Archive for the ‘ODA Member Benefits’ Category

Encrypted Email – Friend or Foe?

Monday, December 7th, 2015

Encrypted Email has gotten a bad rap but it’s certainly your friend!

Picture a postcard. This mode of communication is perfect for documenting your latest trip laden with landmark pictures on the front and a simple “Wish you were here” written on the back. Anyone can flip over the postcard, read your sentiments. You’d never write anything too personal knowing this postcard can be an open book. No need to safeguard this innocent letter.
Now imagine it has your social security number written on the back under your name. Not so innocent anymore! This is exactly what an email is. A regular email is open for anyone to view while in transit to its recipient.
If you can think of a letter duct taped and carried by an armored van to the recipient – this is an encrypted email.

As a Covered Entity, you are responsible, by HIPAA law, for safeguarding your patient’s data. Anytime electronic Protected Health Information (ePHI) is being sent in an email, HIPAA recommends implementing procedures to ensure secure transmission and storage. The easiest way to do this is to utilize an encrypted email system.

Ideally, look for a provider that offers the option to send regular vs. encrypted mail. Aspida Mail, the ODA’s preferred Encrypted Email provider, is triggered by a keyword, encrypt in the subject or body of an email. If that keyword is omitted, all emails flow as usual.

Experience The Network Effect! Did you know email sent within our secure ecosystem (Aspida Client à Aspida Client) eliminates the login process for secure messages? That’s right! Encrypted emails will flow inbox to inbox like regular mail – no signing in!

This allows you to seamlessly send & receive encrypted emails to other Aspida Mail users within the ODA Community!

Additionally, if you are receiving ePHI to your email, verify you are implementing secure storage procedures. Typically, (free) Gmail, Aol & Yahoo Mail do not store securely.
Aspida Mail takes over your existing mail server – ensuring secure storage of ALL mail messages.

Do you completely understand what PHI is and how to protect it? What about the consequences for not taking steps to safeguard it?

Take our quiz to find out!


This post is brought to you by ODA Endorsed Program, Aspida. For more information on this and a complete list of ODA Benefits of Membership visit:

ODA Introduces New Endorsed Services as Additional Member Benefit

Thursday, November 12th, 2015

ODA_Logo_horiz_RGB_ Endorsed Program

By: Conor McNulty, CAE, ODA Executive Director

In late 2014, the Oregon Dental Association (ODA) convened a task force to review  important benefits and offerings for ODA members. After getting feedback from members and approval from the Board of Trustees, ODA is happy to announce the following NEW  line-up of additional endorsed services for our members.

ODA and its endorsed service  program partners offer you the resources you need to help manage your dental practice…and your life.

Aspida –  Encrypted  e-mail service provider

Offers all ODA members an exclusive discount on their HIPAA compliant email encryption services

  • First three months at $1/each
  • 20% lifetime discount on all Aspida mail plans (after the 3 month trial)

OHSU Sterilization Monitoring Services  l   503-494-4641

  • 24 hour turn-around for test results
  • Emailed test results directly to you,
  • Is the test is not sterile you will also get a phone call to ensure the most rapid retesting options.

WEO Media – website and dental marketing services

Offers ODA members discounts on services:

  • Up to 25% on selected set-up fees
  • Up to 15% on selected service fees

Sofi – Student debt refinancing

ODA members get an additional .125% rate discount

  • Average savings for members is $39,000 for the life of a loan
  • Quick and user-friendly process for application and review

Dentists Benefit Corporation (DBC) – Disability insurance through Ameritas  l  503-952-5271

  • ODA members recieve a 15% discount on new individual disability insurance plans.

For a complete list of ODA Benefits of Membership visit:

Avoiding Organized Dentistry to Save Money on Dues—Think again!

Monday, August 5th, 2013

By: Vanessa Browne, DDS

ODA logo (color)

With the continued rise of educational debt, many dental students are graduating with difficult financial decisions to make. The job market is saturated, many are getting married and starting families, high monthly loan payments are around the corner, and many also are craving delayed gratification for eight or more years of very hard work. It is natural, then, for some to make the decision to delay all unnecessary costs. For some recent graduates, the choice has been to forgo membership in the American Dental Association, the Oregon Dental Association, and their local dental society as a means to save money as they are establishing themselves in the dental community. However, I believe this is the worst choice that a new dentist can make. The benefits of being a member of our dental societies far outweigh the cost.

