Civil penalties increased for violating Americans with Disabilities Act

Washington—The Department of Justice issued a final rule increasing civil penalties for violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which covers “professional offices of health care providers” including dental offices. This rule is effective April 27, according to the March 28 Federal Register notice. However, the DOJ announcement said, “The new maximums apply only to violations occurring on or after April 28, 2014.”

The final rule “adjusts for inflation” civil monetary penalties assessed or enforced by the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “For the Americans with Disabilities Act, this adjustment increases the maximum civil penalty for a first violation under Title III from $55,000 to $75,000; for a subsequent violation the new maximum is $150,000,” the DOJ said.

Title III of the AwDA covers 12 types of public accommodations, a category that includes as covered service establishments “professional offices of health care providers” and “hospitals.” A professional office of a health care provider is a location where a state-regulated professional provides physical or mental health services to the public, according to the DOJ Title III technical assistance manual.

Title III imposes a number of requirements on public accommodations, such as taking certain steps to make their facilities accessible, making reasonable modifications in policies, practices and procedures that would deny equal access to individuals with disabilities, and furnishing auxiliary aids when necessary to ensure effective communication.

ADA Foundation Dr. Anthony Volpe Research Center dedicated


Gaithersburg, Md
.—Dr. Anthony “Tony” Volpe struck just the right note May 21 at the dedication of the ADA Foundation Dr. Anthony Volpe Research Center on the campus of the National Institute of Standards and Technology.


Namesake: Dr. Anthony Volpe shares a laugh with Dr. Terry Buckenheimer, member of the ADA Board of Trustees. 

“When something like this happens you wonder how you got here,” he told a celebratory audience of the ADA Foundation Board of Directors, American Dental Association Board of Trustees, Colgate-Palmolive Company representatives and staff and VRC researchers, describing five decades of clinical dental research, preventive dentistry and scientific affairs initiated, he said, with a profession-determining coin toss. And the rest is history.

 
Commemoration: A photo of Dr. Volpe is unveiled. From left, Ian Cook, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Colgate-Palmolive; Dr. Anthony Volpe; Dr. David Whiston, president of the ADA Foundation Board of Directors; and Dr. Charles Norman, ADA president. 

In addition to pioneering work on the measurement of tartar, he had a leadership role in the development of other measurement procedures and led breakthrough clinical research on plaque and gum disease control. A teacher and mentor to generations of researchers, he has left his mark on oral health research worldwide.


Research in action: Those who attended the dedication tour the ADA Foundation Dr. Anthony Volpe Research Center on the campus of the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

Dr. Volpe recently retired as vice president of Clinical Research and Scientific Affairs from the Colgate-Palmolive Company at its Technology Center in Piscataway, New Jersey. His portrait, unveiled at the VRC dedication, will smile at visitors at the entry, among the signs and wall plaques already in place through the halls and laboratories of the dental materials research facility.

“Today, we proudly honor Dr. Anthony Volpe’s steadfast commitment to scientific excellence and his valuable contributions to all areas of dentistry including industry, practice and academia,” said Ian Cook, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Colgate-Palmolive. “The new Dr. Anthony Volpe Research Center will serve as a strong testament to his lasting legacy among dental professionals at Colgate and the global dental community. On behalf of Colgate, we are delighted that the new laboratory facility bearing his name will continue to support our ongoing mission to help improve oral health around the world by fostering the next generation of dental researchers.”

“This research center has a long and distinguished history of innovations that have changed dentistry worldwide,” said Dr. David Whiston, president of the ADA Foundation Board of Directors. “Now, with our focus on new technologies and therapies, and in identifying and supporting the next generation of researchers in oral health, this new collaboration provides great momentum. We are pleased that Colgate shares our desire to honor our past successes and those of Dr. Volpe in this way and to foster new talent from which the next Tony Volpe may arise.”

“The VRC is one example of how the ADA, ADAF and Colgate-Palmolive share a collaborative commitment to advancing the science of dentistry,” said ADA President Dr. Charles Norman. “The cutting edge work here ensures the dental profession has access to the best basic and clinical knowledge for the good of the patients we serve. For 80 years, VRC scientists have played a major role in developing many of the innovations used in dental clinics today throughout the world. It’s a legacy this facility will continue to build and expand on in the decades to come.”  

