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ADA + AHIP ÷ EBD = Tiff?

Provider and payer lobbies square off on evidence-based dentistry

The letters exchanged by the American Dental Association (ADA) and America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) in December 2007 and February 2008 were as dry and polite as finger sandwiches at a high tea. But some industry observers suggest they are merely civilized pretense for what could be a gathering battle over what path EBD takes.

The row, as it were, dates back to mid-2006, when AHIP assembled the Task Force on Evidence-Based Dental Coverage. It was charged with five goals; among them: “Suggest strategies that advance evidence-based decision-making.” It seemed a highly unusual move for the Washington, DC–based AHIP. Although it is one of the nation’s most powerful corporate lobbies, its member list consists almost entirely of health plans. Delta Dental is the sole dental-only plan member, according to Susan Pisano, vice president of communications at AHIP.