ADSO October 2015 Newsletter

ADSO Quarterly Newsletter October 2015

The DSO industry has come a long way and has a very bright future.  Our association has made great strides over the past few years, growing from a handful of organizations which came together to form the Dental Group Practice Association (“DGPA”) nearly a decade ago.  In 2014, the name was changed to the Association of Dental Support Organizations, and we now have more than 40 DSO members in 45-plus states and more than 115 industry partners.  And we’re still growing. 
I remember sitting in airport lobbies talking with my peers about how to ensure that anyone getting into this business did so with the understanding and knowledge of how to do so ethically and efficiently while giving dentists the greatest opportunity to focus on what they do best – treating patients.   As a practicing dentist, it was an opportunity for me to help young dentists avoid many of the mistakes I made coming out dental school.  Things they don’t teach – like paying business taxes every quarter!   The growth and success of our industry can be measured by the ever-increasing number of dentists who choose to utilize the valuable services offered by a DSO.  Unfortunately, it can also be measured by the carping from those who either don’t understand what a DSO does or, as is more often the case, don’t like competition.  The former is excusable but the latter is shameful because, although the anti-DSO rhetoric is often cloaked in the robes of patient safety, the reality is that it is based on narrow self-interest.    Time after time, we have seen a small group of the “old guard” make outrageous claims about DSO’s, never bothering to provide factual data.   The Federal Trade Commission, the National Association of Dental Plans, Americans for Tax Reform, and numerous others have consistently pointed out the lower costs and greater access to care for patients that is created when dentists hire a DSO for administrative support. 

All the rhetoric in the world won’t hide the fact that our industry is growing because dentists see the value in having the administrative support of a DSO.  The old guard can continue to make wild claims but our association is stronger than ever and well positioned to fight fire with facts.  We are fully prepared to defend and promote our industry and the value it provides to dentists.  In the end, it’s hard to argue against a model that gives dentists more time with their patients, reduces healthcare costs, and expands access to quality dental care. 

Rick Workman, DMD, is the Founder and CEO of Heartland Dental and President of ADSO.

We often use the term dynamic to describe our member companies at The Association of Dental Support Organizations.  It is an apt term for our activities in the past several months.  I’m delighted to share with you the first installment of a new quarterly newsletter.
With each issue we will share the latest activities of the ADSO and our member companies as well as provide a look ahead.  In this issue, we’re excited to spread the word about a website redesign to enable stronger communications capabilities, a review of the latest good work done by a member company in their community and an update on government affairs activities.Throughout 2015, my primary focus has been to educate stakeholders on what DSOs do and, importantly, do not do.  In the first nine months of the year, there have been nearly two dozen presentations to state dental boards, dental associations, the DOHI board of directors and our own ADSO membership committee.In addition, we have distributed approximately 2,000 copies of Transforming the Cottage Industry: The Rise of Dental Support Organizations

The whole team at the ADSO is excited about the progress we’ve made this year.  We have seen key developments with our government affairs work – from state capitols like Austin, Olympia and Indianapolis to the Federal Trade Commission.  Our capabilities are stronger than ever.  In addition to the aforementioned technological advances, your team at the ADSO has hit its stride after key hires in late 2014 and early 2015.

However, the hard work of, in the words of our vision statement, “building a future where dentists can choose how they practice” must continue.  We welcome the challenge and look forward to your input on our activities going forward.

Quinn Dufurrena, DDS, JD, is the Executive Director of ADSO

The Association of Dental Support Organizations (ADSO) has redesigned its online presence with a new website and reinvigorated social media. The website that is expected to launch soon will feature updated membership tools, and additional resources, including advocacy tools, which will be added in phases. We invite you to let us know what you think of the re-design and any features you would like to see in the future.
What do you get when you combine nearly 5,000 volunteers across hundreds of Aspen Dental practices, a 40-foot long bright blue dental office on wheels, a world-famous NASCAR driver, more than 6,000 patients who received free dental care, and a whole lot of love and giving? A very successful two years of the Healthy Mouth Movement, that’s what.

The Healthy Mouth Movement – one of the largest community-giving initiatives in the US – spanned more than 30 states in 2014 & 2015 – resulting in more than $3 million dollars in donated dentistry, and we’re not done giving back yet!

The Healthy Mouth Movement is a community giving initiative launched by Aspen Dental to deliver free dental care and oral health education to people in need across the United States. Through the Healthy Mouth Movement, dentists and team members devote their time to providing much-needed dental care to those who want a healthy mouth and need it most – free of charge. 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 and to raise awareness of oral health. Additionally, hundreds of Aspen Dental practices provide free days of service as part of the Movement. In its inaugural year, the Healthy Mouth Movement served close to 3,000 patients with the involvement of nearly 2,000 Aspen Dental volunteers. In total, doctors and team members delivered more than $1 million in free dental care.

Many of those patients were veterans, and after seeing the need that exists in this community firsthand, Aspen Dental dentists decided to build on this momentum and focus efforts in 2015 on providing care and service to those who have served our country.

This year, Aspen Dental worked closely with local veterans’ organizations to reach those in need in their community throughout the Healthy Mouth Movement. Additionally, Aspen Dental is proud to partner with Got Your 6, a collaborative campaign that works to empower veterans and strengthen communities nationwide by uniting veterans’ organizations and engaging civilians to bridge the civilian-military divide. Got Your 6 – meaning “I got your back”– focuses on six key pillars of veteran reintegration, including leadership, health and education.

