7. 24. 2017 VIEW ONLINE

 

An Open Letter to Washington Dental Service (Delta) Member Dentists from Delta Members on the WSDA Board

We want to make sure all Delta member dentists are aware of the information sent by Delta regarding the special meetings on Wednesday, September 6 at 2 p.m. at the Lynnwood Convention Center (3711 196th St S.W., Lynnwood, WA 98036).

These special meetings have been called with the signatures of nearly 650 Delta member dentists to demand fundamental changes in the business practices of Delta. Over the past several years, most of us have been subjected to Delta policies and actions that negatively impact patient care. Examples include: inconsistent claim processing, poor and misleading communications, rapidly escalating executive compensation and an unexplained increase in other administrative expenses.

Our fundamental concern with Delta is that the organization has lost its patient focus. One of the symptoms of this problem is the systematic elimination of dentist input into Delta’s decision making processes. By increasing dentist input and implementing the proposed transparency requirements on Delta’s operations, we will be able to put Delta’s focus back on the patient, where it belongs.

It is vitally important that you attend the special meetings on September 6—we are fighting for nothing less than the health of your patients and the future of your practice. We, as members of the Board of Directors of WSDA, have asked staff to organize a gathering prior to the special meetings that is open to all dentists in the state of Washington. We will use this gathering to discuss logistics surrounding the special meetings. Details about this gathering will be shared very soon.

As peer members of Delta, we recommend that you attend the special meetings in person in order to exercise your legal rights as a Delta member. We also recommend that you vote in SUPPORT of the bylaw amendments. If you absolutely cannot attend, please designate another member dentist who can attend the special meetings as your proxy. Delta members from across the state will be self-identifying themselves as individuals who can serve as a proxy at the special meetings in Lynnwood within the coming days. We strongly advise that you DO NOT MAIL YOUR PROXY BALLOT back to Delta directly at this time. We are gathering additional information about the proxy process and will share more information when it is available.

We need all Delta members to take immediate action. Please fill out this short survey to tell us 1) if you can attend the special meetings in Lynnwood, 2) if you will volunteer to collect proxy ballots in your area, and 3) if you cannot attend the meeting and need a local Delta member to serve as your proxy.

A letter from members of the Delta Board was included in the special meetings announcement and urged Delta members to vote down the bylaws amendments, which have been supported by hundreds of dentists across Washington state. Delta is continuing its campaign of fear and intimidation to demand acquiescence from its members. Delta has misrepresented the purpose of these amendments.

Now is not the time to be cowed by Delta’s fear tactics. Now is the time join with your colleagues and demand that Delta return its focus to patient-centered care, decrease its unnecessary administrative expenses, and adopt patient-centered reforms already used by medical insurance carriers in our state.

Check back for updates on this important initiative at www.wsda.org/delta.

Please join us in driving this important and necessary change at Delta Dental of Washington.

Sincerely,

Delta Members of the WSDA Board of Directors

Dr. Bernard J. Larson, President
Dr. Cynthia R. Pauley, President-elect
Dr. Nathan G. Russell, Secretary/Treasurer
Dr. Bryan C. Edgar, Immediate Past President
Dr. Theodore M. Baer
Dr. Marissa N. Bender
Dr. Dennis L. Bradshaw
Dr. Christopher Delecki
Dr. Linda J. Edgar
Dr. Todd R. Irwin
Dr. Christine L. Kirchner
Dr. Eric J. Kvinsland
Dr. James W. Reid
Dr. Ashley L. Ulmer

WSDA CALLS FOR DELTA DENTAL BYLAW AMENDMENTS AT SPECIAL MEETINGS  (2017)

 Washington Dentists: An important effort was launched at last week’s 2017 Pacific Northwest Dental Conference. WSDA members and other Washington dentists have called for special meetings to begin the process of making a series of bylaw amendments that could result in big changes for Delta Dental of Washington. 

Today, WSDA President Dr. Bernard J. Larson and Executive Director Bracken Killpack hand delivered petitions to Delta Dental of Washington with nearly 650 signatures collected in less than 24 hours. 

Upon receipt of these petitions, with signatures of at least 10 percent of its member dentists, Delta is required to schedule the requested special meetings and announce the date of those meetings within 30 days. We expect to more than meet that threshold, forcing special meetings to deal with the bylaws amendments. We will keep you updated on when those meetings are scheduled, and it is important that all concerned dentists who are members of Delta attend. 

