April 29, 2013
Contact PDA: (717) 234-5941
Pennsylvania Dental Association Appoints New President
Dr. Donald Hoffman serves on the Faculty of Pitt Dental School
The Pennsylvania Dental Association (PDA) installed Dr. Donald Hoffman, a faculty member at the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Dental Medicine, as its new president at its 145th Annual Session.
Hoffman said the PDA will continue to push to improve access to quality dental services for all Pennsylvanians. Hoffman noted that PDA is urging state lawmakers to reinstate funding for the Donated Dental Services Program, which connected the state’s most vulnerable citizens with dentists who voluntarily treated their oral health needs. This funding that was significantly cut in 2009 provided for two program coordinators who are needed to facilitate the program statewide.
“We understand the difficulties facing lawmakers as they try to provide vital public services and balance the state budget,” Hoffman said. “However, we feel that the oral health benefits delivered to patients in need by Donated Dental Services far outweigh the costs of operating this program.”
The Donated Dental Services program since 1996 provided more than $10 million in donated dental services to treat vulnerable patients who were ineligible for public assistance. PDA supports Senate Bill 290, introduced by Sen. Edwin Erickson (R-Chester, Delaware) that would restore the $150,000 needed to fund the program.
Since 1972, Hoffman has served as a faculty member at the Pitt Dental School, currently serving as a special assistant to the dean. As a former professor, Hoffman understands the hardships facing young dentists, many of whom start their careers owing more than $200,000 in student debt.
PDA has supported efforts to increase the amount of student loan forgiveness under the Health Practitioner Student Loan Forgiveness program. Currently, the state program offers $64,000 in student loan reimbursements over four years for new dentists who agree to work in underserved areas. Hoffman said increasing the reimbursements would attract new dentists to Pennsylvania and improve access to dental services in areas in need.
Hoffman noted also that PDA is supporting a measure that would allow patients to choose their dentist, regardless of whether the dentist participates in an insurer’s plan. Sen. Kim Ward (R-Westmoreland) introduced SB 520 that would require insurance companies to assign benefits to the treating dentist, even if he or she is not a participating provider with the patient’s insurance plan. The legislation would not change the amount insurers would pay for dental services; rather it would require only that they send the payment to the dentist providing the care.
A longtime member of PDA, Hoffman served as the
organization’s treasurer from 2007 to 2012 and as Tenth District
trustee from 2003 to 2007. He has been a delegate or an alternate
delegate from his district to the PDA’s Annual Session since
About the Pennsylvania Dental Association
Founded in 1868, the Pennsylvania Dental Association (PDA) is comprised of approximately 6,000 member dentists. It is a constituency of the American Dental Association (ADA), the largest and oldest national dental society in the world. PDA’s mission is to improve the public health, promote the art and science of dentistry and represent the interests of its member dentists and their patients. PDA is the voice of dentistry in Pennsylvania. Learn more about PDA.