Dental societies function as a tripartite membership. This means when you become a member, you hold membership at three levels: the national level (American Dental Society), the state level (Oregon Dental Association), and the local level (Oregon has 17 local dental societies). More than 71% of Oregon’s dentists belong to the ODA. While this is an impressive number, the opposite number is staggering. 29% of dentists in Oregon are practicing without the support, network, protection, community, and education that being a dental society member provides. I believe that joining your dental society is a commitment to continued growth as a professional.  Here are just a few ways that organized dentistry can help you:

Peer Relationships

Upon graduation, many new dentists begin working and sometimes lose connections with classmates and the dental community. This is understandable as starting a practice, joining a practice, or becoming an associate is a time-consuming process. However, this is a missed opportunity to seek advice from mentors, learn practice management and clinical techniques from peers, empathize or share experiences among colleagues, and network for leadership, professional, or career opportunities. There are over 2,100 dentist members in the ODA, and 9 staff at ODA working to help provide information, answer questions, and support the profession.


 A portion of the dues paid to the dental societies goes to supporting and protecting the profession. This includes lobbying for specific dental issues. A few of the recent issues facing dentistry include eliminating national license testing with a push toward portfolio licensure for dentists, educating legislators about the negative effect the new medical device tax will have on the cost of oral health care, impeding insurance companies from dictating rates for treatment that insurance does not cover, and providing alternative solutions to the proposed mid-level provider model.

Serving the Community

Being a part of the dental society gives dentists many opportunities to give back to the community. Not only does organized dentistry help educate the public about oral health and the importance of seeking dental care, but it also serves to advocate for changes such as water fluoridation, increased funding for research, dental care for underserved populations and public health initiatives, and increased insurance coverage for dental services. Beyond this, there are opportunities for dental professionals to volunteer in the community through events like Mission of Mercy (November 24-27, 2013) and Give Kids a Smile (February).


Every dental society hosts at least one conference a year with a collection of continuing education courses and a vendor showcase with member discounts. Also available throughout the rest of the year are additional continuing education courses, leadership training, and numerous publications. The Oregon Dental Association publishes its newsletter “Membership Matters” and this blog “The Tooth of the Matter.” The American Dental Association has its own journal “Journal of the American Dental Association” and newsletter “ADA News”. Beyond education for members, these dental societies also provide numerous public health resources and patient education tools that can be used in your office.

Career Protection

Dental societies offer three specific resources for career protection: Insurance for your personal and practice needs, peer review, and a well-being committee. The ADA sponsors life and disability insurance plans at a reduced rate for members. Other dental societies also endorse malpractice insurance companies and other necessary insurance providers. Peer Review is a process by which patients and third party payers can voice concerns or disputes that are resolved by a collection of your colleagues. This allows the dentist and patient to have dental care evaluated in a non-combative environment at a local level. These issues are often resolved at this level and do not have a need to progress to a lawsuit. The Well Being Committee offers dentists who struggle with alcohol and controlled substances an opportunity to get back on track without losing his or her license.

Practice Support:

The ADA and ODA have endorsed programs of products or services and often offer discounts to members. All of the dental societies also have several opportunities to seek employment or place classified ads. These are sometimes the first place individuals will look. Both the ADA and ODA help with patient referrals by listing your practice information on their websites and when patients seek dental care in a certain area, the staff will refer to its members. Additionally, the ADA has a professional product review that provides unbiased dental product information that is scientifically sound, clinically relevant, and user friendly. The ADA also has a center for Evidenced Based dentistry that provides research and gives you access to systematic reviews. Using both of these resources, organized dentistry allows dental professionals to make informed decisions about their practice.


So How Much Will This Cost You?