Each of the proposed bylaws amendments reflects our efforts to enhance the doctor-patient relationship by shifting Delta’s focus back to patients and their providers. The changes are also designed to give Delta member dentists more visibility into its operations.  The proposed bylaws amendments would achieve the following improvements:

ENSURING DELTA’S DECISIONS ARE PATIENT CARE-FOCUSED

  • Require that 94% of Delta revenues be directed to paying for patient care, and require any administrative costs above 6% be refunded to those purchasing coverage.
  • Require that Delta, like other health insurance providers, work with the Office of the Insurance Commissioner and participate in an independent review board when there is a dispute between the company and a provider over care decisions.

Require that Delta Board of Directors formally vote on all recommendations from its Member Advisory Board regarding patient care procedures, claims processing and other issues, and make the results of those votes available to the Member Advisory Board and Delta members.

 

MAKING DELTA MORE RESPONSIVE TO PATIENTS AND ITS MEMBER PROVIDERS

  • Redefine independent director to align with the instructions set forth in Internal Revenue Service Form 990.
  • Eliminate the requirement that independent directors constitute the majority of the Governance and Nominating Committee.
  • Remove the provision that the President and CEO is automatically a member of the board without a vote of the Delta members.
  • Provide additional opportunities for Delta members to nominate individuals to serve as directors of the corporation.

Encourage contested elections for director positions and require written ballots, with the disclosure of results to Delta members.

 

GIVING DELTA MEMBERS MORE VISIBILITY INTO ITS OPERATIONS

  • Require that Delta disclose its administrative expenses by category, as well as detailed financial statements of all affiliated entities, including corporate contributions to its foundation and how these contributions are used, particularly regarding lobbying and commercial advertising.
  • Require that Delta disclose the percentage of claims denied and, of those, the percentage reviewed by a licensed dentist in making the denial decision.
  • Require that Delta make corporate records, including Board of Directors and all committee meetings minutes, available to Delta members for their review consistent with state law.

For more information on this important initiative, please visit wsda.org/delta.

PLEASE ALSO MARK YOUR CALENDARS FOR THIS YEAR'S ANNUAL DDW MEETING, MORE IMPORTANT THAN EVER:

NOVEMBER 10, 2017 AT A NEW LOCATION, THE LYNNWOOD CONVENTION CENTER.  THE SPECIAL MEETINGS REFERRED TO ABOVE WILL OCCUR PRIOR TO THIS ANNUAL MEETING.

____________________________________________________

CDWS recommendations for your proxy for the Delta Membership Meeting 11/9/16 at Sea-Tac

CDWS does not endorse the candidates eligible for re-appointment as they have been, again, handpicked by Delta with little or no member input. Member dentists can vote for the candidates, or abstain. There is no option to vote “no” for the candidates. We recommend “abstain”.  To abstain, you only have to cross out the candidate’s names on the ballot. If Delta does not get enough votes (majority of ballots turned in) for the candidates they have put up for reappointment, they must nominate new ones. Use the return envelope to mail your ballot.  

If you would like CDWS to vote on your behalf, you must cross out Phipps and Rutherford’s names on the ballot (they show up twice, so there will be 4 cross-outs), and write in Chris Pickel, DDS as the appointee to manage your ballot at the meeting. This should be mailed to the address below.  There is no option to vote “no”.  We (CDWS) will be voting for abstentions, as that is the only option we have. If they don’t get enough votes for the candidates they have put up for reappointment, they will have to nominate new ones. 

Chris Pickel, DDS

North Seattle Dental

11011 Meridian Avenue N. #301

Seattle, WA 98133

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Delta Dental of Washington State--Meeting 11-11-16

Concerned Dentists of Washington State cordially invite you, once again, to join them for a pre-meeting discussion, prior to the Annual Meeting on November 11. 

We are hosting a room with a buffet lunch, at no charge, starting at 12:30 pm.  This is also being subsidized and supported by the WSDA.  Speakers will include one of our board members from CDWS, WSDA President Elect, Cindy Pauley, and Michelle Caldier, our state representative in Olympia.  This is also a fundraiser for Michelle.

