severe acute respiratory syndrome. The ADA Council on Scientific Affairs, working with the CDC and the Organization for Safety and Asepsis Procedures, has developed a Q-&-A that addresses dentists' questions about SARS. Information about SARS is constantly emerging, so the CDC website also is a good source. CDC recommends that dentists ask patients targeted screening questions about fever, respiratory symptoms and recent travel. In the unlikely event you encounter a possible SARS patient in the dental office, the ADA SARS document recommends that you refer them to a health care facility or physician for diagnosis and care.

Yet another amalgam case against the ADA has been dismissed. A Maryland Circuit Court threw out the class-action suit against the ADA and the Maryland State Dental Assn. The plaintiffs alleged they weren't informed by their dentists that their fillings contained mercury or posed a health risk. The judge dismissed the complaints "with prejudice." The lawsuit alleged the defendants engaged in unfair and deceptive trade practices in violation of the Maryland Consumer Protection Act, not disclosing that amalgam fillings are dangerous. New York and Georgia courts dismissed similar suits earlier this year.

Rep. Diane Watson (D-CA) has reintroduced her Mercury in Dental Filling Disclosure and Prohibition Act (HR1680) in the U.S. Congress. The measure would essentially ban the use of amalgam by 2008. Rep. Dan Burton (R-IN) is a cosponsor. We're sending a letter to all members of Congress opposing the legislation. The three dentist members of Congress, Reps. Charlie Norwood (R-GA), John Linder (R-GA) and Mike Simpson (R-ID), have asked their fellow lawmakers in a "Dear Colleague" letter not to support the bill, which they point out relies on faulty science and would endanger dental patients.

In case you missed it, the April 21 ADA News featured a close-up look at the amalgam waste issue, including the ADA's new Best Management Practices for Amalgam Waste. The coverage includes current ADA activities on amalgam waste. Coming to JADA later this year is an article that will examine practical aspects of selecting and installing amalgam separators. We'll also hold an annual session workshop in San Francisco. Other topics include a look at state activity on this issue and tips on how to find a recycler. These activities are part of the ADA Action Plan on Amalgam in Dental Office Wastewater that the House approved last fall.

A list of dental practice management consultants now is on ADA.org along with contact information, a description of services and basic information about each consultant's experience and training. Members can download the directory free. This list should help answer tough business questions such as staff training options, marketing strategies, personnel matters, billing, scheduling and how to respond to regulatory requirements.

As a new member service, the ADA Legal Division will review HIPAA Business Associate Agreements between members and software vendors, including practice management software vendors. Legal also will review BA agreements with malpractice insurance carriers. The reviews will be provided through the same process used by the Contract Analysis Service, which is free if members submit an agreement to their state association and the state forwards it to us.

Some of you may already have seen the supplement to the April 7 ADA News, which lists the names of Give Kids A Smile volunteers and supporting corporations. Our primary source for listing participants was the ADA.org registration form, and it's certain many volunteers never registered there. We expect to hear from some of these as yet unsung volunteers whose names didn't make the list and ask that they register on ADA.org. It's the best shot we have at tracking the full impact of this extraordinary program, and being able to tell that story is important to its overall success.

Please note a correction in your 2003 membership materials. Although the Hertz information on the back of the 2003 membership cards is correct, the Hertz 800 number on the rolodex-style, paper, "carrier" portion is incorrect. The correct toll-free number for Hertz is 800-654-2200. We regret the inconvenience.

Last year's House passed a resolution that we identify resources to help state and local societies educate their communities about possible health effects from frequent exposure to and over-consumption of soft drinks. The Council on Access, Prevention and Interprofessional Relations has identified two Web sites that offer coalition building and education materials. The ADA doesn't endorse these sites, but they do address the House's directive. See "Taking the Fizz Out of Soda Contracts: A Guide to Community Action" and "School Soda Report Sheds Light on Soft Drink Companies' Marketing Practices to Cash-Strapped Schools" (go Newsroom, then "School Soda Report..."). In addition, ADA.org offers resources on the issue: a joint report from CAPIR and the Council on Scientific Affairs and "Oral Health, Nutrition, and Exclusive Soft Drink Contracts in Schools". Also, the "Sipping and Snacking and Oral Health: Facts for Parents and Educators" brochure (Item W273) is sold through the ADA Catalog (catalog@ada.org).

Sincerely,
T. Howard Jones, DMD & Dr. James B. Bramson signatures

T. Howard Jones, DMD, president James B. Bramson, DDS, executive director
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