A few weeks ago I wrote about finding the why. After I posted how blogging helps find the Why, I starting thinking about finding the Why in other areas.Read More
“Why do I need to learn math? I’ll never use it!” is a question parents of middle and high school age children often hear. Here are my thoughts on why it matters in ways you might not have considered.Read More
While dental tools are clearly important to delivering top notch results, the professional culture of dentistry is often overlooked; but critically important to helping dental professionals care for their patients.Read More
I've listed below why the cottage industry model of dental care (AKA private practice) rocks - for both the patient and the doctor. Here's hoping dental professionals will always have the opportunity to work for themselves as private practicing dentists and dental specialists.Read More
One of the best things about practicing orthodontics is my ability to tell a child who is struggling with elastic wear that there is an option to take this problem off their hands. I love being able to help a child succeed when they are convinced that they are failing.Read More
Is this the moment where Invisalign - the world dominate super-power of invisible aligners and master of direct-to-patient marketing jumps the shark by reaching too far to expand their business? I say yes.Read More
Reading a wide variety of blogs is one of my favorite pasttimes. I have my experience with Medicaid fraud to thank for this; my eyes were opened to how things are not as they seem. Prior to my deep dive into the real workings of Medicaid, I was a dyed in the wool believer that Medicaid was an essential service for the poor. 10 plus years as a provider at both Children's Medical Center and UT Southwestern had broken my heart to the plight of the poor and their deep need for quality dental care. (believe me friends, this is still the case - but not the point of this post.). As a Medicaid orthodontic provider, I was proud to be a part of a national effort to help the poor. And I had plenty of company. Many, many healthcare providers are deeply committed to helping the poor by participating in Medicaid. I was fortunate to see the system work really well for kids that needed care. Challenging cases and great results. It was cool.
To make a long story short, after 3 years of working with the state of Texas and a number of various groups on what to "do" about Medicaid fraud, I've come to the conclusion that Medicaid is no longer a government program for the poor but actually a RESOURCE creation effort.
A national resource is usually something of marketable value, like timber, fertile land, water etc. In our capitalistic system, private industries tap natural resources and create value by turning the resource into a commodity which is sold for a profit. A passive natural resource is turned into a money producing, job creating, economic driver. It is my belief that the Medicaid program has been misrepresented to the US citizens. Instead the Medicaid recipient being a drag on the economic health of the nation, the Medicaid recipient has been turned into the untapped natural resource. Fiat money has made this switch possible.
Consider the potential Medicaid recipient as an untapped natural resource. Once this person is awarded Medicaid status, Medicaid providers (hospital systems, doctors, durable medical goods services, and others) can now, by delivering goods and services, tap the Medicaid recipient as a money producing, job creating economic driver. Medicaid money fuels economic activity and job production in poor communities.
Stopping Medicaid fraud will simply not happen because there is NO real incentive to limit Medicaid expenditures. Medicaid recipients participate in our economy as PASS THROUGH economic participants. Follow me because this part is a little confusing. Instead of generating economic activity by spending a paycheck in the local economy, Medicaid recipients generate economic activity by being the source from which government money is spent into the local economy. Any effort to limit the Medicaid services provided ends up limiting the economic activity and job creation in the local economy. Medicaid recipients are actually RESOURCES from which profit is derived. Unfortunately, just like forests risk clear-cutting and mineral rich land risks strip mining, Medicaid recipients are at signficant risk of abuse at the hands of profit seekers. I have seen this happen over and over, to my deep sadness. For all my effort, I have very little success - the profits to be gained are just too great for a handful of people to stop.
So back to blog reading. It took a lot of reading to sort all of this out. I would like to thank Yves Smith at NakedCapitalism and Charles Hugh Smith at OfTwoMinds, along with many, many others. I encourage you to always seek the truth in all things, but particularly when things just don't make sense.
I should talk more about the great benefits of self ligation for orthodontic patients. My patients wear Damon braces almost exclusively. You could describe Damon braces as the most technologically advanced bracket available to orthodontists. The big difference is a small door that turns the brace into a small tube instead of a series of "prongs". Damon braces allow the orthodontic forces to be reduced to a 2 part system from the 3 part system of traditional braces. Eliminating one part of the system makes for a tremendous increase in efficiency. Better efficiency is why I choose Damon braces for my patients.
I have found that I can accomplish some pretty impressive things with an efficient orthodontic system. I'd love to talk with you about how Damon braces can help you obtain a fantastic smile.
Today is the 1st of August. If you are like me, you are staring at that date and wondering what happened to June and July! So join me in starting the ready-for-school madness countdown. In a mere 3 weeks, the kids are back to their routine and the summer of 2018 is in the books.
If you or your children need to squeeze in an orthodontic consultation before school starts, give us a call! We still have a few appointments available and they are going quickly. The consultation appointment is complimentary.
