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Kessler leads AAOMP

 

Dr. Harvey KesslerDr. Harvey Kessler was elected president of the American Academy of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology at the group's 2010 annual meeting in Tucson, Ariz., in May.  His term runs until May 2011.

Kessler, who is professor and director of pathology in diagnostic sciences at Texas A&M Health Science Center Baylor College of Dentistry, is excited about the coming year at AAOMP.  Several ongoing initiatives will require his attention. 

The most important issue, he says, is a recent change to Medicare regulations.  All dental health care providers who want to submit biopsy specimens for histopathologic diagnosis on Medicare beneficiaries will be required to register with Medicare's PECOS system (Provider Enrollment, Chain, and Ownership System.) 

Kessler says this will produce a tremendous burden on the dental community since Medicare does not typically pay for dental services.  The vast majority of dental providers do not have any incentive to register.  However, biopsy specimens are the big exception in this situation since both the surgical procedure to harvest the biopsy and the microscopic diagnosis are covered procedures.  Therefore, quality of care rendered to Medicare beneficiaries could be compromised since Medicare will stop paying claims in early 2011 unless the provider is registered.  The AAOMP is working in conjunction with the American Dental Association to streamline the process of registration for dental health care providers. 

Kessler says that another major initiative, also in partnership with the ADA, is a National Oral Cancer Screening Day. 

"Similar to the Give Kids a Smile program, National Oral Cancer Screening Day seeks to raise awareness of oral cancer while providing free screening examinations," says Kessler.  "Recent publications questioning the value of large scale screening programs have put a dent in our efforts, but we are continuing to pursue the possibilities with the ADA since we view it as a public education program and a screening effort.  Diseases uncovered and patients advised about treatment options in the screening portion would just be an additional benefit of the program."