Tuesday, October 09, 2012

A peek under the sheets at Heartland Dental

I ran across a propaganda piece today on – dentalhealthcarecenter.net. about the super duper fantastic Heartland Dental Care.
It tells about Heartland Dental, in Effingham, IL and what they can do for dentists who are finding it hard to develop their own dental offices. It tells dentists, that by becoming an “affiliate” of Heartland, it can “make your career better.” Their career will be better because Heartland “will increase your creditability and reputation”. It goes on to say:

  • “Working with this company will never lead you to regret”
  • ”your office will be way better”
  • “The company will help in marketing your office, providing you qualified staff,, managing your office, advertising your services and many more.”
  • ”people consider that dentists who are working under the name of the company are all professional”
  • “it is not the company that decides how your office should work. You can decide how you run your business yourself. The company just helps you reach your dream.”
  • “if you face serious problem when running your office, the company will give you effective suggestion in how to break the problem.”
  • “you will likely to become a partner of the company”

But what really happens?

Here is what I’m told

Let’s say you have an established practice. A “suit” could literally just walk in and offer to purchase your practice. Maybe your office was recommend to Heartland by colleague. If that sale goes through, your colleague will be themselves a tidy bonus…let’s call it a finders fee – $2500 to $5000 or there about.

Heartland professes your office just becoming an “affiliate” – a term used quite loosely in the the world of corporate dentistry. But it has to be true, right? It’s everywhere! It’s all they say, they never mention owning dental clinics, just Heartland Affiliated Dental Centers.

They offer you a large sum of money to “affiliate”. A sum which is likely much more than the practice is actually worth if it were for sale.

But you’re not selling, right? You are simply becoming “affiliated” with Heartland so they can help you with your day to day operations – marketing, advertising, software, billing, etc.

[I’m sure Rick Workman lays awake at night worried to death, trying to find ways to “help” dental practices run smoothly for lonely practitioners. Wonder which house he’s in? ]Workman Florida home 1

This one



16130 N. Hildene Drive Effingham IL - Workman Home

This one




For whatever reason, you decided to take their offer. and become a Heartland Dental “affiliated” dental center. What happens then?

Well, you will sign two contracts. A “sales agreement” and an “employment agreement”. Yes, I said that right, a “sales” agreement AND an “employment agreement.”

In the employment agreement, they will agree to a not so bad salary, $120K –$150K a year, plus a percentage of profits. By profits, I mean “net” profits.

Contrary to what Heartland said, you just sold your practice and you just became their employee.

But wait, didn’t their propaganda piece say you are the one who “decides how your office should work. You can decide how you run your business yourself. The company just helps you reach your dream.”

Yes, that is what is said, but it’s a lie. You are simply their employee forever more, or until you can get fired.

Heartland Dental illegal “affiliation” antics are explained here. In 2011 it ran into trouble in North Carolina in 2011

Heartland Dental in trouble with Drug Enforcement Agency 20

So you are now “affiliated” with Heartland Dental. What happens next?

You and your entire staff are whisked off to Effingham, IL for training. I say entire staff, but that might not be the staff you planned on keeping around. That staffing choice is no longer yours to decide – it’s Heartland Dental’s. There just went all that control of your practice promised!

heartland groundbreakingHeartland Dental didn’t need that new $7.7 million training facility – HDC Institute. for nothing. They are going to be training you!

In fact, it’s likely any future training you get will be right there in Effingham at Heartland Dental.

While your office is closed, not producing income, and you and your staff are away at training camp, things maybe happening back at the office.  A team  may be invade what was once your office. This team is there to strip out your equipment and replace it with Heartlands. What was once your equipment, will be replace Heartland’s own – which could, and likely will, be of lesser quality. But hey, it’s got their software already loaded and ready to go.

Chop! Chop! Get to work!

What happens at the 1 to 2 week training sessions, other than your balance sheet taking a dive – remember, if you are in Effingham, you ain’t workin’.  You and staff are learning the Heartland Way, that’s what.

Mr. Dentist, you are now to do nothing but procedures. You will do them as we are teaching you, it’s the only way you can meet the goals we are setting for your “affiliated” clinic. We might throw in some orthodontics training on a three day trip, if other revenue sources are needed, who knows.

Oh and the “partnership” plan mention in the propaganda piece, it’s really an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP). While most ESOP’s are stock given to the employee at no cost, you might be asked to “contribute” a $100K to Heartland’s ESOP. Doesn’t that just sound yummy. You get $100k worth of Heartland Stock. Rick get’s money for lunch.

Rick is watching.

It’s called a PA, not Public Address System nor, Physician's Assistant, but Practice Administrator. These little jewels go through extensive training at HDC Institute and are taught how to “handle” unruly dentists, so don’t be unruly.

Continuing Education? That will be done right at HDC Institute. You will get what they are serving. No matter if you could get it locally, for 1/3 the fee, less time away from the office.

Ms. Office Manager, you are now in charge of all treatment plans, presenting said plans to patients and pricing. [Nothing like a medically untrained office staff talking tell a patient about complicated medical procedures to make said patient safe!] If you can’t handle it, Ms. Office Manager, we have someone trained to step in at any time, but under no circumstance will Mr. Dentist being doing treatment plans. He’s to produce, nothing more.

Nothing is for free, ya know.

That training Heartland demands, costs money and your clinic’s revenues is going to pay for every dime of it. Could be as much as $3k-$5k per day. A Friday, Saturday, Sunday, pep rally, well, that may be $10k.

The Heartland brand continuing education, well that will come off your “affiliated” clinic’s bottom line. too. Not only that, but you pay, what Heartland wants to charge. So what if you could get it cheaper and closer to your home. So what your office could be seeing patients those days.

If Rick Workman has to fly someone in to get you lined back out, for under production. It is going to cost ya. Every business mile driven, every night in a hotel, every meal they eat, your clinic picks up that tab. The college educated psychology grad - who is really just a company dental hygienist - sent to assess your nonproductive ways, will also be expensed out to your clinic.

Prizes and gifts for company wide employees, those are expensed out among the “affiliated” clinics too.  Remember that bonus your colleague got for recommending your practice to Heartland, yeah, it will be charged to your “affiliated” clinic.

Monthly seminars to Effingham,IL, are going to cost you as well. Every night in the hotel, every chicken leg you eat, it’s coming out of your “affiliated” clinic’s account.  Think you will be given a breakdown of what Heartland Headquarters has expensed to your “affiliated” clinic, think again! Those are not for your eyes.

You know the new HCD Institute will be expensed out to each Heartland Dental “affiliated” dental center as well. It has to be, everything else is.

Last but not least, your “affiliated” clinic has to pay Heartland for all the administrative services as well.

Remember that “net” income I spoke about, well…



September 5, 2012

Code, Hennessy & Simmons (CHS)Capital Partners – partial owners of Heartland Dental, auctions company -looking for bidders

April 12, 2011

Heartland Dental Care and 1-800-Dentist

Heartland Dental Press Releases

Photos courtesy of WXEF 97.9 XFM – Effingham, IL