New Contracts for VA Dental Labs are a Joke

The Veteran’s administration dental programs are known for slack and under quality work. U.S. dental labs that process dentures, partial dentures, crowns and other products for the V.A. need sign a five-year contract for that work. The new contracts are a complete 96-page joke that few dental labs are likely to be willing to sign. The Federal Government seems to be against small business.

The trouble is that the contract criteria seems to have been written by an aloof, uncomprehending bureaucrat without a clue about the state of U.S. dental labs. There are just 3000 or so remaining because much of the work was offshored to China tha uses fast courier services like Fedex for quick turnaround. Most of the U.S. dental labs are small operations with one or four employees.

Obama era changes put 250 U.S. dental labs out of business. Now it appears that Trump era changes are set to put more out of work in an effort to force corporatist (Mussolini invention) consolidation on U.S. dental labs so a few large labs subordinate to global plutocracy can take over. Democrats are as guilty as Republicans in building up neo-socialist corporatism.

The new contract has a zilllion conditions that many or most U.S. dental labs couldn’t comply with if they wanted too. For instance…

Each lab must have two fully qualified and certified technicians.

Each lab must be open 7:30 to 4:30 every day

Each lab must be located within 30 miles of the V.A. in some states like that might not work because of distances that need be traveled without dental labs near a V.A.

Dental labs must provide couriers to the V.A. themselves to pick up models

Fedex and other pro courier services are not allowed

Lab contractor must have full digital construction capability (though the V.A. may not themselves)

Denture repairs must be completed within 4-6 hours the same day, picked up and delivered by the lab

Only federal holidays may be taken by the lab- no vacations

etc.

The stuff goes on for 96 pages.

It would be a good idea for the V.A. to use credit cards and pay for piecework at the same rate as ordinary dentists. It would be simpler and far more efficient to pay for what they need, The V.A. should deliver their own work to dental labs and pay for it when complete- that way dental labs actually would get paid for their work. Maybe V.A. work could be done by civil dental labs with a 10% discount off person-on-the-street price.

It seems to me that the federal government have moved over the years toward transferring costs to the civil sector with user fee increases while cutting taxes on the most rich (who now have a lower tax rate than the middle class).

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