As we’ve been talking about dentists and health reform, I’m struck by how many dental practices donate dental care to patients in need. As one dentist pointed out:
“Individually donating our services is commendable, but so inefficient, like putting a bandage on a systemic disease. The welfare health system is just a part of the overall health care system that needs an overhaul.”
Even if a generous dentist can’t save the entire world, he or she can have a valuable impact on the health of the community. Too often, dentists’ charity gets overlooked — by patients, the public, the media, even other dentists.
Here’s an example that seems innocent enough at first.
It starts with the good people at North Bridge Dental Care offering a free day of dentistry as part of their “Dentistry with a Heart” program. One hundred forty-four patients received $45,000 worth of free dental care from 12 dentists, with over 50 other volunteers on hand.
Like any practice that’s dental marketing savvy, they released the story to the local media and received some coverage.
And here’s where the story gets interesting. On a local website, a reader posted a comment apparently slamming the dentists for their act of charity.
Here’s the full comment:
The Dentists Should not need a PR Event to Provide Care
It is shameful to know that only under the guise of a charitable event that dentist have enough courage to provide care at no charge.
I thought people became Doctors because they had a calling to help people not to become wealthy.
All Doctors should set a percentage of their week to provide free or low cost care. It is a spit in the ocean to give away $45,000.00 of Dental Care divided by 11 Dentists.
Way to go $4000 bucks of dental care is not even inadequate and not worth the hyperbole given here.
Try harder Doctors and Dentists to remember why you do what you do.
B. Johnson, Dunwoody
Wow. I am floored. I guess it’s true what they say: no good deed goes unpunished.
Jones Bridge Dental Care seems to be a well-managed practice that really knows how to market. They’ve got a big dental sign, descriptive and easy to read, with a great toll-free number. It’s obviously a nice, modern office with lots of visibility and parking.
In addition, they know how to use banners and photo ops for marketing. They’ve got a banner dedicated to this program, and the whole team is wearing matching t-shirts and have big smiles on their faces.
So they put some real work into this. Getting this kind of comment is really a slap in the face.
Dentistry is a business like any other business. How many auto repair shops give away $45k of repairs? These dentists apparently all came from the same office, and their work cost the practice over $32,000 in lost profits – not exactly a “spit in the ocean” if you ask me.
Dentists don’t have an obligation to donate their time and services, but it’s a generous choice that many dental professionals choose to make. In the spirit of the New Year, I’d like to offer thanks to each and every one of them!