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I’ve been saving up for this opportunity a long time. I own Delta Dental.

I posted this on DrBicuspid forum in response to an article. Darrell
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http://www.drbicuspid.com/forum/tm.aspx?m=646&mpage=1&key=&...

I will hurt you, Delta Dental

Introduction

Just a quick note while I’m working on something more aggressive: As anyone can see from reading Rabia Mughal’s DrBicuspid article, “Dentists or patients: Who should get the insurance check?” Delta Dental is simply a sleazy company that dentists should shun to protect their patients’ welfare.
http://www.drbicuspid.com/index.aspx?sec=sup&sub=pmt&pag=di...

It is unethical to sign a contract with Delta Dental, and I will help Delta show you why. Here is a sample of Delta sleaze I intend to present:

On September 17, 2008, Arlene Furlong posted an article about Delta Dental on ADA News Online titled “Delta caps rates nationally for two networks.”
http://www.ada.org/prof/resources/pubs/adanews/adanewsarticle.asp?a...

Furlong writes: “A contract provision that holds dentists to Delta’s maximum allowed fee for non-covered services will affect all of Delta’s Premier and Preferred Provider Organization participating dentists throughout the country by January 2011″ (my emphasis on “non-covered services”).

This means that if a Delta preferred provider wishes to make up for the profit lost from providing Delta customers 25% discounts on dentistry, which works out to over half the dentist’s pay after expenses are deducted, doing more cosmetic dentistry will no longer help keep the doors open. Delta, like a sleazy dentistry broker, is telling its providers that it will demand discounts on everything for its customers. Think about it. It is beyond unfair business practice. It is tyranny.

And now, Mughal tells us that Delta Dental intends to break up dental homes - where patients enjoy the benefits of continuity of care from dentists they prefer. Why does Delta harm their clients like that? Ari Adler, the communications administrator at Delta Dental of Indiana says it is a matter of dentists stealing something from the network: “Direct reimbursement to out-of-network dentists is a problem because it allows them to enjoy the benefits provided by the network without following cost guidelines and quality control measures of the network, [Adler] added.”

Quality control? You mean like UnitedHealthcare’s Ingenix?

When one thinks about it, since dentists will only be paid half of what they are paid today, no matter what they do for dental patients, quality control could indeed become a new issue, just like the appearance of black-market dentistry.

I will be covering quality control by dental consultants soon. Did you know that they have their own national organization? It is called the American Association of Dental Consultants (AADC). I bet you didn’t know this: Less than a year ago, Dr. Gordon Christiansen as well as Dr. John Luther, Senior Vice-President of the ADA, spoke at their annual convention in Scottsdale, Arizona. (“Road Trip III”). Delta Dental was Dr. John Luther’s employer before he came to work for the ADA. Hmm.

Wait, there’s more: the AADC’s largest sustaining sponsor is UnitedHealthcare Dental. http://aadc.org/site/sponsors.php
Have you heard of UnitedHealthcare’s company called Ingenix? New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo caught Ingenix being creative with physicians’ FOIA-disclosable data for cost-control purposes (profit), and calling it quality control. Ingenix was marketing its professional number-cooking scheme to insurers across the nation before Cuomo saw through their deceit and recently demanded Ingenix to be dissolved.

One can see that incest probably worked well for royalty in Europe until literacy and the free-market brought transparency to their self-perpetuating feudal machinations.

I will be watching for a name and email address of an appropriate Delta Dental official to contact about Delta’s sleazy business practices. At some point in this thread (which I can keep active for years), I intend to make someone from Delta Internet-famous among dentists, just like Trajan King, CEO of Intelligent Dental Marketing. Suggestions from readers are always appreciated. Please, no in-laws.

It is time to come out and defend yourself in front of a hostile audience, you good ol’ boys from Delta Dental... or not. Your old command-and-control tricks don’t stand a chance in a transparent marketplace, and I will show you that silence is lame defense as well. Someone on your team is trapped.

Please, let’s talk sooner than later. Don’t make me pull someone out into the open with me… because I will. Darrell K. Pruitt DDS

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Randy got me started

I posted this on Randy Duermyer’s Home Business Blog.
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http://homebusiness.about.com/b/2009/05/14/how-do-you-use-twitter.htm

I’m warning you, Randy Duermyer. Don’t get me started on telling about my hobby that involves poking defenseless PR hacks with sharp things…

OK. You’ve done it now. I warned you.

