I hope that all of you are doing well. The WSAPD has been working hard on your behalf and we have several important updates for our membership.
Firstly, for all of you attending this year’s AAPD reception in Orlando, we are again hosting the Washington State Reception on Saturday, May 27th from 5:00-7:00 pm. We invite all alumni of our two Washington State Residency programs, UW and NYU Langone- Yakima, and all members currently practicing in Washington State. Last year, it was a very successful social event in San Diego, and we look forward to seeing everyone this year.
We have several important legislative updates for our members. Starting Jan 2024, Washington State increased the budget to include a 40% increase for Medicaid recalls, the only code that was omitted last year. Additionally, we experienced the recent passing of both HB 1466 and HB 1678. As you may remember, WSAPD was supportive of HB 1466, as it will help address the workforce shortage by allowing more hygienists to practice in Washington State. Hygienists can now get a limited license that will last 5 years instead of the previously allowed 18 months. This bill also passed along with a PACT that would allow for reciprocity between states. This PACT does not take effect until 7 states join, and although we are the first state, we are confident that other states also experiencing workforce shortages will also join and hygienists will be able practice in any of the states that are part of this PACT.
Unfortunately, after years of opposition, HB 1678 also passed, allowing Statewide authorization of dental therapists to work in FQHCs under general supervision. This takes effect on January 1, 2024. As a reminder, general supervision means a dentist does not need to be in the building when they practice. However, at most FQHC sites, there are multiple dentists typically present. The dental therapist scope of practice excludes pulpotomy or SSC procedures on patients under 18 years of age. We will continue to watch closely as this position is implemented in some FQHCs across our state.
I want to take time to address this year’s WSAPD PALS course held March 3-4, 2023. The WSAPD has been working with Raedelle Wallace of RW Medical to teach our PALS course since prior to 2008. She has been a highly sought after trainer for dental specialists in both Washington and Oregon for many years. Unfortunately, after this year’s course was completed, attendees were informed by Ms. Wallace via e-mail that the course was not AHA compliant and additional learning modules needed to be completed to receive certification. WSAPD worked hard to gain more information and learned that Ms. Wallace had been suspended by Lifework Healthcare Education on February 14, 2023, and told not to teach any additional AHA classes while she was being audited as she was unable to administer cards for AHA courses. Unfortunately, Ms. Wallace continued to teach several courses during this time, including PALS for WSAPD, PALS for the Oregon Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, and PALS/ACLS for The Oregon Society of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons. Ms. Wallace did not provide information about classes or participants when these courses were discovered during her audit, and she submitted falsified documents to Lifework stating that her courses were taught over multiple days, rather than a single day. The WSAPD learned during this process that the AHA recommended skills assessment max is 1:8, our WSAPD class was 1:38, as Ms. Wallace’s daughter and co-instructor has never been a certified PALS instructor. Going forward, Ms. Wallace has been stripped of AHA teaching privileges and banned for life. The WSAPD also reported Ms. Wallace’s fraudulent behavior to NQAC and Attorney General of Washington- Consumer Protection Division. Once the fraud was discovered, the WSAPD board organized and provided AHA compliant PALS skills assessment courses for members on short notice, hosted in small groups at the offices of several of our members. A huge thank you to Drs. Maureen Callendar, Stuart Hersey, Christie Kim Lee, Sara Silvestri and Stephen Stuehling for their willingness to open their offices to colleagues and host sessions. We also appreciate the patience and flexibility of all the members who both hosted and attended. We are in the process of refunding members based on their attendance at the rescheduled skills assessment courses. Some positive news is that Ms. Wallace did eventually refund the WSAPD the total
amount she was paid for the 2023 PALS course. We are still in the process of determining what PALS will look like going forward. Please look for a survey that WSAPD will be sending out to gauge member interest.
Our Mid-Winter meeting was held March 18th at the Willows Lodge in Woodinville. Our speaker was John Christensen, DDS, MS, a dual-trained pediatric dentist and orthodontist, who spoke on the topic of “Contemporary Orthodontic Treatment
Strategies for the Early Mixed Dentition.” We received great feedback, and we were pleased to provide another great event for our members. We continue to enjoy our smaller, more intimate mid-winter meetings every year.
The WSAPD was featured in the May issue of PDT magazine as a “State Chapter Highlight.” The article discussed WSAPD’s ongoing commitment to education with our new ADA CERP EAP and our multiple education opportunities for members, in addition to bringing back our continuing education course for general dentists practicing in our local community health centers. The latter provides support to general dental providers allowing them to better serve the pediatric population in the clinics with the most current information and recommendations for treatment. Acknowledgment of WSAPD advocacy efforts included our support of residents attending the AAPD POHAC conference and also recognition of our long-term Washington State PPA, Dr. John Gibbons, who also currently serves as President of WSDA. The article also recognized two other members making valuable contributions to organized dentistry, former WSAPD board members, Drs. Harlyn Susarla and Bri Butler. Dr. Susarla currently serves as the President-Elect of the Seattle-King County Dental Society, and Dr. Butler currently serves as President of the Western Society of Pediatric Dentistry. We should be proud of WSAPD, our members and our contributions to the profession.
Our next meeting will be the WSAPD Annual Meeting on Saturday, October 7, 2023, again hosted at Cedarbrook Lodge in SeaTac. Our speaker is Cameron Randall, PhD, faculty at the University of Washington. Dr. Randall will be providing a two-part course on Understanding and Managing General Anxiety and Dental Care-Related Anxiety in Children and Adolescents, and Maximizing Well-Being to Thrive as a Pediatric Dentist: Insights from Psychological Science. We are very much looking forward to both this course content, and the opportunity for socialization and building camaraderie. Registration will be available mid-Summer.
Lastly, I would like to take the opportunity to encourage you to register and attend the upcoming Washington Pediatric Dental Alumni Association’s 2023 Third Annual Symposium that will be held June 24, 2023, at the beautiful Woodmark Hotel and Spa in Kirkland. Please see the link below for more details.
As always, I appreciate the opportunity to work with the WSAPD board on behalf of our membership and our profession and look forward to seeing you all at our upcoming events- say hi in Orlando!
Aarika D. Anderson Elter, DMD
President WSAPD 2022-2023