"This transition will result in no change to our contracts or relationships with Delta Dental group customers, subscribers, dentists, brokers or the national Delta Dental Plans Association," said Fosten A. Boyle, board chair of DeCare. "It also will have no effect on company staff, who will continue to serve the needs of our key constituencies. This essentially allows Mike Walsh to continue utilizing our extensive dental benefits management experience at the national level through the new management company. It also permits Delta Dental to continue to fulfill its statutory purpose of providing timely and widespread availability of economical dental services."
Dr. Riggs has served as a member of Delta Dental's board of directors since 1999. Prior to her new position at Delta Dental, Dr. Riggs was vice president, Stakeholder Consulting in the Division of Marketing and External Relations of Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Iowa. Her responsibilities included leveraging Wellmark's data assets for the strategic, operational, and financial benefit of Wellmark and its customers. She also served as executive director of the Wellmark Foundation. An Iowa native, Dr. Riggs received her dental degree (DDS) from the University of Iowa College of Dentistry. She went on to earn her doctorate of medical sciences (DMSc) in oral epidemiology from Harvard University. She maintains faculty appointments at her alma maters.
"Michael Walsh's leadership over the last 18 years has been remarkable," said Vance Opperman, chairman and CEO of Key Investments, Inc., and a member of the boards of DeCare International and DeCare Dental, LLC. "He took a small, local company and introduced an innovative business model that maximized the organization's dental benefit management expertise at the national level, which has brought great stability and strength to our non-profit company, Delta Dental Plan of Minnesota. This transition formalizes our strategy and places Mike in a position to focus his leadership and management expertise to continue this task."
During Walsh's 18-year tenure, consolidated revenues of the parent company have grown to almost $1 billion in 2005, up from $55 million in 1987. The total number of lives covered has increased to 3.9 million from 600,000 in 1987. During the same time period, Walsh cut the organization's operating costs to 7.2 percent (2004) from 16 percent in 1987.
As a result of its prudent fiscal management, Delta Dental has over the past several years consistently earned a "AA-" (Very Strong) financial rating from Standard & Poor's and an "A" (Excellent) financial rating from A.M. Best -- among the highest financial ratings of any dental plan in the country.
Delta Dental Plan of Minnesota was founded in 1969 and is an independently operated, nonprofit dental services company that is a subsidiary of DeCare International. It serves more than 8,500 employer groups with more than 3.3 million members in Minnesota and across the nation. Delta Dental Plan of Minnesota is headquartered in Eagan. For more information, visit our Web site at www.deltadentalmn.org.