4 Simple Ways to Give a Little Time and Make a Big Impact

By Dr. David L. Russell, Florida Dental Association Foundation President

On a daily basis, approximately 10,000 Florida dentists have a positive influence on the state’s health care, policies, education and people. In fact, it’s estimated that each of Florida’s dentists may donate as much as $30,000 in free care and treatment each year. Unfortunately, the public often is unaware of our profession’s generosity and policymakers don’t recognize the sacrifices we make to fill in the gaps in care for our patients.

In the early 1980s, the Florida Dental Association (FDA) Board of Trustees created an organization to lead a larger and more organized philanthropic effort for all individuals in the Sunshine State. Thirty-five years later, the FDA Foundation is the preeminent charitable organization for oral health in Florida. The Foundation organizes and supports philanthropic programs statewide that promote our profession and offer alternative opportunities for organized dentistry to speak on key issues while the FDA addresses them through advocacy.

Since its establishment, the FDA Foundation has sponsored a number of innovative programs and given professionals in our industry countless opportunities to volunteer their time. These include, but are not limited to, the Florida Mission of Mercy, Project: Dentists Care and Give Kids A Smile®. Additionally, the Foundation offers disaster grants and administers a scholarship program.

If you are interested in donating your time and expertise to treat those less fortunate in Florida, I suggest you look to one of the four programs shown below. Each offers dental professionals an opportunity to give back and make a big impact.

1. Florida Mission of Mercy
The Florida Mission of Mercy (FLA-MOM) event is a massive two-day dental clinic with a goal of treating as many as 3,000 patients. Approximately 500 dentists and hygienists, as well as 1,000 community service volunteers, donate their time and expertise to provide almost $2 million dollars in donated care. Starting in 2016, the FLA-MOM event will be held annually in a different location throughout the state.

2. Project: Dentists Care
Project: Dentists Care
Inc. (PDC) consists of numerous organizations in Florida that offer a safety net of preventive and restorative dental care to those in greatest need. The Foundation provides grant funding to these orga­nizations that provide oral health care to the underserved. Last year, PDC affiliates reported more than $11 million in donated dental care.

3. Donated Dental Services
Donated Dental Services (DDS) is a program jointly funded between the Foundation and Dental Lifeline Network Florida. DDS provides access to comprehensive dental care for people with disabilities or who are elderly or medically fragile and cannot afford treatment. Since its founding in 1997, 1,500 Floridians in need have received nearly $6 million in donated treatment through 400 generous Florida DDS volunteer dentists and 200 volunteer dental laboratories.

4. Give Kids A Smile®
Launched by the ADA and supported locally by the Foundation, Give Kids A Smile® (GKAS) is a month-long program that provides free, easily accessible dental services to local qualifying children. This program seeks to raise awareness of the epidemic of untreated dental disease, and to create public and private partnerships to increase access to oral health care to solve this crisis.

These programs are funded by the FDA Foundation, which is largely funded by FDA-member dentists who make tax-deductible charitable contributions with their membership dues payments. We call these “sustaining membership” contributions and are critical to help us provide this important care.

I’d like to personally thank those of you who have contributed to the Foundation over the years through your sustaining membership dues. We understand you have choices about the organizations you support, and we appreciate the trust you’ve placed in us. We believe we are offering programs and services that address the causes you care about and reflect your values.

As you send in your membership dues, please be sure to include your $125 sustaining membership payment. Or, please take a moment to educate your office managers and accountants so that they include this payment when submitting on your behalf.

Thank you for your time and we hope you will continue to support the important work the Foundation is doing in Florida.

An Extra Mile Goes a Long Way — From Maryland to Florida!

By  Dr. Sharon Colvin-Johnson

On June 12-13, I attended the Florida Dental Convention (FDC) for the first time. During the convention, I had the privilege to serve as a speaker host. My experience during the entire process — registering for FDC; inquiring about volunteering as a speaker host; acquiring the continuing education credit that I needed; and attending the most fun and exciting convention party on Friday — would not have run so smoothly if it wasn’t for the FDA’s Director of Member Relations, Ms. Kerry Gomez-Rios, and her navigational assistance.

Currently, I’m a member of the Maryland State Dental Association (MSDA), but I will be relocating to the Sarasota-Lakewood Ranch, Fla. area in July/August. The MSDA’s membership coordinator, Ms. Kim Dresser, put me in contact with Ms. Gomez-Rios — and I’ve had the best experience with a state dental association that I’ve ever had in my 31 years in organized dentistry! Ms. Gomez-Rios then directed me to those who will be instrumental in my transition to Florida. During FDC, she suggested meetings and events that would put me in contact with the key players in organized dentistry.

I’m so happy that I had the opportunity to connect with the FDA at this year’s convention. I’m especially thankful for Ms. Gomez-Rios and her “extra mile” efforts to help me to feel “at home” with the FDA.

Disability Overhead Insurance — Protect Your Practice!

By Dan Zottoli, Director of Sales – Atlantic Coast, FDA Services Inc.  

How hard have you worked to build your business? I would assume that all of you answered that in your head and came up with, “I WORK HARD!” Now, what if you became ill or injured and could no longer work? So much time, money and effort was spent building your practice — how do you protect what you have built to ensure that your practice can survive if something should happen to you and prevents you from seeing your patients?

Disability overhead insurance is designed to pay the practice expenses in the event that the dentist becomes disabled. Unlike personal disability insurance, disability overhead insurance policies are shorter in term. They are designed to pay a benefit for 12-24 months (in most cases) to keep the practice current on its financial obligations in the event a dentist becomes disabled. The idea behind this type of policy is simple. If you became disabled, you need money coming in until you develop a strategy for your next move. The duration of a disability will vary from case to case. By having cash coming in from a disability overhead insurance policy, you will have the time to determine whether you will be back to work or in permanent disability situations, when you will be back to work, whether to sell the practice or get an associate to come in to see the patients.

There are many factors to consider when looking at disability overhead insurance. The most important factor is finding the right agent to assist that can explain and clarify the details of each company. The FDA Services’ experienced staff is ready to get to work for you. For more information, contact FDA Services at 800.877.7597 or insurance@fdaservices.com.

5 Things Every Florida Dentist Should Know About Records


By Graham Nicol, Esq., Health Care Risk Manager, Board Certified Specialist (Health Law)

1. Records are evidence (exculpatory or damaging).

2. They must be kept a minimum of four years post-treatment, but preferably at least seven years (statute of repose for medical malpractice).

3. They should contain an entry every time an examination, treatment or dispensing of drugs occurs.

4. They document the doctor who is primarily responsible for all dental treatment regardless of who actually did it.

5. If you get in trouble with the Florida Board of Dentistry, a count for “failure to keep adequate records” will be alleged.


This blog is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional legal advice. If you have a specific concern or need legal advice regarding your dental practice, you should contact a qualified attorney.