ADSO March 2016 Newsletter

ADSO Quarterly Newsletter March 2016

Message from the President of ADSO

The annual ADSO Summit in Las Vegas is just three weeks away! We have an amazing schedule of speakers and events along with some exciting breakout sessions in addition to our opening keynote speaker, nationally recognized political commentator Charlie Cook. The Summit is the DSO industry’s premier event, providing several forums for exchanging experiences and ideas along with numerous networking opportunities. If you haven’t already done so, I urge you to register today.

ADSO is continuing to grow, becoming the preeminent DSO trade association. We are nearing 50 DSO members and have more than 140 industry partners. An association is only as strong as its members, so I encourage you to engage with the ADSO as much as you can. The Summit is a great place to start but there are other opportunities to engage and contribute: whether it is serving on an ADSO standing committee, attending Board meetings, participating on state-specific strategy calls or hosting a tour of your facilities for state representatives. To the extent we are successful in preventing anti-DSO proposals, it is directly attributable to the ADSO member engagement and that of their supported dentists and hygienists.

In the last few years we have really undertaken an aggressive strategy of educating law-makers about the benefits DSO’s provide to supported dentists who, in turn, are able to expand quality oral healthcare at an affordable cost. Although we are not a new industry, we are an evolving and expanding one, and because of this we have come under intense scrutiny by several state dental associations who have actively pursued negative public attacks on the DSO industry. While I realize that limits on time and personnel can make engaging a challenge, I’m confident you will quickly discover a myriad of benefits to your core business from active participation.

Finally, I’d like to take the opportunity to thank Quinn Dufurrena for his outstanding service to the ADSO. If you haven’t heard, Quinn has decided to pursue a unique opportunity with a start-up company. Quinn has done an excellent job telling the DSO story to legislators, dental boards, and the media in addition to being our liaison with several dental organizations including the ADA. He has agreed to work as a contract spokesperson for the ADSO, but we will miss his day-to-day presence. On behalf of ADSO and its member companies, we wish him the very best.

I look forward to seeing you at the Summit!

Steve Thorne is the Founder, President and CEO of Pacific Dental Services and President of ADSO

Message from Lauren Rowley, Chief Operating Officer

As the Dental Support Organization’s industry continues to expand into ever increasing markets, so too does the ADSO. Already this year, we have six applications from DSO companies applying for membership along with 27 Industry Partner applications. All are on track to be approved at our April Board meeting at the Bellagio Hotel, Las Vegas, that is being held in conjunction with our Annual Summit. To help create value for the growing membership, the Membership Committee led by Rich Beckman, CEO of Great Expressions Dental Centers, will be putting forward a new networking program for DSOs and well as new Industry Partner programs.

The team at ADSO is also growing and changing. In February, we welcomed Stacy Swanson, Office Coordinator, to assist with administrative functions and our increasing work load in the Arlington office. However, we will also be saying good-bye to Quinn Dufurrena, who has decided to leave ADSO’s employment after two years as Executive Director, in order to pursue a great opportunity at a start-up dental-focused company. We are excited that Quinn will continue to work with the ADSO in his new supporting role as a contract spokesperson.

With our “must-attend” Annual Summit rapidly approaching (April 21 – 22) at the Bellagio Hotel, Las Vegas, the ADSO team is gearing up to provide you with an incredible event experience. This meeting will allow you to learn from some of the giants in the industry, while providing you with terrific networking opportunities with other DSO leadership teams and our industry partner members. The event kicks off with political commentary from a preeminent political pundit Charlie Cook and a CEO panel consisting of 4 of ADSO’s largest members followed by a day of educational and informative break-out sessions. There will be a lot of time throughout the two-day event to meet new people and to share and learn from each other. If you haven’t yet registered yet, do so now by clicking here.

We started the year by sending you a member survey, because we wanted to hear directly from our members for feedback on your membership experiences. We also wanted to get ideas on how we can improve our service to you and to learn how to better meet your expectations. A little more than half of you responded and we heard your messages loud and clear – you like us, but we can do better. As Chief Operating Officer, I was pleased to see that over 90% of you reported that the ADSO team is responsive when you have questions or need information. We hope to continue providing you with a great member service and are able to build on our value to you this year and into the future.

