In defense of DPMOs

July 1, 1998
I was really disappointed in Dr. Jim Pride and his negative comments on DPM titled, "Who`s the Boss?" in the March 1998 Dental Economics. I was even more disappointed when I read Dr. Blaes` editorial in April`s issue, "When Sales Become Nightmares."

I was really disappointed in Dr. Jim Pride and his negative comments on DPM titled, "Who`s the Boss?" in the March 1998 Dental Economics. I was even more disappointed when I read Dr. Blaes` editorial in April`s issue, "When Sales Become Nightmares."

I think it is time somebody steps up and says something positive about DPMOs.

First New England Dental (FNED) is not the first dental failure, nor the last. I know lots of dentists who lost money when Healthco went under. I see dental practices go bankrupt every day and a couple of dental journals have folded (Dental Practice and Dental Management ... remember them?).

I am in no way a contract expert, but the answers to your questions should have been addressed in advance by those practitioners who elected to join FNED. Common sense would tell me that if the DPMO goes bankrupt, you stop any funds from going into its account, continue practicing dentistry, and go to the bank and buy your equipment back for 10 cents on the dollar. Keep all the cash you got from the DPMO. You are in business as usual. In simple terms, get your practice back and keep the advanced money.

From what I`m led to believe, FNED grossly overpaid for those practices and had no infrastructure or operations. Anyone knowing that should have seen the handwriting on the wall. There is no way you can value a practice beyond set parameters, give away the moon and expect the company to stay in business. If it cost you $150 to produce a crown and you charge $100 to your patient ... how long can you stay in practice? It`s the same business principle.

There are good, solid consolidation companies out there that can value a practice properly, pay cash, start operations, and both doctor and DPMO can be profitable. Some of them now are public and doing nicely. Yes, some of these are "doc-in-the-box" managed-care clinics, while others are fee-for-service, private-patient boutiques. There is room for both, as both existed prior to the DPMO coming on the scene. In conclusion, get the facts straight and let`s eliminate negative thinking.

Robert E. Hamric, DMD

Former COO,

Cornerstone Dental, Inc.

Birmingham. AL

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