PARKING: Please bring your parking ticket inside.  Someone will stamp it with a code for the reduced fee of $6.00.

Registration for the Annual Meeting will begin down the hall, at 2 pm and the meeting will start at 3 pm.  Please watch for your ballots in the mail for the appointment of new DDW board members.  This meeting is the only time for you to ask questions and make your voices heard so please come and encourage your colleagues to do the same.   We want to have a high turnout to show how concerned we are with the state of dentistry where we live.

The hosted room for the lunch is the NW Ballroom and the DDW meeting will be close by, on the same floor, in the Grand Ballroom.

We look forward to your attendance and your voice !   We appreciate all donations to CDWS: please contribute on this website through paypal with a credit card.   Thank you !  

MEETING DATE AND ADDRESS

Friday November 11, 2016

DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Seattle Airport

18740 International Blvd
Seattle, WA
(206) 246-8600

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2-15-16   HERE IS SOME INTERESTING NEWS FOR EVERYONE

There has been evidence that the three largest distributors of dental supplies in the United States (Henry Schein Inc., Patterson Companies Inc., and Benco Dental Supply Company) may have unlawfully agreed to suppress competition by keeping new lower-priced distributors from entering the dental supply market since at least 2012. Because these three distributors collectively control 80% of the dental supply distribution market in the United States, this has caused private dental practices who directly purchase dental supplies from those distributors to pay artificially inflated prices for those supplies, thereby decreasing net income flowing to private dental practices. 

The Keller Rohrback firm has an antitrust and trade regulation group, which has played a prominent role in large price-fixing, price discrimination and monopolization cases litigated across the country.  For example, in In re Vitamins Antirust Litigation, Keller Rohrback played a significant role in litigating one of the largest and most successful antitrust cases in history, resulting in recoveries totaling over $1 billion for two classes of businesses who directly purchased bulk vitamins. 

Some or many of you may well have any interest in learning more about potentially pursuing over-payment claims through a class action on a contingency fee basis (attorney fees are only paid out of any recovery obtained). 

If so, then please contact either Mark Griffin or Amy Hanson, who are one of the two attorneys handling this matter – here is their contact info:

Mark Griffin:

mgriffin@KellerRohrback.com

(206) 623-1900

Amy Hanson:

ahanson@KellerRohrback.com

(206) 623-1900

Delta Dental of Washington State Meeting, 11-13-15

Concerned Dentists of Washington State cordially invite you to a social and fundraiser for State Representative, Dr. Michelle Caldier. She is our voice in Olympia for dentistry and the only dentist in the legislature. She will update you on the current issues affecting our industry and what we can expect for the future. Some topics to be discussed include our position against the illegal practice of corporate dentistry and mid-level providers. We also support the continued discussions with third party payers, particularly Delta Dental of WA.

This will be presented in advance of the annual membership meeting for Delta Dental of WA. This is your opportunity to get informed and get involved in the future of your profession. You are the expert on the oral health of our patients, not non-dentists or corporate entities. We will also have a guest speaker, Dr. Greg Yen talk to you about innovative strategies to minimize the influence of third party payers in your practice.

11:00  Buffet Lunch.

11:30  Dr. Greg Yen "How to successfully eliminate 3rd party influence from your practice".

12:30  Dr. Michelle Caldier, "Legislative issues of concern to Washington State dentists".

2:00    Register for Annual Membership Meeting for Delta Dental of WA (formerly WDS)

3:00    DDW Annual Meeting begins

Concerned Dentists of Washington State will be hosting this meeting at no charge. We will also be providing guidance for voting at the DDWA meeting in future correspondences. We look forward to your attendance and your voice!

We appreciate all donations: please contribute on this website through paypal, with a credit card.   Thank you !    

MEETING DATE AND ADDRESS

Friday November 13, 2015

Hilton Seattle Airport and Conference Center

17620 International Blvd.

Seattle, WA 98188

 

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Annual Delta Dental Meeting 11-21-13

On November 21, 2013, the Delta Dental of Washington annual meeting was held at the Seatac Hilton.  One board member running for re-election and one new board member were both elected to the WDS board.  Congratulations go to both Doug Beck and Kurt Labberton.  Both have worked hard for WDS for many years and we hope they can represent member dentists well during their terms as board members.

