As an Olympian dentist of 37 years currently in private practice and also serving at the Squaxin Indian Tribe, I have some experience in both worlds when debating the legislative controversy of mid-level dental providers on Indian reservations and elsewhere.
Also after recovering from the joy of serving free dental screenings for kids for more than two hours, I cringe at The Olympian letters to the editor. Also a recent Seattle Times article charged that “dentists with deep pockets” are standing in the way of improved dental health when they express concerns about legislative efforts to create a new class of mid-level dental providers.
Add to this, the rankness of criticism for dentists who are concerned about quality care issues, along with access, is just mean spirited.
Rising costs; constantly declining reimbursements and “allowed” procedures; overwhelmed, indifferent patients struggling with life these days; corporate clinics; regulatory burdens, etc. – these are creating an environment in dentistry where I see excessive treatment and poor treatment increasing in frequency.
In the quality of care vs. mid-level debate I am reminded of the saying, “Be careful what you wish for, you might just get it.”