The dental societies realize that new dentists are graduating with enormous debt loans.  To decrease the burden of membership dues, the American Dental Association and most dental societies structure their dues on a graduated scale over 5 years. Usually, membership in the first year in practice is free. This means that even if you don’t know where you are going to practice, it is beneficial to join to have access to this wealth of resources. At the national level, dues are 25% of full national dues your 2nd year in practice, 50% your 3rd year in practice, 75% your fourth year in practice, and 100% your fifth year in practice. State and local dental societies have a similar system. There are also member get a member discounts to encourage dentists to invite their colleagues to join. Depending on your location, full dues for tripartite membership by your fifth year vary from $900 to $1,800. Students who pursue graduate training also have a reduced rate of $30 for national dues and begin the reduced dues five-year program when their graduate education is complete.

Convinced Yet?

Being a member of organized dentistry can lead to career opportunities, referral connections, educational opportunities, practice management support, risk management answers, reduced rates on endorsed products, unbiased and scientific information on clinical products, support at the legislative level, license protection with peer review, social opportunities, and more. The small cost of membership is worth a lifetime of benefits.

How Do I Get Involved?

The best way to get involved in your dental society is to visit the websites and read the newsletters for upcoming events. It is best to start with your local dental society. Look for New Dentist events, Continuing Education courses, opportunities to be a mentor/mentee, or upcoming conferences such as the Oregon Dental Conference or the American Dental Association New Dentist Conference. There are also numerous opportunities to volunteer with events like the ODA Mission of Mercy (November 24-27, 2013) and Give Kids a Smile (held annually in February).

Check out the following website for more information:


IMG_6409Vanessa Browne, D.D.S, is a 2012 Loma Linda University Dental Graduate who is currently in her orthodontic residency at Oregon Health and Sciences University in Portland, OR. She is a member of the California Dental Association, the Oregon Dental Association, the American Dental Association, the American Association of Orthodontists, and the Pacific Coast Society of Orthodontists. As a dental student, Vanessa held numerous roles as a leader in organized dentistry including the chair of the California Dental Association student delegation. She is passionate about encouraging dental students and new dentists to join organized dentistry. You can contact her at

ODA Dental Health and Wellness Committee

Monday, July 16th, 2012

By Dr. Todd Beck


As dentists we manage the stress and anxiety of our patients every day.  We have developed a rich and complex skill set that allows us to provide much needed treatment to people who are not always appreciative and most often fearful, anxious and even sometimes angry.  We do all of this with the self imposed need for perfection and under the backdrop of a troubled economy; a combination which, as best, makes owning and running a small business a daunting task.  Add to all of that the unique challenges of managing employees and it is no wonder why most of us choose to work only four days a week.

We have CE courses and study clubs for everything from practice management to placing gold restorations.  But where do we turn for help with the emotional and personal issues we face?  Where do we go to get tips on how to better cope with our fear, anxiety and depression?  How do we get help when our coping mechanisms include drugs and alcohol?  Who do we turn to if we are suffering the anxiety of a board complaint or a lawsuit?  This is where the Dentist Health and Wellness Committee might be able to help.

I have been involved with the DHWC for over 12 years now.  In 2000 I reached out to the committee for help.  I was struggling with an addiction to narcotic pain medicine and my world was falling apart.  What I received was an ear to listen, a shoulder to cry on and excellent advice and direction.  It was a phone call to this committee that started the process of getting my life back on track.  At that moment I decided the rest of my career would involve “paying it forward”.

The work we do is most often anonymous; and for good reason.  We are dealing with very sensitive and personal issues.  We get referrals from the Board of Dentistry, concerned staff and family members, attorneys and dentists themselves.  The issues range from general stress to suicidal thoughts.  The ages range from dental students to retirees.  The request is always the same; “I just need someone to listen, I don’t know what to do”.  The response is always the same; “I’m glad you called; let’s see how we can help you”.

I need to be clear.  None of us on this committee have the training nor are we able to solve these problems by ourselves.  What we do have are the resources to point people in the right direction.  We are often the first step in the journey to healing and a better life.  We are an ear and a shoulder, and sometimes that is all that is needed.

