April 29, 2009
Contact PDA: (717) 234-5941
Pennsylvania Dental Association Installs New President
Dr. Andrew Kwasny of Erie will continue PDA's efforts to make sure patients have access to quality oral health care
The Pennsylvania Dental Association (PDA) installed Dr. Andrew J. Kwasny of Erie as its new president for 2009-2010 during the association's 141st Annual Session in Hershey. Dr. Kwasny said his top priority as president will be to continue PDA's commitment to improving patient access to oral health care services.
"It is our goal to maximize access to quality oral health care for as many Pennsylvanians as possible," Dr. Kwasny said. "We are working with state lawmakers on several key pieces of legislation to help people receive the dental treatment they need to maintain healthy and productive lives."
Dr. Kwasny said PDA supports a bill that would require health insurers to provide general anesthesia for special needs patients and children under five years old. Currently insurance providers are allowed to deny coverage for general anesthesia for dental services. Many young children and special-needs patients require anesthesia for dental procedures. Dr. Kwasny said denying insurance coverage for anesthesia could result in denying access for oral health services for young children and special-needs patients.
In addition, PDA is also supporting the following legislative efforts that would improve patient access:
- Expanding duties for dental assistants. PDA supports House Bill 602 and Senate Bill 385 that would broaden the duties of expanded function dental assistants (EFDAs). The expanded duties would include polishing teeth, applying fluoride treatments and taking impressions for athletic mouth guards. By allowing assistants to perform more duties, dentists would be free to deliver more advanced dental care to a greater number of patients.
- Increasing funding for student loans. Pennsylvania's student loan forgiveness program currently reimburses dentists practicing in underserved areas as much as $64,000 over four years. The total debt for dental students, however, can be $162,000 or higher. PDA supports Senate Bill 527, which would cover the entire cost of a student's loan or raise reimbursement from $64,000 to $75,000, whichever is less. Taking this step, says PDA, will attract even more dentists to underserved rural and urban areas.
- Improving prevention of cavities through water fluoridation. PDA supports legislation that would require public water systems to offer the optimal level of fluoride to prevent dental cavities. For the past 60 years, studies have shown that the proper amount of fluoride can reduce cavities by 20 to 40 percent. It is a low-cost way to prevent disease and reduce the need for dental procedures.
"I am honored to be chosen by my colleagues to lead the Pennsylvania Dental Association," Dr. Kwasny said. "I look forward to working with dentists from across Pennsylvania, other health organizations and lawmakers to improve access to vital services that will benefit the people we serve."
Dr. Kwasny was born and raised in Braddock Hills, Pa., near Pittsburgh, and graduated from Swissvale Area High School. He graduated from the University of Pittsburgh, where he earned an M.P.H. in Microbiology, a DMD in Dental Medicine and M.S.D. in Orthodontics. He currently practices as an orthodontist in Erie.
An active member of the Erie County Dental Association, Dr. Kwasny has held several other positions within the PDA, including Trustee for the Ninth District Dental Society, President of the Ninth District Dental Society and Chair of the Council on Government Relations. Dr. Kwasny currently represents Pennsylvania's dentists on the American Dental Association's Council on Government Affairs and is a member of the American Association of Orthodontists.
Dr. Kwasny has received several honors throughout his career in dentistry and orthodontics, including three Presidential Citations and the Oakley Restorative Dentistry Award. He also is a Fellow of the International College of Dentists, the American College of Dentists and the Pierre Fauchard Academy.
Dr. Kwasny resides in Fairview with his wife, Sharon.
About the Pennsylvania Dental
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.