During the meeting there was a presentation on the upcoming ACA (Affordability Care Act).  Nothing new was presented beyond what you have all been reading about in numerous publications by now.  Also, there were questions from member dentists pertaining to new insurance plans and future Delta Dental plans for current PPO and Premier dentists.  Of particular interest in discussions was the new plan which T-Mobile signed with Delta Dental in which member dentists are no longer reimbursed anything at all unless they are part of the PPO network.

The meeting was poorly attended with only about 40 member dentists out of 4000 attending.  As concerned dentists, we cannot emphasize enough: if you want to be heard and affect decisions by Delta Dental, you need to attend these meetings in person and make your voice heard.  One meeting a year with plenty of advance notice should be feasible for many of you to attend.  Just talking about your frustrations will not accomplish anything.  We hope to encourage better attendance next year.  Please leave us your thoughts and questions on our Facebook page.  And we wish everyone a pleasant holiday season and a happy new year.

CDWS

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________

WDS Member Dentists, October, 2013

As many of you know, ballots and notice of the WDS meeting on November 21 were recently mailed out to our offices.  Here are our recommendations.   We certainly hope that you can attend the meeting and vote in person on November 21.   Come early to register (5-5:30 pm). If not attending the meeting, please mail your proxy ballot in the envelope that was enclosed.

Our recommendation is to vote “no” for Dr. Beck and vote “yes” for Dr. Labberton.  So if you are not attending the meeting and are mailing in your ballot, this means you would cross out G.Douglas Beck, DDS only.  We also recommend you cross out item number 2, “Other Proper Business”.  This means WDS cannot use your vote on any other business that may come forth after the election.

CDWS has tried to encourage an ongoing positive relationship with WDS leadership.  We would like to suggest to them for future elections: in order to encourage more knowledge of candidates, please ask the candidates to attend dental society meetings and give a short presentation on their background, why they want to work for WDS, and open it up for a short question and answer period.  This has never been done and every year, member dentists are asked to vote for someone they have never heard of before.  This is not difficult to change.  Finally, we certainly appreciate all the time and hard work both Dr. Beck and Dr. Labberton have put forth for both dentists and WDS.

CDWS

Concerned Dentists of Washington State Meet One On One With WDS Leadership  (Please read, "State of the Provider" below this report.)

Ever since the Special Membership Meeting that many of you attended in fall of 2011, the board members of CDWS have requested a one on one meeting with WDS leadership to discuss the member needs without the restrictions of a formal member meeting with an agenda controlled by WDS. We felt this would be our best opportunity to speak openly to convey the true status of their member dentist. We also felt we needed to gain a better understanding of the future direction of WDS and how it will affect the member dentist. WDS insisted on preconditions that we would not agree to, and the meeting was delayed until a mutually agreeable format and agenda was negotiated. This included no preconditions and no counsel present from either party. We agreed to good judgment and civility by all to promote a functional dialogue. In general, we all agreed to discuss how the relationship between WDS and its providers might be repaired and enhanced. WDS graciously hosted us in an evening meeting that took place at the end of May. Present were two independent directors of the WDS board, one of which is the current chair; two dental members of the board, one of which is the vice chair and one the former chair; two independent dentists, one of which is on the Member Advisory Panel; WDS’s dental director, and the three board members of CDWS. The other half of WDS’s board and the CEO were not present.

The agenda consisted of two main parts: Discussing CDWS’s member concerns since the last Membership Meeting and discussing the issues moving forward in the ever changing environment of economic challenges and the landscape of dental insurance.

The meeting tone was set to encourage collaboration. CDWS is seeking collaboration with WDS in the future concerning member dentists, which includes policy changes and member announcements. We discussed the announcement about subsidizing student board exam fees; discussed the reorganization of WDS with the OIC (Office of the Insurance Commissioner), discussed the future implications for providers and the ACA (Affordable Care Act), and requested more transparency to keep members better informed. WDS was asked to “begin treating member dentists as important stakeholders and showing more appreciation for their efforts.” CDWS noted that all of WDS’ promotion and advertising leaves out member dentists, including WDS’ Foundation efforts. CDWS noted that member confidence was at an all time low with WDS. We emphasized that we are “their boots on the ground” and our support of their future strategies would be vital to their success.