Lastly, our government affairs efforts are off to a great start in 2016. In this short legislative year, we have already defeated anti-DSO bills in Washington and Wisconsin and are proactively pursuing model legislation in Arkansas. We have also already seen two DSO supported dentists appointed to dental boards in Georgia and Iowa and hope to have at least one more announced at the time this article goes to press. The Government Affairs Committee, chaired by John Pantazis, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary at Heartland Dental, meets monthly to provide strategic direction to the ADSO on advocacy and research.

Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me, or anyone on the ADSO staff, if you have any questions or concerns. We look forward to seeing you at the Summit in April!


April 20, 2016 – April 22, 2016
Bellagio Hotel, Las Vegas

The ADSO is excited for our upcoming Annual Summit in Las Vegas, April 20 – 22. We look forward to seeing our DSO member companies and Industry Partners, and providing an great venue for events, panels, and networking opportunities to enrich our members and their businesses.

To learn more about the Summit speakers, register to attend, and sign up for panels, please visit the ADSO website. Don’t miss our new multimedia page that has member company leadership sharing why the ADSO Summit is a must-attend event, plus pictures from last year’s Summit.

Registration is filling fast so make sure you register today!

For more information on the must attend event of the year contact Andrea Watkins or Wendy Chew.

A new Media Toolkit is now available for our members and industry partners. This is the next step toward stronger communications tools for the ADSO and our members. The ADSO will be highlighting DSO activities in local communities, expanding advocacy, and engaging with media. The Media Toolkit will serve as a guide to help your team identify newsworthy stories and provide helpful tips for op-ed writing. There are also examples of past pieces that can direct your team in writing or speaking about our organization and the industry.

In addition to the toolkit, we are providing an email address to members and industry partners who may be looking for communications support: [email protected]. If an ADSO member has a community charitable or educational event that they would like to highlight and need support in a press release, media advisory, statement or even national/regional press outreach they can send a request to the email address for support. Concurrently, there may be a need for an opinion piece or letter to the editor at times and requests for support with writing may be submitted as well.

The ADSO Summit 2016 will also feature both a communications panel (Friday, April 22 at 1:00 PM) and an informal breakfast with DCI Group (Friday, April 22 at 7:00 AM). This will be an excellent opportunity to learn public relations and communications tactics and best practices for industry professionals and meet the DCI Group team. We hope that members will take advantage of this opportunity to showcase our amazing work and amplify the benefits of DSO membership.


Dental Associates Participates in Give Kids a Smile Day
The children of Racine, Wisconsin received new smiles in February thanks to Dental Associates’ generous efforts. In honor of Children’s Dental Health Month, Dental Associates provided free dental exams to 10 children in need of care and referred by the Racine County Human Services Department. Regional clinic director, Donald Gundlach, was quoted in The Journal Times saying, “It’s really an opportunity to reach out to the community and be good neighbors. There’s a lot of kids out there who don’t get regular dental care.”

The clinic provided an estimated $7,000 – $12,000 in free care to 10 local children as part of their Give Kids a Smile Day. Dental Associates also sent representatives to more than 100 schools statewide to educate children on proper oral hygiene, eating and cleaning habits.

Henry Schein, Inc. Offers Assistance in Disaster Effort
Henry Schein, Inc. applies its core business expertise to assist in disaster preparedness and response efforts around the globe. Most recently, Henry Schein reached out to dentists, physicians and veterinarians who could be experiencing operational, logistical or financial issues as a result of the flooding in the South following devastating storms to encourage them to call the Henry Schein Disaster Relief Hotline for assistance. The hotline remains open throughout the year to provide assistance to practitioners adversely affected by disasters. The toll-free number for all Henry Schein customers, 800-999-9729, is operational from 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. ET.

This spirit of corporate citizenship is exemplified through Henry Schein Cares, their global corporate social responsibility program. Through public-private partnerships with its NGO strategic partners, supplier partners, and organizations such as the world Economic Forum and the Centers for Disease control and Prevention Foundation, Henry Schein is committed to playing an integral role in efforts to improve the world’s planning and response to disasters.

