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House balances 2012 budget

National dues level to rise $7

Las Vegas—The 2011 ADA House of Delegates Oct. 14 approved a 2012 operating budget of $120,139,667 million in expenses and $120,512,074 million in anticipated revenue and called for a $7 increase in membership dues.

National dues as of Jan. 1, 2012, will be $512.

Dr. Edward Leone Jr., ADA treasurer, noted after the meeting that the House recognized that the same economic issues facing the nation also face the Association. “The House was considerate of the issues regarding the external forces from the economic perspective that are affecting their practices, their patients and our organization,” he said. “They did spend approximately $1.8 million above the budget in Board Report 2, but also accepted responsibility to fund those expenditures in the form of a dues increase.”

Dr. Wiliam R. Calnon, who was installed as ADA president earlier in the day, said he wanted members to know that the House debated the budget with fiscal responsibility in mind.

“When it came to a dues increase,” said the new president, “they realized that the ADA has some fiscal issues ahead, and they are taking responsibility for that. There was tremendous evidence in this House that the delegates understood that the Association is in good hands and that we have distinct plans for the future fiscal stability of the Association.”

Board Report 2, available to members in the 2011 House of Delegates section of, provides a detailed explanation of the financial outlook for the ADA in 2012.

Some of the House-approved items include:

  • continued support for the State Public Affairs Program, which provides grant funding on major advocacy issues facing state dental societies;
  • a proposal for a comprehensive study of ADA governance;
  • a study on the implications for dentistry of the Affordable Care Act;
  • a study of issues surrounding the economics of dental education and the impact on access to care.

A report from Dr. Kathleen O’Loughlin, ADA executive director, tracked economic trends that are affecting long-term financial planning. A combination of membership trends, declining nondues revenue and rising costs of services and goods are all factors, she said.

Dr. O’Loughlin noted that the ADA has also used its reserves to meet obligations; the target goal for reserves is 50 percent of operating budget. The reserve level is projected at about 32 percent for 2012 with the new budget.

The Board of Trustees has found savings by altering the structure of the ADA employee pension plan, and the Association has streamlined its operations to increase efficiency. The House action is one step in the process to meet the Association’s financial obligations, said Dr. Leone.

“The American Dental Association can proceed carefully regarding cash flow obligations; however, there are still challenges present in regard to improving our balance sheet. It will take several years to see the kinds of improvements in the balance sheet to get us back to benchmarks that we use,” said the treasurer.

More details on House actions will appear in upcoming issues of the print ADA News and online on