VRC researchers conducted tours of the dental labs for the professional leaders and presented reports on their research. Visit ADAFoundation.org for VRC research reports and information on the Dr. Anthony Volpe Research Center.  

The renaming of the ADAF Paffenbarger Research Center was announced Sept. 19, 2013, as a joint initiative of the ADA Foundation, American Dental Association and Colgate-Palmolive Company to enhance the ADAF dental research laboratory in Gaithersburg and to support and encourage promising young researchers.

The initiative will fund a distinguished researcher as the Dr. Anthony Volpe Research Fellow and provide permanent support for the ADAF’s Colgate Dental Student Conference on Research, an event that annually attracts about 50 of the most promising dental students from the U.S. and Canada to introduce dental students to scientists from the ADA Foundation’s Dr. Anthony Volpe Research Center, the ADA, industry, academia and National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research to raise their awareness of the wide-ranging careers available in oral health research.

Academy for Sports Dentistry represented at White House summit

photo of Dr. Rick Knowlton
Dr. Rick Knowlton 

Washington—At the president’s invitation, Dr. Rick Knowlton represented the Academy for Sports Dentistry May 29 at the White House Healthy Kids and Safe Sports Concussion Summit. His post-summit message: A properly fitted mouthguard is important for sports safety.

“The gathering was aimed at finding new ways to identify, treat and prevent serious head injuries, particularly in youth sports,” said Dr. Knowlton, academy president.

“The Academy for Sports Dentistry recommends the use of a properly fitted mouthguard,” he said. “It encourages the use of a custom fabricated mouthguard made over a dental cast and delivered under the supervision of a dentist. The ASD strongly supports and encourages a mandate for use of a properly fitted mouthguard in all collision and contact sports.

“It is important for us as dentists to take a more active role in encouraging these players in all age groups to wear the proper protective equipment to prevent orofacial injuries. We must all take a proactive role in attempting to prevent orofacial injuries on the playground and in organized sporting events.”

The ADA offers a patient education brochure, Sports Safety, which helps dentists get kids and parents on board with facial protection. Sports Safety emphasizes a properly fitted mouthguard as a key piece of athletic gear. This and other Association resources on mouthguards and sports are available at ADA.org.

The Academy for Sports Dentistry was established in 1983 as a forum for dentists, physicians, athletic trainers, coaches, dental technicians and educators interested in exchanging ideas related to sports dentistry and the dental needs of athletes at risk to sports injury. See also ADA News (http://www.ada.org/en/publications/ada-news/2013-archive/september/asd-usoc-partner-for-athlete-dental-care) report on ASD-USOC agreement.

Academy for Sports Dentistry represented at White House summit

 image of Dr. Knowlton
Dr. Knowlton

Dr. Rick Knowlton represented the Academy for Sports Dentistry May 29 at the White House Healthy Kids and Safe Sports Concussion Summit. His post-summit message: A properly fitted mouthguard is important for sports safety.

“The gathering was aimed at finding new ways to identify, treat and prevent serious head injuries, particularly in youth sports,” said Dr. Knowlton, academy president.

“The Academy for Sports Dentistry recommends the use of a properly fitted mouthguard,” he said. “It encourages the use of a custom fabricated mouthguard made over a dental cast and delivered under the supervision of a dentist. The ASD strongly supports and encourages a mandate for use of a properly fitted mouthguard in all collision and contact sports.

“It is important for us as dentists to take a more active role in encouraging these players in all age groups to wear the proper protective equipment to prevent orofacial injuries. We must all take a proactive role in attempting to prevent orofacial injuries on the playground and in organized sporting events.”

The ADA offers a patient education brochure, Sports Safety, which helps dentists get kids and parents on board with facial protection. Sports Safety emphasizes a properly fitted mouthguard as a key piece of athletic gear. This and other Association resources on mouthguards and sports are available at ADACatalog.org.

The Academy for Sports Dentistry was established in 1983 as a forum for dentists, physicians, athletic trainers, coaches, dental technicians and educators interested in exchanging ideas related to sports dentistry and the dental needs of athletes at risk to sports injury. See the online ADA News story on an ASD agreement with the U.S. Olympic Committee.