Pictured: Dr. Matthew Gray of Great Expressions Dental Centers shares oral health tips with students at Detroit Public Schools’ Fleming Early Learning Neighborhood Center

Great Expressions Donates Dental Supplies for Children
Great Expressions Dental Centers observed Children’s Dental Hygiene Month by educating children on the importance of proper dental care. Great Expressions donated 100 backpacks full of school and dental supplies for the children to Sheltering Arms: Early Education and Family Centers. Ryan Torresan, Great Expressions Vice President of Marketing and Public Relations, was quoted in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution as saying, “We wanted to give back by donating dental care and other items and/or providing free dental days to those with no insurance. We approached Sheltering Arms with the idea to support dental hygiene and education and they were excited for this partnership. It’s a great way to raise awareness and at same time help out families and students with schools supplies and oral care products.”

Great Expressions additionally partners with local schools to collect dental hygiene items for families living in domestic violence shelters, makes 100,000 meals annually with Feeding Children Everywhere, and helps schools teach kids about the importance of oral healthcare.

Aspen Dental’s MouthMobile Visits Patients at Fort Hood
Aspen Dental has teamed up with Got Your 6, a nonprofit coalition that works to support veterans, to provide veterans with free dental care in what they’re calling the Healthy Mouth Movement. The Aspen Dental MouthMobile, a fully-equipped dental office on wheels, goes directly into communities where care isn’t readily available to provide free services in partnership with local non-profit organizations. Most recently, the MouthMobile served patients in Fort Hood, Texas and Frankfort, Kentucky. Over the last three years, the “Mouth Mobile” has seen around 7,000 veterans, to provide veterans with free dental care in what they’re calling the Healthy Mouth patients. Those patients have been given almost $4 million worth of free dental care.

In addition, every year hundreds of Aspen Dental practices open their doors on a select Saturday to provide a free day of care. Danica Patrick, the most celebrated female race car driver of all time, also partners with the movement and is committed to working together to empower our veterans with the healthy smiles they deserve.

Dr. Don Gundlach (far left), Dr. Katherine Schrubbe (second from left), and CEO Anthony Vastardis (far right) with Dental Associates, meet with Wisconsin Senator Leah Vukmir (R-WI), Assistant Majority Leader and Chair of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee

ADSO currently retains local counsel in more than a dozen states – a significant increase over the five or six states we were engaged in just a few short years ago. The change is both a reflection of the heightened sensitivity, if not resistance, to the evolution of oral healthcare, and the commitment of ADSO members to educate policy makers about DSOs and engage on every front.

We began 2016 seeking pro-active legislation in Iowa, Maryland and Washington, while fighting anti-DSO bills in both Maryland and Washington. As most state legislatures wind down early in this election year, we continue to battle in Maryland and will face additional challenges going into the summer and the 2017 legislative season.

To a large extent, the growth and success of DSOs in providing dentists with non-clinical administrative support can be measured by the increased attacks by those who oppose us. Although DSOs have been around for more than thirty years, the fact that more and more dentists are choosing to hire a DSO is causing greater concern among the “old guard.” This, in turn, has led some of our opponents to assert half-truths often under the guise of patient safety as they advocate for anti-consumer legislation and regulations. At a recent hearing in the Maryland Assembly, there was a great deal of testimony from members of the state dental association relating something they had heard about DSOs or were told by a third party. What, unfortunately, goes untold is the real impact on patients when dentists are inhibited, if not prevented, from freely contracting with DSOs, which allows them to focus solely on their patients. Something the Federal Trade Commission has noted in their comments on anti-DSO proposals in three states.

David Slezak (Affordable Care), Mitch Olan (Dental Care Alliance), Bill Head (ADSO), Governor Larry Hogan (MD), Dr. Barry Lyon (Dental Care Alliance)

Many, if not most, state dental practice acts were passed in the first half of the 20th century when dental care was rather rudimentary. While many states have amended or updated aspects of their dental laws, many have not kept pace with modern oral healthcare. Certainly not the way other healthcare laws have kept pace such as those regulating medical, pharmaceutical, or optometry care. In the oral health world, there is stiff resistance to the modernization of the non-clinical aspects of dentistry. This resistance often takes the form of proposed legislation which would give the state dental board the unprecedented authority to regulate non-dentists. Every state already requires that only a licensed dentist can practice dentistry but legislation is drafted to so broadly redefine dentistry that it would include anything remotely related to what a dentist does – from ordering supplies to scheduling appointments to leasing office space.

