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WASHINGTON DENTAL SERVICE ANNOUNCES DECREASE IN REIMBURSEMENT FEES 
Washington Dental Service (WDS), Washington State’s largest dental insurance provider, has recently decided to cut reimbursement fees to dentists across the state. In an April 4 letter to dentists, WDS announced rate cuts as a response to fee pressure from their competitors.

In an effort to reduce employee benefit costs, employers are considering lower rates offered by WDS’ competitors. “Employers, including our largest self-insured customers, are taking notice and demanding lower premium rates from WDS,” the letter states. The letter continues, “If WDS does not reduce rates, employers are telling us they will obtain lower cost coverage elsewhere.” 

WASHINGTON DENTAL SERVICE DECISION WILL IMPACT PATIENTS 
Several Southwest Washington dentists have decided to drop WDS as an accepted insurance provider when the insurance-fee cuts go into effect. Most patients will likely remain with their current dental providers initially, despite the change in WDS policy.

Unfortunately, what most people don’t realize is that their out-of-pocket costs will rise significantly from what they are accustomed to under the old fee structure. This will put an undue economic burden on patients that are already suffering due to a struggling economy. On the other hand, dental health care providers that accept the fee reductions and continue to accept WDS insurance will see patients actually benefitting from a small reduction in out-of-pockets expenses.

SMILES DENTAL WILL REMAIN A PREFERRED PROVIDER FOR WDS 
At Smiles, our mission is simple: Ultimate Service. Superior Performance. Positive Impact. Our mission to provide Ultimate Service can only be achieved by doing everything we can to exceed expectations for every patient. If dental care is not affordable, we can’t fulfill our mission. We focus on providing the patients the best experience at the right price.

While many dentists are canceling their contracts with WDS, Smiles Dental is committed to keeping our patients with the dental provider they have come to trust and depend on for comfortable and affordable dental health care.

While we are disappointed with WDS’ decision, we feel it’s important for all businesses, including dentists to find ways to keep their costs down so that they can do the right thing for all patients by keeping prices affordable.

Smiles has chosen to seek out ways we can be more efficient internally, so that we can decrease our expenses, rather than put the entire financial burden on the patients. We have also increased our efforts to negotiate lower prices with suppliers and vendors. The improvement in efficiencies in our practices will come without sacrificing the Superior Performance our patients deserve and all of our staff provide.

These approaches have helped offset the vast majority of the decreased revenue that will come with the decrease in WDS fee reimbursements and will allow us to retain all of our staff of over 50 employees. We will also maintain our relationship with WDS so our patients will not have ANY increase in their out-of-pocket costs.

At Smiles, we feel it is our responsibility to deal with this issue from within and not burden our patients with skyrocketing out-of-pocket costs that would be incurred through the discontinuation of our relationship with WDS.

Smiles Dental strives to provide each and every one of its patients the ultimate in services by providing superior performance in dentistry so we can have a positive impact in our patient’s smiles and lives.

ULTIMATE SERVICE. SUPERIOR PERFORMANCE. POSITIVE IMPACT. 
That’s our mission. Despite changes made by WDS, we plan to do everything we can to achieve our goal and change people’s lives through their Smiles.