Do you ever suffer from a creative, but ornery streak that occasionally gets the better of your manners, Randy? Have you ever soulfully wished that you could painfully deflate obvious, in-your-face pomposity common with good ol’ boys using a sharpened, carbon-tipped stick (or computer keyboard)? Have you ever found yourself willing to cast aside all fears of very public embarrassment, just to drag someone’s unaccountable butt into the wide open spaces for the entertainment it offers? Do you ever dream about suddenly appearing in public in only your underwear? OK, I don’t know exactly where I was going with that last point, but I sometimes have such dreams, and I happen to find them exciting.

Let me share with you what I’ve done on Twitter just since my post on your blog this morning. You might find you also enjoy this on an earthly level. But to really absorb the humor in my tricks, one has to cast aside all contemporary notions of ethics in journalism. As you can see, I have. Why bother?

As a little background information, a PR specialist named Ari Adler, who works for Delta Dental in addition to teaching college level PR theory to PR majors, posted a statement on DrBicuspid Website a few months ago stating that Delta Dental guarantees its providers’ dentistry. Since I am a dentist, I am very interested in acquiring more information about this unprecedented benefit, yet Ari Adler, has not responded to me following numerous attempts for an answer.

Of course, one should understand that it is perhaps his Internet popularity which shields him from unwanted criticism. He has almost 1400 followers, while I have only 60. In addition, Ari Adler follows over 1100 Twitter sites. I only follow 11, and Adler’s is one of them. tee-he-he.

Here is what I welcomed Ari with this morning on Twitter: “You prefer not to defend Delta Dental policy on Twitter, Ari? Please meet me on the PennWell forum. Le's talk. Man to man.”

Does he even know that I posted that on my little bitty Twitter account? Who cares? It’s a fire-and-forget missive. I have faith that it will eventually poke a hole in the target it’s locked onto.

D. Kellus Pruitt
Randy Duermyer changed his mind about posting my comments on Randy’s Home Business Blog. I sent him this note. I doubt it will be posted, though. Darrell
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Since you de-posted my comments, Randy, I assume that after a period of time, you determined that they are more aggressive than you wanted on your blog. No hard feelings. And I am not at all interested in stalking you to seek retribution, even though you and I both know that I could easily outclass your SEO skills with mine. I doubt that you have ever had to use SEO for personal defense. As anyone can understand, my comments have been deleted by command-and-control types far too many times for me to get upset. After all, it is your blog and you have every legal right to control its content.

Just like you, lots of publishers, I’d say most, naturally don’t want to get too close to me. I understand their concern, even if defending their image is oh so transparently lame. As anyone can see, it is hardly my goal to make friends. And that quality alone makes me a special bastard, as you discovered.

If you happen to even be interested in knowing, my goal at this point in my adventure is to simply tear up things I don’t like using any means necessary - with no regard to decorum, old school ethics or hurt feelings. The nastier I get, the more fun I have. And I have to tell you, Randy, I am enjoying an unprecedented level of fun with journalistic freedom that I’m sure would thrill you too if your career was not marketing of all things - forcing you to be ever conscious about the image you project.

I’ve read enough of your stuff, good stuff by the way, to think that you know what I mean, friend, and that in your soul, you envy my freedom to say anything I want about how I feel about archaic notions of civility that are used to protect the status quo as if it were an automaker too big to fail. Imagine what the world would be like if everyone in the nation enjoyed not only freedom of speech, but the capability. As one who truly likes to write, using words like bomblets, I can only imagine that for you, it’s like never being able to go on a vacation.

The Internet is not my career. Dentistry is. And my patients have absolutely no idea about my nasty alter-ego. I think that is what makes poking holes in inflated egos so much fun for me. I’ve got nothing to lose, and nobody can hurt me, not even Glen Tullman, CEO of Allscripts.

Beware that as time goes by, more very angry consumers with the heartfelt desire to tear up stuff will discover that the Internet means empowerment. They could be less benevolent than I am. Do you think we should worry about the threat of anarchy or will things turn out OK without the government clamping down on Internet conversations like you might be inclined to do?

Happy Memorial Day.

D. Kellus Pruitt
Here is the comment from yesterday that caused Randy Duermyer to reconsider our brief relationship on his blog. I don’t blame him for distancing himself from me. If it was a critical part of my Internet job to get along with everyone, I’d simply be forced to do the same thing. The poor slob. Darrell
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http://homebusiness.about.com/b/2009/05/20/is-your-business-website...
SEO and SEM are clearly popular topics with your readers, Randy. That is understandable because many work from home on the Internet, and online reputations are serious business.

