My philosophy of care has always been driven by educating a patient to understand the treatment they need. Trust, in what I am recommending, is imperative. Sometimes that takes time. Building a relationship has always been an important part of what I stand for. Thankfully for me, being successful in that has led to a sustaining practice
Unfortunately in this modern age of health care the motivation of making a profit seems to outweigh the time it takes to develop a patient’s trust. This mentality stems from a confluence of issues.
First, as dental insurance became more main stream and more and more patients started to use it as a criteria to have treatment completed, the insurance companies realized the “cash cow” that was there for the taking. The insurance companies (like Delta Dental) started to put the squeeze on practices by slowly reducing the dentist’s compensation while at the same time reducing the patient’s yearly maximum benefit.
The insurance companies have not been transparent about lowering the patients benefit. And with no oversight, why should they be. But, the way they did it was to not raise the level of the yearly benefit more than $500 a year since its inception in 1972. Even though the cost of living has certainly risen since then!
If a practice is insurance driven, which most large corporate practices are, it forced them to run their practices with making money as a main priority rather than your dental health. My first observation of this was when calling a practice, before even saying hello, the receptionist says, “Is there any insurance information that you would like to share?”
In time, because of other influences like increases in the cost of doing business, led by huge debt of the education to become a dentist, and staff salaries, large practices with multiple dentists started to form in order to share expenses. This type of practice has become the norm. Now, venture capitalists are buying up small practices and hiring dentists as employees to work. As a result, the atmosphere you now see in dental (and medical) practices feels very “corporate”.
I have always preferred (taking a cue from the popular sitcom “Cheers”) an atmosphere where “everybody knows your name”? My staff and I enjoy getting to know grandparents, mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, boyfriends, girlfriends, even if it’s just through conversation. With the turnover rate of employee dentists and staff at the group/corporate practices and the emphasis on making a profit, these types of operations just do not have that feel.
We here at The Toothboss, my long time members of my staff and I love to learn what’s going on in your lives and appreciate the fact that we can share that with your personal stories as we care for your dental needs for the many years that our patients remain at our practice.