If you or someone you know might need our help, please don’t hesitate to call our anonymous hotline at 503-550-0190


Dr. Beck graduated from OHSU in ’94 and completed a two year GPR at St. Anthony Hospital in Oklahoma City, OK in ’96.  After practicing and teaching for a few years in Oklahoma, Dr. Beck returned to Portland in 1999 and purchased Mt. Tabor Dental.  Dr. Beck opened a second location at South Waterfront in 2010 and for the past decade has been an Assistant Professor at OHSU in the departments of Community Dentistry, Restorative Dentistry and Urgent Care.  Dr. Beck has served as Chair of the Dentist Health and Wellness Committee for the past seven years, is on the Board of Directors for the OAGD and is currently President of the Multnomah County Dental Association.

ODA Peer Review

Monday, May 21st, 2012

By Timothy J Edvalson, DMD

Today I’d like to write about a little discussed benefit of your ODA membership:  Peer Review.  I have worked behind the scenes at the constituent and state committee levels for more than 20 years with a dedicated group of dentists and ODA staff who serve to help their fellow dentists and the public resolve differences in anticipated and actual outcomes of treatment.

Peer Review is defined as the evaluation by fellow professionals of diagnostic and clinical treatment outcomes.  The goals of Peer Review are (1) to detect professional problems, (2) devise educational and disciplinary solutions so that the quality of care can improve, and (3) resolve patient-dentist disputes without litigation.

As members of the Oregon Dental Association, we are bound by the ADA code of ethics as well as agreeing to Peer Review evaluation when it is requested by a patient or another dentist.

Most Peer Review requests are initiated by a patient when the outcome of their treatment did not meet their expectations and they feel unable to have their complaint adequately addressed by their provider.  Requests are received at the ODA office by Margaret Torgeson, our ODA staff specialist in processing these requests.  Once the information is assembled, it is reviewed by the State Peer Review chairman (and committee if necessary) to determine if the complaint is within the scope of peer review guidelines.  Once accepted, the request is assigned to a constituent society’s local Peer Review committee for evaluation.

All Peer Review cases are assigned for mediation as a first attempt at resolution.  In this case, the mediator (a member of the constituent committee assigned by the local chairman) reviews all the documents and has a series of conversations with both the patient and the dentist to see if a mutually agreed upon resolution can be negotiated.  I am happy to say that the majority of cases are resolved in this step.  Patients appreciate having their complain heard by an objective third party and dentists have the advantage of explaining their perspective to someone who is also “in the trenches” and knows what it’s like to try to deliver excellent care in situations that are not always ideal. Through mediation, both parties work out a mutually agreed upon resolution.

If a mediated resolution is not attained, then the Peer Review case is presented to the local component Peer Review committee for a formal hearing.  In the hearing, the patient is examined and interviewed by the committee members until all their questions are answered.  The dentist is then interviewed and allowed to explain all the aspects of the case to the committee members.  The committee of 3 or more dentists then makes a decision as to the outcome of the Peer Review Request.  The possible outcomes can be a range of possibilities from finding no fault with the care provided all the way to having the dentist refund all or part of the fees paid for the services in question.  The parties agree in advance to be bound by the committee’s decision and all documents are returned to the ODA staff to process the final decision documents.

While this all sounds like a formidable process, it is much less stressful than litigation and has the added benefit of remaining confidential without any requirements for being disclosed to the National Practitioner Databank or Board of Dentistry review.  If either party in the Peer Review process feels that other evidence was not heard or has legitimate grounds for appeal, the State Peer Review committee reviews these cases.

In practice, I have seen many cases be successfully resolved by Peer Review which otherwise would have ended in some form of litigation and both patients and dentists have been spared the emotional toll and actual cost of going through such an adversarial challenge.  My thanks go out to all who serve on the various local and state committees who dedicate their time and talents to helping us all be better dentists as well as protecting the integrity of the profession and safeguarding the public.


Dr. Edvalson maintains a private practice inLake Oswegowhere he has practiced for the past 31 years.  He was a member of the Clackamas County Peer Review committee for many years, serving as its chairman before being asked to join the State Committee and subsequently serve as Chair of that committee since 2009.  He wishes to especially thank Drs. Don Sirianni and Daren Goin (past chairs of the state committee) for mentoring him along the way.