Who Owns Your Dental Office?

Dentistry is currently experiencing a paradigm shift that occurred in medicine about 15 to 20 years ago.  In the past, medical doctors owned their businesses.  Through the monopolization of hospitals and influence of private investment, most of our nation’s doctors have had to give up their private practices and become employees of large corporations.  Gone are the days of the local doctor who did house calls and personally oversaw everything in his practice.  Today, doctors are employees of large groups or hospitals that are usually owned by wall street and private investment firms.  And those investors only care about one thing- the return on their investment.

To put it simply, your health is essentially determined by investors and insurance companies.  The actual input from your doctor into this equation gets minimized every year.  Don’t believe me?  Just ask your doctor.  Job dissatisfaction is at an all time high and there are now news stories of doctors “going on strike” in various parts of the country.  This was unheard of in the history of the United States.

These outside influences have moved into dentistry.  Large investment groups see dentistry as an untapped market for profit… profit that they feel entitled to.  I have seen that several dental offices in the Plainfield area have sold their ownership to these outside corporations.  The dentists are now employees and do not have the final word (regardless of what they may say) of what goes on in their practices.  They are employees… they have no voting power in what ultimately happens in their offices.  The investors make the final decisions.

Another thing to remember is that when an office is sold to a large corporation, the profits of those offices are now funneled to wherever that corporation is located.  It could be several states over.  It may even be overseas.  This has a real impact on the local community.  Money brought in by locally-owned businesses tends to stay in the community and neighboring communities.

At Plainfield Dental, my partner and I own the office.  The buck stops with us in regard to what happens inside our office.  We have total control over our treatment recommendations (what insurance wants to pay for is a separate matter…a topic for another day).  We have no pressure to satisfy anyone but our patients.  We have no investors looking over our shoulders.

Corporations are not bad.  I love Costco and I buy from Amazon.  There is a place for them.  But their place is not everywhere.  Small businesses need to thrive for the health of the economy and for the health of patients, doctors should own them.

As long as I’m practicing dentistry, our office will always be owned BY DOCTORS.