There are big problems that can be solved and/or prevented by increasing the width of a narrow upper jaw in young children. Quite often, I see children who would benefit from maxillary expansion - children who were thumbsuckers, used pacifiers, have allergies, are primarily mouthbreathers, etc. When I see these problems, I recommend an early stage of treatment to improve the arch form and correct the narrow maxillary arch. What makes Ellis Orthodontics unique is how I correct the narrow maxillary arch. Unlike many offices that recommend rapid maxillary expansion (daily turning a palatal screw at home), I prefer to take things more slowly. Often expansion can be accomplished with braces and no additional appliances. Using this approach, improved dental alignment and appearance accompanies predicable,gentle maxillary expansion. In more challenging cases, I will use a self activated appliance called a quad helix to slowly and gently expand the upper arch.
Keeping orthodontic forces light and gentle can produce amazing dental changes. If you are considering maxillary expansion for your young child, please come talk to me about light force alternatives to rapid maxillary expansion.
Please help us welcome Angela to the Ellis Orthodontics family. Angela is a Lakewood neighbor who is joining Ellis Orthodontics at the front desk in the afternoons. We are excited to have Angela join our team and enable us to continue to provide our patients with top-notch personal service.
There are days I just love my job - before and after.
I've been thinking about a question I often used to hear from my children when they were young - "Who is going to take care of me?". As both my husband and I had full time jobs and relied on a variety of babysitters, nannies and after-school programs to help cover childcare responsibilities, this was a reasonable question. In hindsight, I am beginning to think that they were asking a more global question - will someone provide GOOD CARE for them - instead of inquiring about a fact - WHO will care for me. My children knew that someone would care for them; what they wanted to know is what kind of care could they count on. Like all children, they had their favorite sitters and looked forward to days when those sitters were the ones providing the care. The reason the favored sitters were special to my children was a direct result of the care that was given when they were together. The personal attributes of the childcare provider that mattered most were the ones that influenced their ability to care for my children; not the ones that were reflective of who the sitter was as an individual. Compassion and selflessness mattered a whole lot more than age, appearance, social status, background, car owned, etc.
As a healthcare provider, I am seeing this same concept play out daily in the media and on social networks as well as in my office. The deep anger and frustration citizens express over our national leader's inabililty to address US healthcare's escalating costs and declining quality of service are real. Leaders craft policy by tinkering with health insurance funding but fail to appreciate the collateral damage of continual change. By now, most have faced the choice of paying out of network for their existing doctor or trying someone new. Forced to make a change, people are deeply concerned that the quality of healthcare that they expect will not match up with the level of healthcare they actually receive. The fear of the unknown results in a mix of disappointment and anxiety. If the new healthcare provider fails to meet the patient's expectations, the healthcare provider risks reinforcing the patient's feelings of anxiety and apprehension.
It is deeply important to me that my patients experience care that exceeds their expectations and puts their anxiety and apprehension to rest. Just as my children's concern with their daily care experience was of high importance and front of mind, I realize that this is the primary concern of my patients as well. The result is my commitment to create consistent patient experiences that build their confidence in my ability to care for their teeth, as well as for them.
Ellis Orthodontics is pleased to welcome Kristen to our staff. Kristen has many years of experience in orthodontics and will lend a hand as both Dr. Ellis's chairside assistant and new patient coordinator. Dr. Ellis is thrilled to have such an experienced, friendly person join the Ellis Orthodontics team. Our mission is to provide exceptional orthodontic care to our patients. The hard work of our valued staff make that mission possible.
Ellis Orthodontics is growing - and we are expanding our hours to accommodate more patients! Since we are often asked to schedule an appointment on Friday, Dr. Ellis will open her schedule in January 2018 to include Friday appointments.
After 15 years of service at UT Southwestern, I will be ending my faculty appointment at the end of 2017, to dedicate more time to Ellis Orthodontics and to my family. This is an exciting and bittersweet event for me - my years on the faculty have been both challenging and rewarding. The oral surgery faculty is one of the best in the world and I am fortunate to have worked with so many great people. While I expect that there will be an orthodontist replacing me at UT, my patients are welcome to join me at my private office. I will accommodate patient transfers gladly.
For my patients at Ellis Orthodontics, I look forward to continuing the pursuit of orthodontic excellence in 2018 with a refreshed and renewed focus on my private practice. Thank you for your business and for the opportunity to be your orthodontist!
The Ellis family is looking forward to tomorrow's 4th of July celebration in Lakewood. We love our traditions - it all starts tonight when we talk about waking up early and doing the Lakewood fun run. Occasionally that happens, but more often we rack it out of bed, throw on clothes and race over to find a place to sit and watch the parade. For 12 years we have talked about having a float, and I'm sure the topic will come up again tomorrow. For the record, my daughter has been on a float once. So I have moved that off my bucket list. The thing we never miss are the fireworks - we always manage to get our act together by 9pm one way or another!
I hope you all have a great time doing whatever you do to celebrate our great country. Given all the political rancor that is nearly impossible to avoid, we need a day to lay aside our disagreements and recognize that all of us, regardless of political affiliation, are so blessed to live in freedom. May that always be the hallmark of the USA.
Happy 4th of July, friends!