Medicaid RAC audits

image of Dr. Meeske on the senate panel
Dr. Meeske: Flanked by durable medical equipment and Medicare contractor representatives, Dr. Jessica Meeske (center) offers testimony on Nebraska dentists’ concerns with dental Medicaid RAC audits. Senate photo

Hastings, Neb.—Having brought Medicaid RAC audits of dental practices to Congress’ attention, “we will have to continue to be at the table to tell our story,” Dr. Jessica Meeske said after testifying July 9 at a U.S. Senate-convened roundtable discussion on government audits.

“Dentistry is so vastly different from medicine in terms of how we deliver care and our small practice sizes,” she said. “Because we are small, RAC audits will affect dental practices in ways that are also different. For example, the majority of dentists have very little understanding of what the different types of audits are and how RAC audits are only one of many kinds of audits.

“We do not have entire departments or even dedicated staff in our practices that devote time and energy to responding to audits. In addition, the federal government is much more focused on improper payments in Medicare. While today we were able to bring the issues of RAC audits within Medicaid to their attention, we will have to continue to be at the table to tell our story.”

Dr. Meeske, chair of the Nebraska Dental Association’s Medicaid Committee, testified for the ADA at the invitation of the Senate Special Committee on Aging. Although the roundtable discussion focused on Medicare audits, the committee acknowledged growing concerns about Medicaid RAC audits. Dr. Meeske expanded on her testimony at the invitation of the ADA News.

“Where before dental practices could in ‘good faith’ submit claims to their dental Medicaid programs, believing if their intent was good, their billing practices sound, their care reflecting current clinical standards of care, and following their Medicaid provider manuals, they would not be faced with mass audits, this is no longer the case,” she said.

“When auditors are incentivized to ‘look hard for ambiguity and unclear language in existing policy’ in state Medicaid provider manuals, they can run multiple algorithms and identify ‘potential billing inconsistencies’ and ask dentists for [repayment]. Many dentists will simply send back the money because it’s not worth the headache and stress of appealing the audit.”

Unfortunately, many communities will lose outstanding dentists who will simply quit seeing Medicaid patients, Dr. Meeske said. “No one thinks that dentists who abuse the system should not have appropriate consequences. However, for the hard working dentists who have a long history of being good Medicaid providers will Medicaid integrity units crack down so hard that the dentists will simply opt out?

“What auditors and state MIUs don’t seem to get is that each dentist is making a decision at a point in time that they believe is in the best interest of their patient as a whole not as one tooth or one surface of decay. In the cases of so many children we see, they have not just complicated dental disease, they often have complicated medical issues, behavior issues and family/social issues that a dentist must take into consideration when designing a prevention plan and treatment plan.”

Some families have more than one child, travel long distances and must miss work and school to receive dental care. “We don’t ask the parent to bring in each child separately just so we can put compliance with a six-month prophy rule ahead of a child’s best interests,” Dr. Meeske said. “To the contrary, we have to provide our care in a way that encourages these families to use it because we know if they do we will prevent even greater dental disease and Medicaid expenditures to our state.”

In Nebraska, nearly 300 dentists were asked for repayment on every patient seen on less than a six-month recall, she said.

“Dental Medicaid program staff, MIU staff and state dental associations will be better off working together on the front end to improve billing systems,” said Dr. Meeske. “I have no doubt that the majority of dentists would welcome suggestions and helpful feedback on how to improve their billing systems. They much better respond to feedback when it’s done in a way that is helpful and not punitive.”

Audit concerns noted by Senate committee

Washington–A U.S. Senate report on improving government audits of payments to health care providers cites ADA and dentist member concerns with Medicaid audits by Recovery Audit Contractors. The Affordable Care Act expanded the RAC program to Medicaid and initiated audit processes in some states in 2012.

“The American Dental Association (ADA) immediately began to hear concerns from its members and reached out to members of Congress to call for transparent, fair, consistent and statistically sound audit processes in each state,” the report said. “The ADA’s concerns primarily center around the lack of transparency in the audit process and notification procedures. Additional concerns include the statistical sampling and extrapolation methods used, the qualification of RAC auditors and the knowledge level of those auditors regarding specific state Medicaid billing regulations.”

