North Carolina Dentists, Patients Voice Concern over Proposed Dental Legislation

Posted on October 9, 2013

RALEIGH, N.C.--(BUSINESS WIRE) June 05, 2012 --Dentists and patients from across North Carolina gathered Tuesday in front of the state Legislative Building to declare their opposition to House Bill 698 (H.B. 698)/Senate Bill 655 (S.B. 655) and the negative impact the legislation will have on North Carolina citizens. If passed, H.B. 698 and S.B. 655 will change the way dentists work with dental service organizations (DSOs), which help manage the increasingly complex business aspects of running a dental practice, such as accounting, human resources and purchasing.

“I affiliated with a DSO 23 years ago because the administrative burdens of running a small business and managing multiple vendors and technologies reduced the time I could devote to my patients,” said Dr. Bruce Gray of Durham. “My focus is now on the 4,000 patients I treat each year and making clinical decisions that are in their best interest. Thanks to DSO support, I can provide quality care to my patients at a cost they can afford. I also have more time for my family and community involvement.”

Patients attending the news conference also shared their personal stories of quality care at DSO-related dental practices. A 68-year-old retiree from Carrboro spoke about how she recently needed a new set of dentures following her significant weight loss over the past year. She talked about the quality dentures she received at Affordable Dentures, the option to choose the dentures she wanted and the opportunity to come in regularly for free adjustments as she continues to lose weight. Her story of care, choice and affordability was echoed by others who spoke out in opposition of the bill.

The Alliance for Access to Dental Care, a trade and advocacy group, coordinated the news conference to shed light on this anticompetitive bill. The meeting included dentists from across North Carolina who currently offer affordable dental care to patients and who will be negatively impacted by the legislation. Increased costs along with reduced access to care top the list of their concerns.

“We appreciate the support shown today by dentists and patients as we try to prevent the passage of this damaging bill,” said Doug Brown, a member of the Alliance and CEO of Affordable Care, Inc., a dental service organization headquartered in North Carolina. “This legislation ignores the needs of patients in our state, which is the 10th most populated in the nation but ranks 47th in terms of the number of dentists per capita. Compared to other states, North Carolinians already pay $280 million more than they should each year for dental services because of a shortage of dentists. This legislation will further reduce access to dental care and result in patients paying even higher fees if dentists can no longer contract with DSOs to help them run more efficiently.”

Brown added, “DSO-supported dental practices have operated in North Carolina for almost 40 years, with higher patient satisfaction rates than non-DSO dental practices. In addition to the business services model you see in nearly every other area of healthcare, we provide capital so that dentists can open new practices. More than 625 existing jobs, a $68 million annual payroll, 90 potential new jobs and $33 million in capital investment in North Carolina are also at stake if this legislation passes. This is a bad bill for our organization, bad for dentists and bad for North Carolina.”

Numerous organizations have already voiced their opposition to the bill including the Federal Trade Commission and Americans for Tax Reform. To learn more facts about the proposed dental bill and how to lend your voice to the issue visit http://highercostlesschoice.com/.

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