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Coalition Launched to Protect Texans' Access to Affordable Dental Care

Posted on July 10, 2012

 

AUSTIN, Texas, July 9, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — Leading providers of dental office administrative support services have announced a new group called the Texas Coalition of Dental Support Organizations (TCDSO).

Members of the coalition—known as dental support organizations or DSOs—help increase access and lower the cost of dental care for Texans at a time when access and affordability are a critical challenge for many Texas families: Texas currently ranks among the bottom eight states in the number of dentists per 10,000 residents, according to data from Kaiser State Health Facts.

TCDSO members provide vital business and administrative support services—including facility maintenance, supply management, billing, scheduling, accounting, taxes, payroll and marketing—that simplify the processof running a dentist office and enable dentists to spend more time caring for their patients. 

The coalition is working with state leaders and other stakeholders to educate them on the services member companies provide and how they assist dentists in providing quality and affordable dental care to Texans.

"My practice has thrived for 27 years and my patients have benefited from the assistance of a dental support company," said Dr. Edgardo Gonzalez, a San Antonio dentist. "I could contract with several individual companies to do my accounting, payroll, claims processing, office cleaning and marketing—or hire one company to do it all. The support provided to me enables me to focus on patient care, while I leave the business operations and back-office support to the company."

For more than 30 years, dental support organizations (DSOs) have provided administrative support services to Texas dentists. Today, there are 243 coalition-member supported dental offices in Texas with nearly 3,000 employees, dentists and dental-care professionals. Collectively, these offices had more than 1.3 million patient visits in Texas last year.

One of the public policy issues the coalition is working on is whether current Texas law and regulations regarding the practice of dentistry provide strong enough protections for Texans. Coalition members and many others believe that if fully and properly enforced, current laws and regulations, as written, sufficiently protect Texans by ensuring only dentists duly licensed in Texas are making decisions on behalf of their patients.

The American Dental Association (ADA) recognizes the DSO-supported group practice model as a viable alternative for its members. An ADA New Dentist Committee recently identified several reasons why large group practices are appealing to new graduates, including student debt burdens that act as a barrier to practice ownership, increased job availability within large group practices, mobility options and the ability to focus on patient care instead of the numerous responsibilities of running a small business.