WDS discussed the reasons for the policy changes over the last 2 years. As a stand alone dental company, they are more vulnerable to competition that can discount dental plans by bundling them with medical plans. They are also concerned about the changing landscape of the ACA, but are currently offering their pediatric dental product through the exchange. Their filing with the OIC was to create a nonprofit holding company (which will be called WDS, but is a new entity), a nonprofit subsidiary that provides dental benefits (the existing WDS, which will be re-named Delta Dental of Washington), and the for-profit holdings will be held by the holding company rather than the dental benefits provider. Essentially, the for-profit holdings of WDS become sister companies to the insurance company rather than subsidiaries. We, the members, will have all of our same rights, but at the level of the holding company rather than directly at the insurance company operating subsidiary. 

This reorganization, along with the subsidies going to dental students for board exams, went without announcement, which created further distrust among member dentists. WDS committed to doing a better job of communicating their policy changes while supporting their member dentists. To this end, they will start recognizing our efforts in their foundation (Smilemobile, etc.), and in the community. They want to continue to expand its communications with member dentists and include us in those communications. There was discussion around the need to make even greater use of the MAP (Member Advisory Panel) with more frequency to vet and facilitate communication and better understand the concerns of all member dentists.  As part of these efforts, the MAP will reach out, as appropriate, to other member dentists as done in the past to get input and facilitate communication. We noted that what they do with the input is equally important. They also recognized our request to put on an educational program on the ACA for medical insurance purchase and the ongoing effects on dental benefits (as a member benefit).

We did not leave out our discussion on the fee reduction, our requests for balance billing, and the need for better treatment during claims processing. They acknowledged our concerns, but did not commit to any immediate action to mediate this. We also provided them with a “dashboard” of quick facts that summarized the current state of the member dentist. (This will be posted on our website). They acknowledged they would share this with the rest of the board.

In general, they appreciated our desire to provide input and be recognized as important stakeholders. We feel this is a small but important step in facilitating support from one another to navigate the challenges of the marketplace for the provider and WDS. We intend to use the MAP to its maximum capabilities, and follow up on how these recommendations are being received and implemented. The “proof will be in the pudding.”

We will need your help in providing input through this portal. First, we need you to provide your email address to those organizations (WSDA, WDS, CDWS, etc.) you wish to get current information from. You can choose which one based on your own needs. You should read your emails from these organizations, as there will be calls for action that will not be effective without participation. Last, we need your feedback about how you feel we can improve our relationship with Delta Dental of Washington. We will post an additional announcement on our website on how to submit this feedback. Remember, NO FEEDBACK, NO ACTION.

We thank WDS and its board for giving us an opportunity to communicate with them.  We also appreciate the opportunity and are honored to represent you in this challenging journey.

The Board Members of Concerned Dentists of Washington State

_______________________________________________________________________

 

The State of the Provider for Washington Dental Service

Provider reimbursement rates were frozen for 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013

15% fee reduction effective 6/2011

After fee reduction, average member dentist with 50% of practice WDS patients and 60% overhead experienced a 7.5% drop in collections, 18.75% loss in operating cash flow, and a 34% reduction in take home pay.

With a 70% overhead, the loss is 25% of operating cash flow and a 50% reduction in take home pay.

WDS executive compensation rose 32% from 2006-2010

CEO Jim Dywer’s salary rose 45% from 2006-2010

Average annual premium for a WDS plan rises 19.54% from 2005-2011

Median household income rises 4.01% from 2005-2011

US CPI rises 11.13 % from 2005-2011

Loss Ratio (claims paid divided by premiums earned) continues to fall from 88.29% to 85.93% from 2005-2011

___________________________________________________________________________

Everyone, please note the WDS website address is www.deltadentalwa.com.  On the website, there is a list of the MAP (Membership Advisory Panel).  These are the dentists to call or email if you have questions related to WDS, now called, "Delta Dental of Washington".   Simply go to the WDS website and click on "dentists".   Then sign in with your user name and password.   On the right side, click on "member advisory panel contact info" and you should then see a list of their names with their associated County dental society and email.

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WDS Annual Membership Meeting               11-15-2012

The annual meeting started at 6 pm.  WSDA generously hosted a hospitality room with light snacks and drinks a couple hours prior to the meeting.   Approximately 190-200 dentists attended.  The main order of business was election of 2 incumbent dental board members, Jack Neal and Jerry Phipps.