The report from the Senate Special Committee on Aging focused on Medicare audits but acknowledged growing concerns with Medicaid RAC audits.

“Audited providers were also concerned that no efforts were made by either CMS (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services) or the RACs to educate providers or help them learn from overpayment errors in order to avoid future audits and collections,” the report said. “The ADA’s primary concern was that the burdensome and opaque nature of the audit process may cause providers to drop out of the Medicaid program, which already struggles to attract and maintain dental professionals willing to provide critical dental services to Medicaid patients.

“In addition, the CMS is currently determining how audits might occur following implementation of the value-based modifier,” the report continued. “This modifier, as required by the ACA, will tie payment to data related to the quality of services provided. The data the CMS currently receives on quality is self-reported. This suggests a continuing need to refine audit strategies to target areas most vulnerable to improper payments.”

The Association offered recommendations to improve the audit process in testimony presented by Dr. Jessica Meeske at a July 9 roundtable convened by the Senate Special Committee on Aging and in a written statement addressed to the bipartisan committee leaders, Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., chair, and Sen. Susan Collins, D-Me., ranking member. ADA’s recommendations:

•    Ensure a transparent process where every provider is notified in advance and not when an audit is already underway.

•    provide education and compliance training for providers specific to each state program’s regulations.

•    provide opportunity for practitioners to have charts and specific cases reviewed by a licensed dentist who has the clinical expertise to conduct a proper evaluation when requested by a dentist or practice that has undergone a RAC audit.

•    educate all providers – not just dentists – on the use of extrapolation in the audit process.

RAC audits focus on prophy codes

image of Dr. Jessica Meeske
RAC audits: Dr. Jessica Meeske testifies at Capitol Hill hearing that Medicaid RAC audit process lacks transparency and opportunity for feedback, offers recommendations to improve audit process. Senate photo

Washington—Some 300 Nebraska dentists received letters this spring from the state Medicaid Recovery Audit Contractor, HMS, requesting charts containing adult and pediatric billing codes for prophylaxis, Dr. Jessica Meeske told a U.S. Senate-convened panel July 9.

“Three hundred dentists in my state were hit with their first Medicaid RAC audits,” Dr. Meeske said in testimony presented for the Association and describing her experience with audits, including one RAC audit. Dr. Meeske, a pediatric dentist with Medicaid patients, chairs the Nebraska Dental Association’s Medicaid Committee.

“That particular billing code that they were looking at was a $22 cleaning fee, and so you receive an audit on a patient chart if you bill the state for a dental cleaning that was conducted one day less than the patient’s six-month visit.” After hearing the testimony, the panel moderator said, “I was struck by your example of targeting the $22 visit and whether that fits with the highest need.”

Convened by the Senate Special Committee on Aging, the roundtable focused on Medicare audits but acknowledged growing concerns about Medicaid RAC audits, which began in some states in 2012. The webcast is posted at aging.senate.gov. Dr. Meeske’s testimony begins at the 49:32 mark. A committee staff report, Improving Audits: How We Can Strengthen the Medicare Program for Future Generations, cited issues raised by the American Dental Association about dental Medicaid RAC audits. See related stories.

RACs were created to identify and recover overpayments and underpayments made on behalf of the Medicare program and expanded to Medicaid by the Affordable Care Act. “Recouping alleged overpayments appears to be the sole goal of RAC auditors,” Dr. Meeske testified. “Neither I nor any dentists I know received compliance training, nor was there collaboration with the dental community on this audit process.”   

“My experience thus far with the Medicaid RAC audit process has not been positive as the audits lack transparency and an opportunity for feedback due largely to a breakdown in communication. I fear that the impact may negatively affect dental services for this population.”

In Nebraska, the state’s provider manual language was revised a decade ago to offer flexibility for the treating dentist in the six-month prophylaxis frequency depending on the patient’s risk for decay. Current language suggests a six-month frequency but also notes that the “frequency [will be] determined by the dentist,” Dr. Meeske said. “This aligns with the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry’s dental periodicity schedule for children and allows these high-risk children more frequent visits, when deemed appropriate, to prevent more serious dental issues. Up until this year, it has been a win for children enrolled in Nebraska Medicaid.