Search engine tools interest me as well, but on a wide-eyed and fascinated amateur level. A related topic that I find even more exciting is the struggle of businesses to protect one’s brand from angry and irate customers’ Internet comments. Christine from Dallas is a representative of LinkWorth - an Internet marketing firm with a really nice Website design. She and I met recently on Twitter. When I asked what her company could do to defend against bad PR, she says that LinkWorth offers what they call “reputation management,” and its purpose is to keep unflattering comments off of a business’ first page.

At the moment, I am waiting on Christine to email me some information about the fees LinkWorth charges to help their customers dodge consumer accountability. My question is, are their defenses good enough to protect LinkWorth from my skills in what I call unprofessional and unconventional PR warfare.

That’s right, I’m announcing on your blog a real-time ambush of a very busy PR consultant who works for LinkWorth - whose advertised marketing strengths are “Link Building, SEO, SEM and web content development.” And for those just joining, it appears that today, Christine unwittingly took the bait, and like an oblivious, happy-go-lucky fish, she has not yet discovered the hook, as far as I can tell..

What alerted me to her lack of attention was that she obviously missed what posted on Twitter (but did not send to her) - openly challenging her SEO skills in a tug-of-war for Allscripts CEO Glen Tullman’s reputation. My caustic comment to Tullman titled “Glen Tullman, CEO of Allscripts disappoints D. Kellus Pruitt DDS” keeps coming back to his first page in spite of the skills and determination of the best SEO team Allscripts can buy for Tullman. He flat cannot be protected from my superior reputation management skills. That is why I don’t think Christine and LinkWorth have a chance.

Who knows, it could even be this comment on Randy’s Home Business Blog that becomes LinkWorth’s number 1 hit soon. It all depends on how often sports fans click on the piece.

Naturally, Christine can be forgiven for not paying attention, so I’m not going to post her last name. After all, she has hundreds of followers, and she follows hundreds of others, so she has a lot to think about. On the other hand, I only follow 11, and am now down to 40 who still admit that they follow me. One can see that Christine is simply too busy to get to know whom she is talking to - much less realize she has already been had.

There is a very modern PR lesson to be learned from this amateur by those in your audience who carelessly tweet out of control using their business name. If such vulnerability is spotted by someone ornery, it can mean just one thing - It’s Showtime!

D. Kellus Pruitt
Twitter with a Volkstwist

Phil Baumann, RN BSN; @ www.PhilBaumann.com, posted an article about his free eBook, “140 Health Care Uses for Twitter.” The inspiration for his book began on January 16, when he posted an article by that name. The article triggered wide interest worthy of a book.
http://philbaumann.com/2009/01/18/free-ebook-140-health-care-uses-f...

Bauman covers almost everything - such as tissue recruitment for kidneys and other organs, diabetes management, emergency room triage management, food safety alerts and 136 other uses for Twitter that range from why-not? reasonable to superb. But he failed to offer much about how Twitter can be used to promote accountability, and he said nothing about how one can use Twitter to finally demand accountability from bureaucrats who have dodged it for decades.

On page 5, Bauman mentions that CEOs who are interested in improving their products need Twitter to learn what is being said about them. Oh, Mr. Baumann, consumers can only hope. If one has witnessed my work, one understands that for a CEO to tweet comfortably, it demands a sincere love of one’s work and extreme confidence in one’s purpose and ethics. It’s out there, but it is still very rare.

In all fairness, lesser quality CEO-types - and you know who you are - should be warned that if you feel shame, forget about Twitter and the blogosphere. You should hope dissatisfied patrons on Twitter never find you. You don’t want to make touching you too easy for us.

In the spirit of lynchings, I posted the following comment on Bauman’s blog.
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I looked through the 140 uses for Twitter, Phil Bauman, and I didn't see my favorite - Holding insurance CEOs like Mike McCallister of Humana accountable for denying a dental claim for a simple filling.

That may not sound like a big deal to anyone outside the profession, but trust me - to demand an x-ray for proof that a patient needed a filling is in-your-face absurd. There is simply not a good reason for a dental consultant to do so, even if he or she is working on commission. Did someone think I was going to get away with tens of dollars of unearned income? Before Twitter came along, Humana could do things like this for no other reason than to delay payment.

I finally gotcha, Mike McCallister! I hope other CEOs learn to respect use number 141 for Twitter.

At last, accountability. If you don't believe me, ask Mike McCallister. Humana still has its Twitter site open. One can contact him there. I did.

