Thursday, April 11, 2024

Dentists ask court to certify class action in lawsuit against Delta Dental


Here's an interesting bit of news from the industry.  For quite sometime this has been discontent from practicing dentists about reimbursement from Delta Dental.  Over roughly the last decade, Delta Dental has been working diligently to lower he amounts it pays to dentists for procedures performed on Delta covered patients.

Costs for dental offices have increased precipitously since the pandemic.  This is especially true when it comes to salaries.  Many dental hygienists and dental assistants left the profession during the pandemic and chose not to return afterwards, moving on to other jobs.  In order to find qualified employees dentists were forced to offer higher wages.  There is also the fact of simple business costs such as professional supplies.  As these costs have increased, Delta Dental continued to strive toward decreasing reimbursements to doctors.  Many doctors are diligently looking for ways to decrease their costs while continuing to provide the best patient care possible.  However, there is only so much cost cutting one can do.

In order to help doctors in this situation, the ADA filed a class action lawsuit alleging that Delta Dental violated antitrust laws by agreeing to reduce reimbursements to participating dentists through territorial restrictions, fixed pr ices for specific dental goods and services, and restricted competition from other competitors in the dental reimbursement industry.

The court’s ruling on whether to certify the case as a class action will be an important milestone in the litigation, according to the ADA’s legal division. Under the court’s current scheduling order, Delta’s response to the plaintiffs’ class certification motion is due on June 18, followed by additional discovery and further briefing to be completed by Dec. 19. At the conclusion of the briefing, the court will set a date for a hearing on the motion for class certification. Following the court’s ruling on the issue of class certification, the court will set a schedule for further pre-trial proceedings.

The story appears in the ADA News and can be found here.

If you would like to read the full class action filing, it can be found here.

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