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News Bulletin : ADA News Bulletin November 2010
3 NOVEMBER 2010 CONTRACTS WITH HEALTH FUNDS Members in South Australia have recently been contacted by Bupa Australia Pty Ltd (Bupa) advising that Bupa will be introducing a single national product suite to replace the two current networks, Mutual Community Members First and the MBF Membercare Dental Network, on 30 November 2010. This merger will result in unilateral changes to the conditions for dentists to be part of Bupa's Members First Dental Network. Dentists can choose not to be party to the new arrangements by notifying Bupa in writing prior to 29 November 2010 and then any current agreement will be terminated. Given the disquiet regarding this matter the ADA has sought legal advice on the arrangements. Commentary and sections of the advice can be found on page 10 of this edition of the News Bulletin and in the member's section of the ADA website at www.ada.org.au. Concerns with the new conditions include: • Dentists can be terminated from the network by Bupa in 28 days; • Bupa needs to approve all documents promoting the practice such as print advertising, television, radio, Yellow Pages directories, brochures, posters, business cards, personalized letters, signage or other advertising/marketing material; • Utilization of 'maximum fees'. The ADA's position has been and continues to be that it is in the best interest of both patients and practitioners to provide dental services without the influence and impact of such third party funding arrangements. My personal arrangements are that I am not contracted to any health fund as I strongly believe my clinical independence is just too important to me and to my patients. This situation with Bupa presents an opportunity for currently contracted dentists to opt out and so not have to work under these new and, to most dentists, less favourable conditions. Further, this is a valuable lesson for all members who are presently not contracted to a health fund to remain so and to any others, who are contracted, to consider working towards clinical and managerial independence. STRATEGY Late in October, Federal Councillors, Branch Presidents and some Association staff gave up a weekend to attend a facilitated strategic workshop held at Mt Lofty House in the Adelaide Hills. This was an important and constructive event where we could all concentrate on the future without the normal business of Federal Council Meetings being a distraction. The consensus direction and elements of the new strategic plan developed during the weekend will now be further refined before being adopted by Federal Council. FINALE This column will be published after my two terms as Federal President have been completed. I feel deeply privileged to have been able to serve my profession in this very special role. It has been an exceptional experience and a very busy and hectic time with many reform issues such as Denticare Australia, practice accreditation and national registration, to name but a few of the major issues having to be dealt with. This period, led to an unprecedented number of submissions to government and others. The ADA celebrated its centenary and relocated its office during my tenure and these were exciting extra activities. The Association continues to grow and to provide more member services such as the national library, electronic updates on activities and 'webinars' for rural members. The Brisbane Congress will be organized 'in-house' for the first time and thus deliver an improved service to members. Together with the Branches, the ADA provides members with an excellent package of services and great member value. I take this opportunity to express heartfelt thanks to all those who have positively contributed to the ADA over the last two years, including: • Members who have offered their support throughout Australia; • Federal Executive, who have dedicated considerable time and effort and worked so effectively at this very busy period for dentistry; • Members of Federal Council and ADA Inc. Committees who so freely donate their time and expertise; • Branch Presidents and CEOs for their support and suggestions; • The CEO and Federal Secretariat staff who are so dedicated and helpful; • Staff and patients at my practice who have been so understanding of the disruptions the role brings. Finally, I wish Dr Shane Fryer, the incoming President, and the rest of the new Federal Executive all the best for the next twelve months. Neil Hewson Federal President president's comments "Further, this is a valuable lesson for all members who are not contracted to a health fund to remain so and to any others, who are contracted, to consider working towards clinical and managerial independence."
ADA News Bulletin October 2010
ADA News Bulletin December 2010