Both were re-elected by a very slim majority out of approximately 870 ballots cast from the WDS membership of approximately 3800 member dentists.   

For those of you who had to miss the meeting, many questions were put forth from the membership directly to WDS board members, including the Provider Compensation Committee who determines your re-imbursements.

During the meeting, as at the Special Meeting one year ago, we asked again for a chance to arrange a small meeting between the WDS board, CEO Jim Dwyer and the board for CDWS with a select small group of interested dentists to possibly join us.  Although we did not get the most encouraging response, we intend to pursue this and we are optimistic about somehow getting such a meeting arranged to continue discussion pertaining to some sharp divisions between member dentists and WDS.   Stay tuned, and thank you to everyone who attended the meeting. 

Concerned Dentists of Washington State

WDS PROXY AND ANNUAL MEETING 11-15-2012

IMPORTANT NOTICE FOR WDS MEMBER DENTISTS

Recently you received mailings from WDS and from two WDS dentist board members running for re-election to the board.  IF YOU ARE ATTENDING the Annual meeting on November 15, you do not need to respond in any way; keep the WDS proxy form for reference. 

IF YOU ARE NOT ABLE TO ATTEND the meeting, CDWS suggests following these recommendations:

 

First of all, you have until November 14 to mail and have the proxy received by the addressee if you are not going to this meeting.

If mailing in the proxy (not attending the meeting), this is how we suggest voting:

1. Cross off in the first sentence, "G. Douglas Beck, DDS, Board Treasurer, or, in his absence or inability to act or at his request, David W. Branch, DDS, Board Chair" and add the name, Kal Klass DDS.  That gives someone who represents you your vote at the meeting instead of a WDS board member.  Sign and date that same side.

If adding the name Kal Klass, please mail your proxy to:

WDS Proxy

KAL KLASS DDS

1001 Broadway #314

Seattle, Wa 98122

On the flip side of the proxy form:

2. Election of Member Directors: cross out both names, Jack E. Neal, DDS, MS and Gerald S. Phipps, DMD, MS for number 1.  Leave number 2 unchanged: "Other Proper Business".  This will take Dr. Neal and Dr. Phipps off the board if the majority of us vote that way and force WDS to pick 2 new board members.  Of course, everyone is free to vote as they wish.  And if you prefer to vote for either candidate, please do so.   WDS can still turn around and fill these vacancies with the same dentists or with dentists of their choosing without our input.  However, this would illustrate the absurdity of “member” directors and the lack of member choice.  We hope they take this into consideration.

Our feeling is that the current nominees have not been an independent voice that represents its member dentists.  With new, alternative nominees, we may have an opportunity for future collaboration.  We would like board members who go out into the dental community and help establish a two way street of communication, which so far has been minimal, at best.

The most important thing to do, of course, is to try and attend the Annual Meeting on November 15, 2012.  

Respectfully, CDWS

 

 

NEW!! Mr. Dwyer is not fit to be CEO of WDS:

Make your voice heard. In no uncertain terms, let the board of WDS know that member dentists expect CEO James Dwyer to be relieved of his position. Click the link below to view the letter. Download this document. Sign it (and print your name legibly) then send it (email, fax, postal mail) back to CDWS. Our contact information is on the letter. Send it to every WDS member dentist you know and ask them to follow through as well.

 

Dwyer_should_resign.pdf

 

WDS promised to have a face to face meeting with us. After stalling for months, they finally said they would only sit face to face if we agreed to a complete gag order, refraining from any disparaging commentary about WDS. Of course we refused. Here is an open letter to WDS which outlines the topics we wanted to discuss in person.

An Open Letter to WDS (PDF)

 

Here is the "Plain English" breakdown of the new WDS bylaws:

Summary of WDS's New Bylaws (PDF)

 

CDWS Statement on the
Special Meeting with WDS:

CDWS Response to Special Meeting (PDF)

 

New! The Truth About Dental Insurance:
Straight Teeth Talk (PDF)
Print copies for your patients!

 

Proposed Bylaw Changes

Summary of Proposed Bylaw Changes (PDF)
Petition with Red-Lined Bylaw Changes (PDF)
CDWS Answer to WDS Few Facts (PDF)