Got Your 6 unites nonprofit, entertainment industry, and government partners in collective action to change the cultural narrative around veterans in America, engage veterans and civilians together to foster understanding, and empower veterans to lead here at home. Got Your 6 believes that veterans have the unique potential to strengthen communities across the country and works with partners to ensure veterans can continue service in their communities as leaders and civic assets. Aspen Dental shares this belief, and through the MouthMobile tour and service of Aspen Dental team members, veterans will receive much needed dental care at 30 stops in 24 states in 2015.

And Aspen Dental is not done yet! The MouthMobile continues to roll on throughout the fall to these cities to give back to veterans.

September 29: Birmingham, AL
October 5: Springfield, IL
October 7: Indianapolis, IN
October 9: Lansing, MI
October 13: Madison, WI
October 15: Minneapolis, MN
October 20: Des Moines, IA
October 27: Longview, WA
October 29: Portland, OR

The Importance of Getting DSO-supported Dentists on Dental Boards

The ADSO Government Affairs Committee was formed this summer.  The committee, chaired by John Pantazis, Heartland’s Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary with representatives from 6 other ADSO member companies, meets monthly and is charged with providing the ADSO with strategic guidance on state and federal legislative and regulatory issues.  Among the committee’s top priorities is promoting DSO-supported dentists for appointments to state dental boards. 

Board appointments are a top priority for the ADSO government affairs team because many of the state issues the DSO industry faces grow out of dental board actions.  We strongly believe that having one or more DSO-supported dentists or strong public sector members on the board involved in discussions and rule-making will go a long way in mitigating state legislative and regulatory issues we have faced in recent years. 

While we are happy to promote candidates in any state, we recognize that we are much more likely to have success in one of the 13 states where we have a contract lobbyist on the ground to assist in shepherding the candidate(s) through the process. So make a committed effort when openings are coming up to reach out for potential candidates.  We include in our Government Affairs Weekly Round-up, which is distributed every Friday, the list of states with lobbyists where we need our members help to promote candidates (if you are not on the distribution list for the Round-up and would like to be, please contact Wendy Chew).  The lobbyists are able meet with the governors’ appointment staff and follow up throughout the decision-making process.  They can also assist the dentist in getting letters of support from state legislators or other recognized leaders in the state to support their nominations.

With few exceptions, Board appointments are made by the governor of the state.  Dental boards generally consist of dentists, hygienists, public sector (non-dental related) members and sometimes academics.  All states have rules around the appointments and can include: how long the term of service lasts; requirements on how long the candidate has been a resident of the state; how long the dentist/hygienist have practiced in the state; what area of the state the appointee needs to be from; as well as many other possible requirements.  Since the appointments are made by the governor of the state, often political preference will also apply to the candidate’s selection process.  

In the past year, the ADSO has helped get DSO-supported dentists on the dental boards in Colorado, Iowa and Florida and are actively working on appointments in every other state where we have lobbyists. In addition to supported dentists, the ADSO has also promoted public sector members for state dental board appointment.

If you haven’t already done so, please participate in the ADSO database project.  Your dentists’ information is confidential and will not be shared in any way, but having the information in the database allows us to identify potential candidates in states where there are openings on the dental board. Participation in the database also helps us when we have legislative issues in a state.  We are able to reach out through a contact at your company to activate supported dentists on issues of concern to our industry.

The ADSO Annual Summit

April 21, 2016 – April 22, 2016
Bellagio Hotel, Las Vegas

Andrea Watkins
Wendy Chew


Eliminating the “Profitability Gap” in Multi-Practice Ownership
The first, most critical upgrade a group practice or DSO can make, in order to create the economies of scale necessary to increase profitability through expansion, is a centralized software platform.  By centralizing its practice management software and, subsequently, all of its data, a DSO can then easily and efficiently centralize its operations (revenue cycle management, scheduling, recall, data administration, security and user management, etc.), create standardization from office to office, and ensure consistency in performance while reducing overhead as it grows.



Dental care is an afterthought, and that’s a big problem
My mission is to get you to care about your teeth. Here’s why: Since its official implementation, we’ve been arguing about whether the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is working. In general, I agree with USC’s Dr. Cary Presant and his recent ACA report card, which is worth reading.



Dental Service Organizations Solve Medicaid’s Dental Woes
Half a decade after the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was enacted, lawmakers are still struggling to budget for the unforeseen consequences. While dental coverage for children must be provided under the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), the level of coverage for adults varies by state.  However, one other thing is guaranteed – dental insurance coverage does not guarantee access to dental treatment.



Making Medicaid Work: Dentists For The Poor
This week I feature the Anniston, Alabama-based Sarrell Dental Centers, where they’ve figured out a way to bring dental care for the first time to thousands of poor children.



The ADSO is thriving!  Please join us in welcoming our newest members to the association:

Blackford Dental Management

Bright Side Dental

DECA Dental Group

Dental 365


Partners In Care

Riccobene Associates


Our New Industry Partners:

Denline Uniforms, Inc.



Oasis Outsourcing

Spear Education

Stratus Dental Management, LLC

The Omnia Group

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