“The RAC audit in Nebraska, which narrowly focused on prophy codes with frequency less than six months, essentially removed my ability to assess a patient’s risk and determine medical necessity,” Dr. Meeske testified.

“Many of my colleagues just paid the amount requested as part of the audit and have opted not to serve Medicaid patients any more or take on any new Medicaid patients,” she said.

ADA advocacy measure for measure

Washington – For full measure of Association legislative and regulatory advocacy consider recent ADA Council on Government Affairs and American Dental Political Action Committee communications. Both draw on energy generated by grassroots advocates at the May 19-21 ADA Washington Leadership Conference and both inspired pass-it-along messaging.

Consider, too, the letters, reports, statements, testimony and other written communications with lawmakers, regulators and print and online media as expressions of Association advocacy but also the Association’s increased advocacy engagement with social media as described in a report prepared for the Council on Government Affairs Aug. 21-23 meeting. The ADA Facebook page has more than 110,000 followers.

Consider the proliferation of Association online media venues replete with messages advocating for oral health, including but by no means limited to the advocacy home page, a web page featuring recent advocacy tweets and links to other ADA advocacy sites including Action for Dental Health: Dentists Making a Difference and the ADA Engage Legislative Action Center.

Consider the Association’s invitation to “become an advocate.” Consider your oral health advocacy as you take measure of Association advocacy. “You can make a critical difference,” said an ADA member service center email. “With the ADA, it’s easy to get involved. Get on the Action E-List today.”

Consider the messengers but first the message.

July 21 “Recent ADA Legislative and Regulatory Advocacy” email to Council on Government Affairs
 
“CGA members, I know you’re all aware of these initiatives because they’ve been vetted by the council or by council leadership but sometimes it’s helpful to see it all in one place,” said the email from Thomas Spangler, ADA senior director for legislative and regulatory policy. “Since the WLC concluded on May 21, the ADA has been actively engaged in a wide range of legislative and regulatory activities that affect dentistry.”

CGA members characterized that message as a “great synopsis of where we are on the different issues” and “very helpful in explaining advocacy measures at the national level” and said, “I passed it on” and “will pass this along” to their state dental societies.

The July 21 CGA message measures Association advocacy with 15 policy statements.

Business and tax issues

The ADA offered support for H.R. 2542, the bipartisan Regulatory Flexibility Improvements Act of 2013 to ensure that all federal agencies appropriately consider the impact of their rules on small businesses across America.

The ADA joined a coalition representing businesses in every state in strongly supporting H.R. 4457, America’s Small Business Tax Relief Act of 2014. This legislation would restore the small business expensing — Section 179 expensing — level to $500,000 and permanently index the level to inflation. Legislation expanding and/or extending small business expensing has been enacted eight times across two presidential administrations and six Congresses under both Democratic and Republican leadership.  These higher expensing limits were temporary, however, and beginning in 2014 they reverted back to $25,000 and will remain there unless Congress acts.

The ADA supports continued use of the cash method of accounting for service industries of all size and urges opposition to any tax proposal that would force businesses currently allowed to use the cash method to switch to accrual accounting.

The ADA signed on to a Family Business Coalition letter supporting full repeal of the estate tax and requesting that the House of Representatives pass the Death Tax Repeal Act, H.R. 2429, this year. The bill has more than 220 bipartisan cosponsors. The letter is addressed to House leadership.

Medicaid RAC Audits

On behalf of the ADA, on July 9, Dr. Jessica Meeske, a pediatric dentist from Nebraska, participated in a Senate Special Committee on Aging roundtable discussion. She addressed problems associated with the Medicaid RAC audits in Nebraska. RAC audits were established pursuant to the Affordable Care Act and the ADA believes they lack requisite transparency and fairness.

A letter to the chair of the National Governors Association’s health and human services committee asks for the governors’ support in changing the way in which Medicaid audits are conducted. The ADA would prefer administrative changes that would foster an environment of cooperation and education rather than punitive burdens that could discourage participation.