If a patient is harmed, how a dentist orders supplies or leases property is irrelevant because the dentist treating that patient is responsible. Every state dental board has the authority to issue, suspend and revoke a dentist’s license to practice. This, of course, begs the question of why is there such resistance to DSOs in some states? If they were honest, many would have to admit that the threat is to their practice, not patients. A not wholly unfair consideration but if patients are able to find quality oral health care from a DSO-supported dentist who accepts insurance, Medicaid patients, or charges a lower fee should those very same patients be expected to bear the financial brunt of maintaining a nearly 100-year-old business model?

The real issue we face in most states is not DSO-supported dentists vs. non DSO-supported dentists. It’s dentists vs. patients and who bears the cost of living in the past.


March 17, 2016|The Edwardsville Intelligencer

Over 500 Heartland Dental Supported Dentists Kick Off Doctor Mastery Program
Since the January 2015 rollout of the Doctor Mastery Program, over 500 dentists have enrolled in the program. Supported by Heartland Dental, LLC, the largest dental support organization in the country, this initiative is designed to help supported dentists truly achieve personal and professional expertise.


January 14, 2016| Group Dentistry Now

Putting Money In Dentists’ Pockets And Saving Them Hours Of Time
Dentists take pride in patients’ pearly smiles – and Apex Reimbursement Specialists prides itself on the smiles it brings to dentists. After all, why wouldn’t a dentist be thrilled when he or she receives an additional eight to 12 percent in insurance reimbursement for the same procedure? That’s the typical range of increases Apex secures for its dental clients. Apex has achieved increases as high as 50 percent.


March 30, 2016|Dr. Bicuspid

Hospitals Are a Terrible Idea
Just like nurse practitioners, midlevel providers (MLPs) will be a reality everywhere eventually. Again, this will be beneficial for the public. Trying to block MLPs individually or via organized dentistry is contrary to the public good and bad for the public image of the profession. […] This is healthcare and more access to care is better, because we have a duty to the patients. Who is going to employ these MLPs and expand the reach of affordable dentistry into less desirable markets and small towns that can’t support a dentist?


March 19, 2016|Forbes

Smears Against ‘Corporate Dentistry’ Are Not Based In Fact
For over three decades, dentists have been able to operate more efficiently, bring down costs, and expand access to care by employing a business model that has been used for a long time by a number of other medical professionals, such as oncologists, emergency room managers, optometrists and other doctors. Dentists have accomplished this by contracting with companies, referred to as Dental Support Organizations (DSOs).


February 22, 2016|Dr. Bicuspid

Pew Report: MLPs Top List of Topics to Watch
In a report released in late January, the Pew Charitable Trustslisted five issues in dental healthcare to watch in 2016. These issues included midlevel dental providers (MLPs), education standards for dental therapy, school sealant programs, working-age adults, and oral health and aging.


February 10, 2016|MacIver Institute

Protectionist Dentistry Legislation Makes its Way Through Capitol
As the spring legislative session wraps up, a flurry of bills are making their way through the committee process and onto the Senate and Assembly floors. Among a bevy of other legislation, the rumor mill has floated the idea that one particularly protectionist bill may be moving to the floor soon.


The ADSO has six new DSO companies that are being voted in for membership at the CEO Board Meeting at the Summit in Las Vegas. We look forward to welcoming them to the ADSO!


Please join us in welcoming our newest Industry Partners to the association:

ACTEON North America
Anutra Medical
Blue Sky Bio
Centrix, Inc.
Dentrix Enterprise
Group Practice Solutions
LED Dental
M. White Associates, PLLC
McDermott Will & Emery, LLP
Medicor Imaging


Please join us in welcoming our newest Industry Partners to the association:

Microbrush International
Newark Dental Corporation
NSK America
Press Ganey
PTS Diagnostics
R.K. Tongue Co., Inc.
Salvin Dental Specialties
The Joint Commission
Trillium Facility Solutions
Vitality Dental Arts Lab

1235 South Clark Street
Suite 1210
Arlington, VA 22202
Copyright 2016 ADSO