Open Wide - The Official Blog of The Chicago Dental Society

Permanent link  CDS commits $75,000 to DENT-IL-PAC


The Chicago Dental Society has committed $75,000 to DENT-IL-PAC in 2014. DENT-IL-PAC is the political action committee of the Illinois State Dental Society, which allows dentists to collectively contribute to the campaigns of candidates it supports. DENT-IL-PAC is non-profit and bi-partisan, with the goal of influencing the political process for the good of dentistry and patients.

A Board of Directors oversees DENT-IL-PAC’s activities; CDS member Michael Durbin is the current president.

 The Board of Directors includes one director from each branch of the Chicago Dental Society, as well as representatives from each downstate component of the Illinois State Dental Society and several Illinois specialty societies.

Other local dental societies contributed a combined $25,100 to DENT-IL-PAC. Donors include:

  • Southern Illinois Dental Society: $1,500
  • Will County Dental Society: $1,000
  • G.V. Black District Dental Society: $2,000
  • Peoria District Dental Society: $2,000
  • Illinois Academy of General Dentistry: $1,000
  • Winnebago County Dental Society: $2,000
  • Madison District Dental Society: $1,000
  • Illinois Society of Pediatric Dentists: $2,000
  • Fox River Valley Dental Society: $3,000
  • Illinois Association of Endodontists: $3,000
  • U.S. Grant Dental Society: $1,000
  • Illinois Society of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons: $3,000
  • Education and Development Initiative: $100
  • Rock Island District Dental Society: $1,500
  • McLean County Dental Society: $1,000.


The Chicago Dental Society has supported DENT-IL-PAC annually since 1998, for a total of $763,001 in donations.



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Permanent link  ISDS needs your help on the vaccine bill, SB409


The Illinois State Dental Society is seeking support for a bill that would allow dentists to provide flu vaccines to patients 18 years and older, SB3409. ISDS is encouraging all members to contact their representatives today, so that the bill survives committee debates in the coming weeks.

The Illinois State Medical Society (ISMS) is making a strong effort in the House of Representatives to stop the flu vaccine bill, arguing that health insurers will not credential dentists in medical networks and that dentists are not Medicare providers.  In addition, ISMS representatives say that there is already adequate coverage of providers to administer flu vaccines.

In response, ISDS is asking members contact their state representatives and to emphasize that these administrative issues can be addressed — and that the real issue is the potential to keep people from getting sick and possibly dying. Evidence shows that only 45 percent of Illinois citizens get vaccinated annually, and that hospitals are flooded with patients sickened with the flu, according to the reports published by Illinois Department of Public Health. 

ISDS has also argued that passage of SB409 will enable dentists to volunteer at public health clinics this fall to help with inoculation efforts, which will greatly increase the number of health care providers vaccinating the underserved population.

SB409 is expected to be heard by the House Health Care Licenses Committee or the Health Care Availability to Access Committee within the next two weeks. 

Find more talking points and get your Representative’s contact information online.




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Permanent link  Help keep adult dental services in the Medicaid program


Did you receive an email from the Bridge to Healthy Smiles campaign today?  It reminded local voters that Illinois Governor Pat Quinn and the State Legislature are conducting a review of all Medicaid services to find $2.7 billion in budget cuts. Adult dental services are on the chopping block for possible elimination due to their classification as “optional services” under federal reimbursement guidelines.

The Bridge to Healthy Smiles campaign urged voters to help the governor and their elected officials understand that elimination of the adult services is not the answer; it will instead shift the burden to emergency rooms that can not treat the underlying dental condition.

You can read the full message from the Bridge to Health Smiles campaign here.

If you agree and want to help, the Bridge to Healthy Smiles campaign encourages you to call Gov. Quinn and your legislators and explain why they must not cut the adult dental funding and what the impact will be on the underserved population. 

Governor Quinn’s office can be reached at 217.782.0244 during business hours.

The Illinois State Dental Society has provided on its website links to help you identify your elected representative, and an outline of talking points for when you call that person’s legislative office:

  • The adult dental program is a state-optional program and only accounts for about 20 percent ($51 million) of the entire dental appropriation in the FY-12 budget, which is projected to be $300 million. Since the federal government pays half of the Medicaid costs, the State of Illinois’ savings would only be $25.5 million.
  • If the adult dental program is eliminated, much or all of the savings in the dental appropriation would be offset due to increased State spending for those patients who present to hospital emergency rooms seeking pain relief.
  • In most cases, emergency rooms are only able to provide pain medication and antibiotics, which temporarily address the clinical concerns.
  • The Pew Center issued a report on February 28, 2012, that documented a 15.8 percent increase in emergency room visits from 2006-2009 in states that reduced or eliminated adult dental care programs.





access to care , dental benefits , dental news , legislation , medicaid , public health , state of illinois ,

Permanent link  Cook County Board allocates $1 million for dental care


CDS member Cheryl Watson-Lowry joined Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle today to announce a $1 million earmark in the 2012 Cook County Health and Hospital System budget for outpatient dental care.

“These public health initiatives will be critical to treating our underserved residents at a time when families throughout Cook County are facing difficult economic circumstances,” President Preckwinkle said. “Because we made tough choices in our budget, we can invest in public health to ensure … our children can have access to the dental services they need and deserve.”

Cook County press conference on accessPresident Preckwinkle also announced today an additional $1 million allocation for the Access to Care organization, which facilitates primary care for residents of suburban Cook Country at reduced rates. Private physicians care for qualified patients in their private offices. This brings the County’s total funding for the Access to Care organization to $3 million this year.

Ramanathan Raju, MD, CEO of the Cook Country Hospital System, called it “a great day for the health of Cook County residents.”

“In times of financial crisis, it takes courageous leadership and farsighted thinking to protect the health of our residents. As more people enroll (in public health systems), we need to think of innovative ways of partnering with the community and organizations to provide care,” Dr. Raju said.

Funding to restore dental care to the Cook County healthcare system has been a year-long battle for the Chicago Dental Society’s Government Affairs Committee. Members have met repeatedly with President Preckwinkle and various commissioners to explain that the federal government has designated large areas of Cook County as dental health professional shortage areas, and to educate commissioners about the importance of oral healthcare as part of whole body wellness.

Dr. Watson-Lowry, who chairs the Government Affairs Committee, was reinvigorated by today’s announcement.

“I am so excited that we are making progress, and that the underserved residents of Chicago and Cook County will receive the dental care that they deserve,” she said. “This will change lives. People who have not been able to find jobs because they are afraid to smile or to talk in public will be able to have their mouths restored so that they can eat and speak properly and seek employment.”

Also on hand for the announcement were commissioners John Daley (D-11th), also the Finance Committee chairman; Tim Schneider (R-15th); Peter Silvestri (R-9th); and Jeffrey Tobolski (D-16th).

“The world would be a better place if we smile at each other a little more. You can thank a dentist for that,” Mr. Silvestri said. 

“Sure enough,” President Preckwinkle replied. “I’m grateful for the bipartisan support for these additional funds for both Access to Care and the dental program.”

Pictured above (L-R): CDS executive director Randy Grove, Commissioner Jeffrey Tobolski (D-16th), CDS Government Affairs Committee chair Cheryl Watson-Lowry and Commissioner John Daley (D-11th).


access to care , dental care , dental news , legislation ,

Permanent link  Act now for Illinois HB 2239


Illinois dentists, ISDS is calling on you to contact Gov. Quinn about HB 2239, which repeals the 50% Illinois income tax increase for partnerships, LLCs, and LLPs. Visit the ISDS Capwiz page to send your message to the governor.


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