Dental Practice Management: North Carolina Senate Bill Wants Dentists To Do It Themselves

Senate ruling on dental practice managementLast week in our post, Dentists Beware: The Government May Want To Tell You How To Manage Your Practice, we reported on the story of the North Carolina Senate and Senate Bill 655, which would require the North Carolina Board of Dental Examiners to examine all business contracts entered into by dental practices in their state.

Dr. Clifton Cameron, a dentist in North Carolina reported to the Fay Observer that, “Senate Bill 655 would give the Dental Board complete control of how dentists in North Carolina run their practices so they can keep fees charged to patients artificially high and insurance acceptance artificially low.”

We wrote that we couldn’t find the reasoning behind such a move by the NC Senate and Board of Dental Examiners, but the Board did post the following to their website:

“The Board has become increasingly concerned about the expanding scope and nature of management company services and agreements, and their impact on the control of dental practices by the licensed dentists.

The bundled services offered by management companies typically involve some combination of (1) administrative management services; and (2) financial management services.

Based on its knowledge of the operations of dental practices, and after reviewing management arrangements with dental practices for almost ten (10) years, the Board has identified features of management arrangements which it has determined to be highly likely to create a situation where the ownership, management, supervision or control of a dental practice is impermissibly conveyed to an unlicensed person or organization because either separately or when bundled, those features interfere with the licensed dentists’ professional decision-making and their exercise of clinical skill, judgment and supervision in the dental practice.”

After we ran our original story, several doctors commented. A New Jersey dentist wrote:

“In New Jersey, the state board already forbids outside management. My partner and I spend about 20-30 per week running my business instead of on continuing education or, patient care.

The real argument isn’t whether or not I could be one of the practices recruited by management companies, but the unfair advantage it would bring to my practice over anothers’. Lower overhead, decreased fees, increased insurance acceptance, large marketing budgets would destroy competition and lower practice values and access to care.

Management companies specify laboratory selection, supply selection, employee selection, and continuing education budgets. While they bring lower overhead, they take money from the practice as well. If you fail to be attractive, your practice cannot contract with them.

Giving this advantage to a small percentage of dentists is unfair to the majority of dentists that do not wish to join or would not be accepted. I have 10 dentists within a 0.5 mile radius. We can’t all be Aspen Dental Centers. The other 9 practices would suffer, and that wouldn’t be fair.

This is about the only aspect of dental life in New Jersey that makes practicing here worthwhile. Defeat it. Resist, North Carolina!”

Another dentist responded with:

“Have they gone mad over there? Sounds like there’s something they are not telling us about…It sounds like the insurance companies are in bed with the politicians again….”

Indeed, it could be a game changer that would impact North Carolina dentists and how they manage their dental practices. The North Carolina Office of Research, Demonstrations and Rural Health Development reports that there is already a severe shortage of primary health care providers in North Carolina, particularly in the State’s rural areas.

But perhaps this isn’t about patient care at all — or making dental practices transparent.  Perhaps this is about lawmakers just playing politics.

New Dental Marketing Trend: Buying Dead Celebrity Teeth?

New Dental Marketing Trend: Buying Dead Celebrity Teeth -Image Edmonton JournalWhen it comes to dental marketing, can purchasing celebrity teeth bring dentists more dental patients?

It would seem that one dentist may think so.

Canadian dentist Michael Zuk has once again made headlines with his $10,000 purchase of a crown once belonging to Elvis Presley.

The first time this dentist made news was when he paid $31,000 for a rotten tooth that belonged to John Lennon.

According to the Vancouver Sun, the Elvis crown was fashioned by Memphis dentist Henry Weiss for the King, who had a talent for chipping his teeth by banging them against microphones.

The family of the late Dr. Henry Weiss called Dr. Zuk to alert him that they were seeking a buyer for the dental crown after reading how Zuk had previously purchased Lennon’s bicuspid, which the dentist hopes will be recognized by the Guinness World Records as the most money paid for a human tooth.

It would seem that collecting teeth is not the only celebrity obsession Dr. Zuk admits to. In the past, the dentist has also purchased a piece of one of Elvis Presley’s scarves, a lock of Marilyn Monroe’s hair, the signature of Woody Woodpecker cartoonist Walter Lantz, and autographed pictures of musician Gene Simmons and Gilligan’s Island star Bob Denver, reports the Sun.

Zuk displays the items at his dental practice, with the exception of John Lennon’s tooth, which he keeps locked up elsewhere for safety reasons. Dentist Zuk told the Sun, “I don’t trust leaving it around. People steal my newspaper. Anybody who would steal your newspaper would steal one of John Lennon’s teeth.”

