By Carol Morrow, D.D.S., CDA President
From the Summer 2017 Journal of the Colorado Dental Association
On June 10, I had the honor of being inducted as the 131st president of the Colorado Dental Association. I had been thinking about this day, in one way or another, for the last 37 years. This year was my 36th Colorado Dental Association Annual Session. I have only missed one in my life, and that was in dental school when I didn’t have enough gas money to drive to Telluride, Colo. And by some twist of fate, I was inducted in the very same room that my father, Dr. Robert Morrow, had been inducted 23 years prior. Such a surreal experience that I will never forget.
Let me tell you a little about me and what I expect the next year to look like. I graduated from Colorado State University in 2001, and the University of Colorado School of Dental Medicine in 2006. I returned home to practice in a tiny town called Walsh, Colo. I have a practice there, one across the border in Kansas, and I just opened my third location in Springfield, Colo. I also do mobile dentistry in schools and nursing homes.
My personal mission has always been to treat everyone the same. My practice is 40% Medicaid and I treat those patients the same as I do any other. My county—Baca County—has a higher than state average population of Medicaid patients. They are much older and less mobile than most county populations. This is one of the reasons I have begun using a virtual dental home model in nursing homes and schools. You will hear more on that from me throughout this year. I am a huge advocate for Medicaid and I hope that every one of you will sign up for it and treat as many patients as you feel comfortable treating. I know that Medicaid has been stressful, but it’s just the right thing to do. At the CDA, we can help make this easier. We are fighting every day to make Medicaid better for your practice and, ultimately for our patients. I can personally show you how to make it work in your practice. You will hear more from me about Medicaid and access to care throughout the year.
My next mission for this year is to address diversity. I don’t just mean ethnic minorities, or gender, but also public health, educators, and rural practitioners. The ADA puts on a minority leadership program every year and we are going to do our own version of that. We’ll have diverse members come together and create projects of their own to address diversity. If you are interested, look for more on that in our journal throughout the year.
My last, but definitely not least, mission for this next year is to create an insurance forum that will educate all of our members on what we are doing, and what we will do to address insurance. We all know that improvements can be made with insurance to benefit our practices and, most importantly, our patients. In the last couple years, we have had dialog with some of the insurance companies and I hope to put that into overdrive this year and find some common ground for real improvements. We have worked extremely hard developing political capital so we have pull at the Capitol. We ran the noncovered services bill this year, and won. Although a small victory, this is huge progress. We are making such a name at the Capitol for ourselves. Legislators respect our thoughts and opinions and they listen when we speak. But we still need all of you to be educated about dental issues and talk with your local legislators. They honestly want to hear from their constituents. We have to be diligent on the political front, so when we run legislation that will affect our practices, they will continue to listen to us. Become Action Team Leaders, come to the CDA Lobby Day at the state Capitol, and CHECK YOUR EMAILS! We have important stuff in those messages. We do so much throughout the year and nothing is more frustrating than having members call us, wondering why we haven’t done something…when we have.
My last hope for this year is that you all get involved. There are always councils, committees, and task forces where volunteers are needed. No matter how little time you have, I can find a task for you. We are all busy, but we all spend more time at our offices than we do watching soccer practices, going to church, and hitting the mountains. This is what affords us to do all of those things. Help us keep dentistry the best profession in the world. If I can find time, so can you!
I am so excited for this next year. I look forward to working with all of you. Please don’t hesitate to call, text, email, Facebook message, Snapchat, tweet, and add me on Instagram. Or just walk up to me and talk; I can still do that, too.