{ association insights } by Mike Berry, DDS • President

An Action-Packed Year W

ell, here it is, my final column. Certainly, this year has been one I never imagined when I began my term last fall. Regardless of the wild ride, it truly has been an honor to serve as your MDA President.

This year has been unlike any seen in our lifetime. My term began in the normal fashion—with Board appointments, increased email volume, component communications, and overall, an awe for my new position. In December and January, I had the pleasure of attending both the Greater Kansas City and Greater St. Louis Dental Societies’ installations. What an honor that was!

Then, in February, a friend of mine and I were privileged to travel to Miami to witness the Kansas City Chiefs win the Superbowl for the first time in 50 years! I have been a lifelong Chiefs fan, and this was a definite bucket list item! We were all walking on cloud nine … and two short weeks later, a strange new virus arrived from China and turned everything upside down.

March 15, 2020 is a day none of us will forget! The ADA recommend- ed suspension of elective dental procedures to help control the virus and preserve precious PPE for the hospitals. Most of had to deal with unemployment issues perhaps for the first time in our career. We had to learn acronyms like CARES, PPP and EIDL with all their implica- tions. Personally, I had never had to lay off any employees. They are like family to me, and it was devastating to consider the unknown.

At the MDA, our life got turned upside down too. Our staff went home to work remotely when Governor Parsons issued the Stay at Home order. If you didn’t know that, you wouldn’t have, because there was never a difference in the level of service to our members. We all know that the MDA staff is wonderful, but I now have a new appreciation for how talented and dedicated they are.

After the shock subsided a little, we started acting on behalf of both our members and non-members. We started having weekly virtual Board meetings, sent numerous communications to the Governor advocating for dentistry, had weekly COVID webinars with the ADA to stay informed at that level, and increased eNews releases to keep the membership informed of all the rapidly coming and changing in- formation. Vicki and I served on the Recovery Task Force along with other stakeholders in the state to work in harmony with the ADA, CDC and OSHA to form guidelines for reopening. The landscape changed not only daily, but sometimes, hourly. We hope that the rec- ommendations provided, along with the ADA Toolkit for reopening, helped getting back to patient care go more smoothly.

On May 4 many of us reopened and slowly returned to patient care in this new environment, as Governor Parsons reopened the state under the Show Me Strong recovery plan. The Legislature went back to work too. Thanks to the tireless work of our legislative team, our complete agenda was passed in the eleventh hour—the third con- secutive year of doing so. We now have protection from third party recovery of previous overpayment to prior providers, along with provisions for temporary credentialing for providers perhaps covering for a colleague due to a sickness, etc. A big thank you goes out to our legislative team. Shantel will be sorely missed!

Many firsts have occurred this year. We had our first-ever virtual Board of Trustees meeting in May, most of the component officer installations were on ZOOM, as was the most recent Missouri Dental Board meeting. I traded windshield time for a computer screen. As I write this, the ADA is getting ready to launch its first virtual ADA House of Delegates and Connect (in place of in-person CE), and our MDA House of Delegates will follow suit in November.

I can’t believe that it already has been a year since I accepted the office of President of the MDA. It’s really been action packed. I would like to thank Dr. Chad Gehani and everyone at the ADA for providing such great leadership, our MDA staff for everything they have done for me and our membership, and our Board of Trustees for all of the extra work this past year. Welcome to your new MDA President, Dr. Rob Tait. I leave you in very capable hands. Thank you for the honor of serving as the 151st President of this Association. f

Contact Dr. Berry at 816-263-1133 or

8 focus | SEP/OCT 2020 | ISSUE 5

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