|View email in your browserA message from Dr. Kim Hansen, ODA President:|
A team is stronger than one
Hundreds of volunteer dentists are right beside you
May 6, 2020
Dear Colleagues:Last week, I committed to keep letting you know how the ODA is working on your behalf, even when we don’t have concrete news to share.
Well, as you read in Monday’s email from Dr. David Stevenson, our Return-to-Practice Working Group Chair, there’s been a ton of activity lately that should culminate in more guidance for Ontario’s dentists in the time ahead. Dr. Stevenson explained how a team of volunteer dentists – your colleagues – are tackling the massive complexities of returning to our practices. Their goal is to help keep us, our staff and our patients safe and ensure access to care for patients.
Today, I’d like to highlight the broader group of volunteer dentists who have been tackling many other aspects of how COVID-19 has impacted our profession.
The ODA is driven by members from all parts of the province. There are 39 local component societies which are led by volunteer dentists on their executives and ODA General Council. Each society provides a network of local support, continuing education and outreach for you, our members. General Council elects the Board of Directors, which oversees and directs all the work of the ODA. The Board is currently made up of 14 volunteer dentists from across Ontario. My practice is in Prescott, near Brockville and our incoming President, Dr. Lesli Hapak, is in the great community of Windsor-Essex County.
The Board has met one or two times each week since this crisis began. We’re discussing the great work our volunteers and staff have been doing to manage the situation. We’re sharing the concerns and questions we are hearing from members to ensure we address them. And, we’re deciding our next moves even though there’s no clear playbook to rely on. Our Board makes big picture decisions about the future of the association and how we can best support members, but we are by no means alone.
The heavy lifting is not only happening at the Return-to-Practice Working Group, but also among our advisory committees. These committees do not include Board members, rather, each is made up of between four to nine member-dentists just like you. Here are just some of the ways our committees are working on your behalf:·
Economics Advisory Committee, chaired by Dr. Larry Watral (Thunder Bay), has started reviewing the major financial implications of the pandemic to practices and patients. It is adjusting the approach to the annual economic survey to identify the effects on practice costs and patient demand and how these will inform the ODA Suggested Fee Guide.·
Education Advisory Committee, chaired by Dr. Shawn Steele (Oxford), has been putting together exciting new free online CE offerings that will touch on COVID-19 as well as other clinical and practice management topics. Stay tuned for an announcement very soon.·
Health Policy and Government Relations Advisory Committee, chaired by Dr. Janet Leith (Ottawa), has been reviewing clinical standards, regulatory and legislative policy guidance and members’ clinical concerns to inform our conversations with the RCDSO and Ministry of Health.·
Membership Services and Programs Advisory Committee, chaired by Dr. Jon Mahn (Brant), quickly introduced a revised Oral Health Month social media campaign educating the public on accessing emergency dental care, suspension of routine care, home oral hygiene, and how dentists are helping the healthcare system respond to COVID-19. The committee has worked to ensure the buying power of ODA Supply Hub is available to members who are struggling to access supplies.·
Hospital Services Committee, chaired by Dr. Joe Armstrong (London), worked to achieve a major win with its strong advocacy to the Ministry of Health that hospital-based dentists be treated like their medical colleagues in hospitals and receive similar income stabilization support during the crisis. The committee has now turned to the utilization of virtual care to prevent unnecessary visits to hospitals, and better planning for redeployment of dentists into hospitals.·
Indigenous Oral Health Committee, chaired by Dr. Rick Caldwell (Temiskaming), has been working to try to ensure safe and continued access to care for Indigenous people in the Sioux Lookout Zone and Weeneebayko Area Health Authority.·
Insurance Committee, chaired by Dr. Dennis Medland (Halton-Peel), has frozen 2020/21 ODA Extended Health Care Insurance plan premiums for members, your families and your staff, and is providing a 1-month premium holiday on the first EHC invoice of the plan year.·
Political Action Committee, chaired by Dr. Don Friedlander (Ottawa), has been balancing the many member perspectives about what we need from the government during this ever-changing situation, refining our messages and determining how we can get our province-wide Political Contact Dentist network involved in the near future. Our local volunteers will have an important role in telling government what we need to ensure safe, sustainable access to care.Each of these committees is working with our expert staff to source information, develop resources and ask the questions that you need answers to during this unpredictable time. And, this is just a sampling – there are numerous other committees at the ODA working for you throughout the year.
All told, between the component societies, General Council, the Board and the committees, there are hundreds of volunteer dentists. The collective brain power, effort and passion is incredible! When you put it all together, I feel assured that we’ll get better outcomes than we could each get alone.
And that’s the whole point. You are not alone in this battle. The ODA is our association – for all of us, the dentists of Ontario.
As always, keep reaching out with your questions at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 416-922-3900 (toll-free at 800-387-1393). We won’t have all the answers, but we’ll keep fighting to get them for you.
Dr. Kim Hansen
Chair, Board of Directors and PresidentOntario Dental Association
4 New Street, Toronto, Ontario M5R 1P6
416-922-3900 | 1-800-387-1393