Washington Dental Service’s CEO James Dwyer Apologizes for Calling Dentists Not Working Hard Enough

Washington Dental Service’s (WDS) CEO James Dwyer in an interview in which he said Washington State dentists’ do not work hard enough

I think James Dwyer will lose his cushy job over this Flap.

The CEO of the state’s largest dental insurer offered an apology to the more than 4,000 dentists in his dental plan’s network.

“I can certainly understand my comments have upset some member dentists,” said James Dwyer in a post on Washington Dental Service’s Facebook page.

The apology was posted the day after a KING 5 Investigators report about rising executive salaries at Washington Dental Service in the face of deep cutbacks that affect nearly every dentist in the state. Washington Dental Services cut the reimbursement fees it pays to dentists by 15 percent last year for all procedures.

Dwyer, who earns $1.2 million a year, suggested that dentists could make up revenue by working harder. “Number one, they could start working five days a week,” said the CEO.

The comment touched off an angry reaction from dentists on blogs, Facebook posts, and in emails to KING 5 News.

It’s a “slap to the face of a recent graduate working over five days/week (including five clinical days) and barely making ends meet,” said one Facebook post.

The Washington State Dental Association called the Dwyer’s comment “outrageous and disrespectful.” Click here to read their full statement.

Here is the video in which Dwyer made his comments:


Here is Dwyer’s apology in full on Facebook:

Message from Jim Dwyer, CEO: You may have seen the KING TV news report on May 10, 2012 about Washington Dental Service. I can certainly understand that my comments may have upset some member dentists. Please know that the clips of me were taken from a highly edited interview. Working more hours is one of many strategies dentists are employing to cope with a changing market place and the depressed economy. I respect and value our member dentists, and I know they are dedicated to providing quality care for their patients. I apologize for the context of the statement. Jim Dwyer

But, is his apology enough, particularly in light of his $1.2 million annual salary made on the backs of Washington dentists?

I would not be surprised if there is a resignation coming shortly for these grossly out of touch comments.

Here is the original video that started the Flap:


  • Darrell Pruitt

    WSDA president Dr. Rod Wentworth tells DrBicuspid that in
    areas like Olympia, where state employees with WDS coverage can make up about
    90% of a dentist’s patient base, practitioners cannot remain solvent.
    “Until the rate cuts, dentists were willing to take the hit — especially
    when they were longtime patients — and patients were willing to pay more to go
    out of network,. After the cuts, it’s really hurt those patients, because
    they’re being squeezed to break their relationship with their dentist to
    instead go to a member dentist. I think it’s hurt the doctor/patient


    Delta Dental has never respected doctor/patient