It is possible that Dr. Zuk is one brilliant dental marketer.

He once hired the actor who played the Soup Nazi on Seinfeld to do a dental commercial for him, to growl, “No tooth for you!” at the end of his commercial piece.

For more on this story see: Alberta Dentist Proud Owner of the King’s ‘Crown’

Dentists: Are You No Longer a Wealthy Dentist?

Dentists: Are You No Longer a Wealthy Dentist?Dentists’ incomes are dropping according to a report published in the May issue of the Journal of the American Dental Association.

The ADA and data from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality’s Medical Expenditure Panel conducted a survey to analyze trends in real gross billings per dentist visit, rates of collection of gross dental patient billings, number of visits to a dentist, percentage of the population who visited a dentist, population to dentist ratio and average real practice expenses.

The survey results reflect a random sample of approximately 4000 to 7000 dentists in private practice.

The survey found that the downward income trend was driven primarily by a decrease in dental patients seeking dental care.

The decline in dental care use, although most notable during the economic downturn, appears to have started before the downturn began.

A smaller portion of the U.S. population is seeing a dental care annually, going from 40.6% in 2005 to 38.6% in 2009.

Marko Vujicic, PhD, an American Dental Association economist, told Medscape Medical News that another study confirmed that an increasing number of Americans say they can no longer afford the dental care they need. Many states cut Medicaid dental benefits at the same time that employers cut back on dental insurance benefits, which left more of the general population without dental insurance coverage.

Further ADA surveys have shown that the reason dental patients don’t go to the dentist more often is that it now costs too much (34%). More than half of consumers (51%) who have not been to the dentist in the past five years report that high costs are an important factor. About 26% of consumers had a previous bad experience with a dentist and one-quarter do not feel that it is necessary to go to the dentist until a problem occurs.

According to the ADA the average gross billings per owner dentist in 2009 was $727,630 for a general practitioner and $1,004,820 for a specialist.

Quality dental marketing seems to help buck the downward income trend by helping dentists acquire more new dental patients. Investing in the latest dental technology also helps add to the dental practice bottom line, according to dental accountant Bassim Michael.

What has your experience been this year? Has your dental practice income dropped?

For more on this story see: Dentists’ Incomes Dropping, Says ADA Survey

Do You Have The Best Dental Sign? See Who Thinks Theirs is Better!

the wealthy dentist dental signage contest

In this article, we are featuring a few of the top contenders in our contest for the best dental practice office sign, display window or office front.

Do you think you have the best dental sign?

Does your dental office front kick butt?

Well, what are you waiting for?

Take a picture and enter The Wealthy Dentist Dental Practice Office Sign, Display Window or Front Picture Contest!

Hurry! We are still accepting submissions through June 30th.

Here are the most notable entries to date:

1. Jayhawk Dental

Window –

Signage –

Jayhawk Dental Sign

2.  Biderman Dentistry

Signage –

Biderman dental sign contest

3.  Boger Dental

Window dressing and signage –

Boger Dental Sign

4.  Marina – Pacific Dental

Window dressing,  signage and front office –

Marina Pacific Heights Dental

So come on!

Enter your dental office sign or office front for a chance to win a Cisco Flip. Just submit a photo of your dental sign or office front by emailing chughes(at)drs1.com before midnight on June 30th.


Dental Signage tutorialDesigning The $1,000,000 Dental Sign

Everything you need to know to design and position your sign – even tips on how to pick the best location for a new dental facility.

Dental Practice Marketing: Do Specialists Refer Patients Back to Dentists? (video)

Dental Practice Marketing: Do Specialists Refer Patients Back to Dentists? (video)When it comes to specialists, a lot of general dentists feel like they can’t live with them, but they can’t live without them either.

When it comes to dental practice marketing and general dentists referring dental patients out to specialists, they secretly fear they will never see those patients again.

Complained one dentist, Periodontists never refer back, never keep me informed of the treatment rendered and even refer my patients to oral surgeons for things I would like to do myself.”

But a more optimistic dentist advised, “Building a good relationship with your specialists is critical. Specialist referrals are our second greatest source of new dental patients, after existing patient referrals.”

The Wealthy Dentist conducted a survey asking dentists how frequently their patients are referred back after being sent out for treatment by specialists.

To hear how the dentists responded, Click Play to hear the survey results —

Dentists: do specialists you work with refer patients back to you? Are referrals from specialists a factor in your dental practice marketing?

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