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Old-school ‘protectionism’ vs. innovation

It’s one of the fastest growth areas of the multibillion-dollar dental industry. Some people want to take a bite out of it, while others want to strengthen it.

Dental Service Organizations (DSOs) are independent business support centers that contract with dental practices in the United States, providing business management and support to dental practices, including nonclinical operations. Jeff Stier, senior fellow at The National Center for Public Policy Research, likes the idea.

“There is some innovation in how dentists run their offices — and there are more options that could lower the price for dental care, especially for families who need it most,” he tells OneNewsNow.

Not everyone shares that opinion, however. A blogger known as “Dentist the Menace” refers to DSOs as a “collage of crap.” Concerned Dentists of Texas and My Practice Matters have also raised objections, one of them being that corporations control DSOs.

“We must ask ourselves, will the American Dental Association support its members or will it support organizations controlled and owned by hedge funds, private equity firms and public pension plans?,” states a blog post from Concerned Dentists of Texas. “The increased proliferation of this type practice model poses serious risks to our 175-year established philosophy of patient care and the dentist/patient relationship.”

Stier refers to this as “rent-seeking” — an economic term for the act of exploiting the political process to increase one’s profits at the expense of society.

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Abby Long