The bill, which is heavily supported by the North Carolina Dental Society and their state dental examiners board, attempts to place tougher restrictions on dental management companies.
Opponents argue that dental management companies help dentists with expensive dental practice start-up costs and dental practice management operations which allow dentists to spend more quality time with their patients.
The bill attempts to toughen a state law that stipulates how dentists own and control their dental practices.
Last week, the Obama administration joined a list of big-name Republicans like Jeb Bush, Bill Frist, Haley Barbour, and Tommy Thompson, in opposition to the bill.
The bill already passed the North Carolina Senate and now rests with the House, where leaders have stalled in their decision about the bill and its potential repercussions to dentists.
No other state in the union has attempted to implement such restrictions on dental practice management, or sought such inclusive authority over how dentists manage their business.
Fueled by the recent reports of several dental management companies coming under scrutiny by authorities in five states to investigate allegations of excessive Medicaid billings, attention has now turned to North Carolina Bill 655.
Lisa Ward, director of government affairs for the North Carolina Dental Society told Bloomberg News, “They’re looking at North Carolina as their test case and they’ll do anything they can to win here.” Yet Ward herself has admitted hiring five lobbyists and spending about $400,000 in support of the bill.
The Federal Trade Commission is against the bill and backs the use of dental management companies. They expressed concern that the regulations in the North Carolina Bill could reduce the number of dentists practicing in under served communities throughout North Carolina.
A recent The Wealthy Dentist survey revealed a major reason dentists would not choose dentistry again is having to deal with the management aspect of their dental practice. Dentists want to practice dentistry.
Having a dental management company manage the administrative part of their practice allows dentists to do what they were trained to do: be a dentist.