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Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Put dental patients’ care ahead of corporate profits

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  • By Jennifer King  Jan 30, 2017
  • Debate in Olympia regarding operation of corporate dental chains might seem to matter only to those directly involved, with little impact on the public in Yakima.

    That’s not the case. The outcome will have a dramatic impact on the quality of care received by dental patients here and across the state.

    Corporate chains, or Dental Service Organizations (DSOs), operate in Washington under names like Aspen Dental, Modern Dental, Bright Now, and Gentle Dental. But they do so in a gray area outside of the oversight of the state regulators.

    They’re now pushing legislation to give themselves virtually unlimited authority to continue operating here, with no regulatory oversight.

    As a practicing dentist, this worries me. Not because corporate chains represent new competition, and not because there’s anything inherently wrong with a dentist contracting for administrative support. As dentists, we should be open to models than deliver better patient care.

    But that’s not the case with DSOs. Based on my 18 years of practice, the best care results when decisions are made solely by the patient and his or her dentist. Interference in the doctor-patient relationship by third party, for-profit corporations can lead to inferior care or overtreatment, or both, and should not be allowed.

    Read the entire article by Dr. Jennifer King here