Dentist/Rep. Paul Gosar’s, R-Ariz., letter to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services supporting the ADA request was signed by 74 bipartisan members of Congress. The Association is pursuing a Senate “Dear Colleague” letter.

Medicare Part D and other Fraud and Abuse Regulations

An ADA letter to the House Small Business Committee chair and ranking Democrat asked them to ask the Department of Health and Human Services to postpone implementation of this Medicare rule until a cost study is conducted as required by law. A June 16 ADA news article, which was also posted at ADA.org, explains that dentists treating Medicare beneficiaries must enroll in the program or opt out in order to prescribe medication to their qualifying patients with Part D drug plans.

ADA filed comments on a proposed rule from the HHS Office of the Inspector General concerning Medicare and state health care programs. The OIG proposed revisions to civil monetary penalty rules.

GME Funding

Organized Dentistry Coalition members, including the Association, supported a letter to the Health Resources and Services Administration objecting to the potential elimination of children’s hospital graduate medical education funding for FY 2015. The ADA was scheduled for a follow-up meeting with HRSA officials in August on this matter.

Smokeless Tobacco

The ADA joined the American Cancer Society, American Heart Association, American Lung Association, American Medical Association, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, Legacy, Oral Health America and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation on a letter to Major League Baseball asking Commissioner Selig to honor Tony Gwynn’s memory by agreeing to a complete prohibition on tobacco use at ballparks and on camera.

Indian Health Service

The ADA joined the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine, American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy, American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, American Psychological Association and others on a letter to the National Institutes of Health asking the NIH to establish American Indian/Alaska Native Research Coordinator and Liaison positions.

Nutrition and Wellness

The ADA filed comments on a proposed Food and Drug Administration rule governing Nutrition and Supplement Facts Labels for conventional foods and dietary supplements.

The Association filed comments on the Food and Nutrition Service’s proposed rule governing the content of school wellness policies required for local educational agencies participating in the National School Lunch Program and/or the School Breakfast Program.

Disaster Preparedness

The ADA sent a letter to Senate leaders supporting S. 2196, the Good Samaritan Health Professionals Act of 2014. This bill would limit the liability of volunteer health care professionals for the good faith treatment of disaster victims during a mass casualty event.

July 30 “2014 WLC Advocacy Accomplishments” email to ADA members

“ADPAC would like to share with all of you the impact that your colleagues made on Capitol Hill during the Washington Leadership Conference,” said the “Dear Colleague” email from Dr. Ken McDougall, ADPAC chair. “Although Congress is currently gridlocked on many issues, ADA, with the support of member dentists, decided to strategically advocate on issues that are both important to the profession and have a chance of being acted upon by this Congress.”

Dr. McDougall’s message includes a summary of dentists running for Congress in November and links to a Washington Leadership Conference video at ADA.org/WLC and other advocacy information. ADPAC’s e-message cited gains in congressional support for these ADA-backed measures after grassroots dental leaders canvassed Capitol Hill during the May 19-21 WLC.

California’s Tri-County Dental Society plans to reprint the ADPAC email in its newsletter publication for 1,800 member dentists, according to an ADPAC staffer.   

Student Loan Interest Deduction Act of 2013 (H.R. 1527)
 
This bill would help ease the burden of student loan debt by significantly increasing the deduction allowed for student loan interest and allowing the deduction regardless of income. H.R. 1527 would increase the current $2,500 deduction ceiling to $5,000 for individuals and $10,000 for a joint return. Since the WLC, 14 new co-sponsors have signed onto the bill bringing the total to 43.

Federal Student Loan Refinancing Act (S. 1066)
This legislation would help ease the debt burden by enabling consolidation or refinancing of Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loans (and/or Federal Direct Consolidation Loans) for dental school graduates at a fixed rate of 4.0 percent. It would apply retroactively to all such loans taken out between July 1, 2006, and the law’s effective date. Since the WLC, the bill has added four Senate co–sponsors for a total of 10.

Action for Dental Health Act of 2014 (H.R. 4395)
This legislation supports expansion of ongoing programs that make it feasible for many more private sector dentists to care for the underserved. Dentists created momentum for the bill, which has 41 co-sponsors. This legislation was introduced in coordination with the launch of the Action for Dental Health Report to Congress. The Association is seeking Senate support for companion legislation.

