TDMR recently had the opportunity to interview the current president of the Texas Dental Association, Dr. Rita M. Cammarata. Dr. Cammaratta, despite her extremely busy schedule, graciously consented to answer several questions that we posed to her via email.
Her bio is impressive. We have excerpted portions from her practice website.
Dr. Rita Cammarata is a native Texan, born and raised in Port Arthur, Texas. She is a graduate of Lamar University, and she practiced adult and pediatric dental hygiene for 12 years before returning to dental school in 1992. Dr. Cammarata received her dental degree and completed her specialty training in Pediatric Dentistry from the University of Texas School of Dentistry in Houston.
Dr. Cammarata has received numerous awards for her professional accomplishments. She is a Diplomate of the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry, a Fellow in the College of Diplomates, and she has successfully maintained her board certification. She has been selected to the International College of Dentists and the American College of Dentists, both of which have a selective membership limited to 2-3% of dentists worldwide.
She has been active in organized dentistry for many years and has held numerous positions on the local, state, and national level. She has served as the President of the Greater Houston Dental Society, a Director on the Texas Dental Association Board of Directors, and is currently serving as President of the Texas Dental Association (TDA). This is a position that historically has been previously held by only one other female dentist.
We asked Dr. Cammarata about the broad strokes of TDA involvement and focus during the current legislative session that affects Medicaid dentists and how dentists can contact the TDA on specific issues.
We hope you find the answers helpful and please send us any comments.
- What are the main issues that the TDA is addressing at the present and in this current legislative session?
Currently at the Texas Dental Association (TDA) our legislative priority for the 85th Legislative Session is the Sunset Review of the Texas State Board of Dental Examiners (TSBDE). This legislative effort has the potential to significantly impact dentistry.
Specific to Medicaid and other public health dental programs, the TDA is strongly advocating for adequate funding and simplified administrative processes. Every legislative session the TDA prioritizes funding and administrative matters related to Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) on behalf of TDA members.
- There is a committee on Medicaid in the TDA, what are they focussing on?
Our committee that handles Medicaid issues is the Committee on Access to Dental Care, Medicaid & CHIP (CAMC), which monitors dental issues in Medicaid, CHIP, Head Start centers, and other institutional settings.
The Committee works to strengthen dentist participation in publicly-funded oral healthcare programs. As a part of that process, CAMC advocates for administrative policies that ensure access to quality dental care for patients while streamlining the delivery of dental care for dentist providers. The committee serves as a clearinghouse for public health information and resources. CAMC also works with other TDA councils and committees in developing and recommending legislative and regulatory policies improving access to dental care.
- How can Medicaid dentists get their concerns addressed by the TDA? What do they have to do and who do they have to contact?
TDA represents a majority of all Medicaid/CHIP enrolled dentists and more than 30% of TDA’s members actively participate in Medicaid/CHIP dental programs. Our Association devotes a significant amount of time and resources as the leading state dental advocate to help make sure that enrolled children receive high-quality, cost-effective dental care from a large, geographically diverse group of dentists that includes the full range of dental specialists.
To help keep participating dentists informed about Medicaid and CHIP issues, the monthly TDA Today publication includes a section devoted entirely to Medicaid and dental public health. Additionally, the TDA meets regularly with Texas Health and Human Services, the Office of Inspector General (OIG), and the dental managed care organizations to discuss concerns of participating dentists and develop solutions to those concerns.
Further, the TDA meets frequently with the OIG and key legislators to improve the OIG’s investigation and enforcement processes and address issues of significant frustration to dentists such as solicitation violations.
Dentists having specific concerns with the Texas Dental Program may contact Diane Rhodes, TDA Senior Policy Manager, at 512-443-3675 or firstname.lastname@example.org.