Dollars and Dentists

Use this link to watch the video.

Assignment instrustions:
This assignment requires you to not only reflect on the video, but also think critically and identify the moral and/or ethical dilemmas presented in the video. Providing superficial responses will not serve you well in the grading of this paper.

There are 5 key players identified in the video.  Each has a role in the troubled system the players include:

The patient

The health care provider

The ADA professional organization

The insurance industry (Medicaid, Medicare, & private insurance, to a lesser degree)

Corporate business models – equity backed firms

Think in terms of the 5 perspectives: 

1. What responsibility do patients have? Should they assume responsibility for maintaining their oral health? Should they commit to a payment plan if they cant afford it? Should they keep appointments? Should they read and understand payment agreements before signing them? What ethical principles are in play here?

2. What about dental providers? Should they expect to be paid or give their services away for free? Should they accept Medicaid insurance and be paid 20 cents on the dollar? How do they maintain their business if they do this? What about doing unnecessary work or providing more expensive options when less expensive options exist? What are the ethics in play here?

3. The American Dental Association- is there a conflict of interest by this professional organization representing both dentists and dental therapists? Whose best interest do they have in mind, professionally and patient wise? What ethics relate to these questions?

4. The insurance providers – (Medicaid, Medicare, & private insurance, to a lesser degree), paying a fraction of what the services actually cost. Is this ethical to the providers who provide these services? Is it ethical for taxpayers to fund these services? Is there a way to fix this? Describe the ethical dilemmas.

5. Equity backed organizations – Kool Smiles, Aspen Dental, Sarell, and others are in business to make money. Theyre also providing a service thats desperately needed. What are they doing wrong, if anything? What practices might cause their ethics to be called into question? Do you believe the way they run their business is any different than 

how private practice dentists run theirs? Should they be concerned about offering patients high interest credit cards, or is the arrangement they have with the credit card company just good business practice? What are the ethical implications?

Hopefully by now, youve gained enough feedback to better understand what I look for in these assignments. If you need a refresher on what to keep in mind I encourage you to revisit pages 194-204 of the textbook.

When I say USE DATA I’m asking you to use primary data.  In a previous assignment (Pro-Con website) you were given citations to the primary sources to help present each side of the issue. Some of you used those sources and some cited the pro-con website. For this assignment any citations you use MUST be from the original source and correctly cited. Additionally, you are most likely going to have to do your own research to find facts to support your position.  DO NOT QUOTE “FRONTLINE or DOLLARS AND DENTISTS” unless this is the primary source for specific pieces of information.

Although each of the above have several ethical dilemmas to choose from, identify two ethical issues for each of the players in the video. (No more than 2 paragraphs per issue please).

How have the issues related to our dental care system been expressed by each of the people representing their position in the video?  If there is a blame to be placed on someone or something, what is it?

Describe the behavior of the players on each side of the issue and identify any ethical dilemmas related to their situation.

What seems to be motivating this behavior?

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