Dentists in Congressional Races
Incumbent Rep. Mike Simpson, R-Idaho, won one of the most-watched competitive primaries in this election cycle with 62 percent of the vote. This is considered to be a safe Republican seat but he will face an opponent in the general election.

Dr. Brian Babin, R-Woodville, won Texas’ 36th district primary run-off election 59%-41%. This is also considered to be a safe Republican seat but he will face an opponent in the general election.

Incumbent Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., will not have an opponent in the Aug. 26 Republican primary but will have an opponent in the general election.

‘Transfer of value’ reports to go public Sept. 30

Washington – Dentists have until Aug. 27 to register to review and dispute Sunshine Act reports that the government will post on a searchable public Open Payments website beginning Sept. 30.

The Sunshine Act requires certain companies that provide payments, gifts, food, education and other “transfers of value” to dentists to report information to the government about each dentist and what was provided and to report ownership and investment interests held by dentists and their immediate family members.

Physicians, including dentists, and teaching hospitals can register in the Open Payments system to review and dispute data submitted by applicable manufacturers and applicable group purchasing organizations during the first phase of a review, dispute and correction process that ends on Aug. 27. From Aug. 28 through Sept. 11 industry “will analyze these disputes and work with physicians and teaching hospitals to come to agreement on any necessary corrections,” said the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

The ADA has prepared Frequently Asked Questions to help members understand the implications of the Sunshine Act. The members-only FAQ covers these questions:

  • What is the purpose of the Sunshine Act?
  • Which providers are affected by this program?
  • Do dental practices have any reporting requirements?
  • Is there a minimum dollar amount, or will every payment and transfer be reported?
  • Which companies are required to report?
  • What information will be included in a report?
  • Are “indirect” payments and transfers of value reportable?
  • How can a dentist keep track of payments and other transfers from companies?
  • How can a dentist find out that a report has been filed?
  • What can a dentist do if a report is inaccurate?
  • How much time does a dentist have to review a report before it is made public?
  • What if a dentist and the company are not able to resolve a dispute?
  • When do the data collection and reporting begin, and when do the reports become publicly available online?
  • What are the penalties for noncompliance?
  • What is meant by an “immediate family member” for purposes of reporting ownership and investment interests?
  • What are some things a dentist can do if a company says that a payment or transfer will be reportable?
  • What are some of the exceptions to the reporting requirement?
  • Are payments and transfers of value for research reportable?
  • If a company makes an indirect payment or transfer to me through my dental society, will my dental society have any reporting obligations? Will my dental society be asked to provide information about me to the company?
  • Where can I find out more about the Sunshine Act and the Open Payments website?
  • How can I help my patients better understand information about my dental practice on Open Payments?

Transfer of value reports to go public Sept. 30

Washington — Dentists can register to review and dispute through Sept. 10 any Sunshine Act reports that a company has submitted under the dentist’s name. Earlier review-dispute deadlines were extended through Sept. 10. Companies then have an additional 15 days to attempt to resolve disputes and re-report any data that is changed.

However, the government is still planning to post the information on a searchable public Open Payments website beginning Sept. 30 as scheduled.

The Sunshine Act requires certain companies that provide payments, gifts, food, education and other “transfers of value” to dentists to report information to the government about each dentist and what was provided and to report ownership and investment interests held by dentists and their immediate family members.

Physicians, including dentists, and teaching hospitals can register in the Open Payments system to review and dispute data submitted by applicable manufacturers and applicable group purchasing organizations during the first phase of a review, dispute and correction process that ended Aug. 27 before the several deadline extensions. After Sept. 10, industry “will analyze these disputes and work with physicians and teaching hospitals to come to agreement on any necessary corrections,” said the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

The ADA has prepared the Frequently Asked Questions to help members understand the implications of the Sunshine Act. The members-only FAQ can be found by visiting ADA.org, clicking on Member Center, then Member Benefits, then Legal Resources, then Publications and Articles, then Other Legal Issues, then The Sunshine Act FAQ.