D. Kellus Pruitt DDS "Proots"
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The twist

For those who missed me in the last few days, as well as those who haven’t, I haven’t been far away. I’ve been playing grandiose national games on Twitter - exploring boundaries - and perhaps crossing them on occasion. I’m not going to take the time to describe my Twitter adventures here, other than to let sports fans know that I have contacted Ms. Kim Volk, President and CEO of Delta Dental Plans Association using Twitter, and have duly informed her that I am taking charge of contract negotiations with DDPA for any of the nation’s dentists that are interested in what I can win for them, for free.

Now then, how’s that for a teaser? Whatever the title is, for SEO reasons, it will start with “Kim E. Volk.”

D. Kellus Pruitt DDS
I wouldn't want to get on your bad side, Dr. Pruitt. It is unfortunate that practices such as Delta Dental exist that give dentists a bad reputation.

Richmond Hill dentist
“I wouldn’t want to get on your bad side, Dr. Pruitt.”

Let me describe what it’s like to be the preeminent Internet bully in dentistry. It’s fun at first. Then it devours you. Currently, I’m stepping back (a little). In the last couple of weeks, I’ve turned to re-establishing acquaintances through Facebook. I find childhood friendships rewarding. Nobody fears me in Panhandle, Texas.

The last time I visited this thread was June 14th when I promised to write an article with “Kim E. Volk” in the title to optimize its search engine capacity to ruin her year. Three days later, I posted “Kim E. Volk and dentists to discuss Delta - sooner or later.”
http://community.pennwelldentalgroup.com/forum/topics/kim-e-volk-an...

It’s been her number one hit when on googles her name ever since. How much do you think I have harmed that woman’s career with a simple flip of a cheap, jagged phrase?

Because of my ability to insert harsh opinions onto almost anyone’s first page on Google with very little effort, when I made that statement in June about my ability to hold her accountable, I was completely confident that I could cause reputational and financial harm to Volk and DDPA, and I still say Volk deserves every bit of the pain I make her suffer. The bureaucrat still chooses to ignore me as if I were not standing right in her way. I will not tolerate such disrespect from anyone - especially a Delta Dental employee with bad manners.

“I wouldn’t want to get on your bad side, Dr. Pruitt.”

I know you mean well, Thornhill Dentist, but far from making me proud, it saddens me to read those words. It reminds me of what I’ve sacrificed. Now colleagues recognize my name not only on the Internet, but at meetings as well. It’s not hard to tell that some fear speaking to me, and I shouldn’t have to explain that people don’t like those they fear. Mine is a loss few in my profession can imagine because none have ever before experienced it.

Do I deserve scorn? I don’t think so. Are my claims against leaders inaccurate and causing undeserved harm? No and no. If was wrongly hurting someone like Volk, don’t you think a friend who respects and cares for her would have come to her defense by now? It won’t bother me until later to suggest that even though Kim E. Volk, CEO of DDPA may be loved by her family, she isn’t respected by anyone as far as I can tell. Is that the best Delta can do?

D. Kellus Pruitt DDS
They keep pulling me back in

There are two pieces of news that popped up this morning which may interest readers. I'll write more about them later. At the moment, I am busy on Facebook, describing artist David Hockney's theory of how Johannes Vermeer used optics to paint "Milkmaid" (c. 1680). Did you know that Vermeer's neighbor and executor of his will was Van Leeuwenhoek - the great lensmaker? Do you think in his effort to achieve near-photographic realism, Vermeer might have cheated?

News story number 1:

“HHS guts health-care breach notification law, groups warn,” was written by Jaikumar Vijayan and posted on CompurterWorld a few hours ago.
http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9138220/HHS_guts_health_care...

It looks like because of laws hidden in HITECH, in the event of a breach, dentists are no longer obligated to notify anyone as long as the dentist determines that it is unlikely that the fumbled PHI will be used for malevolent purposes. Informing patients of the threat to their welfare is now at the dentist’s discretion. I suppose that means we are off the hook and everything’s going to work out just swell.

New story number 2

A family of four who had been patients of mine for many years was forced to switch to BCBSTX dental plan, which up until two weeks ago, would not process my claims because I don’t have an NPI number. The wife told me she talked to a BCBSTX representative yesterday and was told that dentists who file paper records are no longer required to have NPI numbers. They are elated that they can return to my practice. I am elated to welcome them back.

I lost many patients because I held out against an unfair business policy. It hurt me. It’s nice that some are returning. It’s been a long, hard fight from which I will never fully recover.

D. Kellus Pruitt DDS

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