The ADA Board of Trustees is calling for “rapidly adjusted operations in the current year, while anticipating the need to continue making changes” as the pandemic’s impact continue to be felt. 

The American Dental Association (ADA) if facing unprecedented challenges says the ADA Board of Trustees said after voting on the ADA’s 2021 budget proposal. 

In its annual summary of the ADA’s anticipated revenue and expenses, the Board stated that 2021 “will be a period of great uncertainty and change,” and in response, has called for “rapidly adjusted operations in the current year, while anticipating the need to continue making changes” as the Association continues to feel the effects of the pandemic.

“Planning the new ADA budget gave us unprecedented challenges made worse by the impact of the COVID-19 health crisis and the resulting economic downturn,” said Chad P. Gehani, DDS, president of the ADA. “The Board of Trustees made some very difficult decisions during this process but I am confident that the Association will continue to maintain financial sustainability as we remain committed to the ADA’s mission to serve the profession and the public.”

According to ADA News, the Board is recommending a 2021 operating budget of $128.8 million in revenues and a 1.5% dues increase, which for full dues amounts to an $8 dues increase from 2020 to keep up with inflation and help offset a projected 4.4% deficit (about $5.9 million) before reserves. This would set a 2021 dues level of $573 plus implementation of dues streamlining adopted by the 2019 House of Delegates, which eliminates the discount for active life membership and shortens the discount period for recent dental school graduates. The projected rate reportedly does not reflect any potential costs for additional actions the ADA House of Delegates may take at the virtual meeting in October. 

Without the dues increase, the Board expects the deficit to be over $10 million.

In addition to the recommended dues increase, the draft budget includes recommendations for cuts to association travel, a proposal for a virtual 2021 Lobby Day, and a reduction in ADA staff.

ADA Treasurer Ted Sherwin, DDS, said he is optimistic about the ADA’s future and noted that the budget proposal strategically uses reserves to retain critical resources to continue to respond to the needs of member dentists during the crisis. In addition, the 2021 Budget continues looks to the future and supporting members through increased funding for Research and Science and innovative programs like digital transformation which enhance members digital interactions with the ADA.

ADA Bylaws tasks the ADA Treasurer with oversight of association finances and designing and developing the budget in concert with the Board of Trustees. The House of Delegates is in charge of approving the budget. The ADA House of Delegates will meet virtually October 15 to 19.