A generalized view

May 1, 1998
We enjoyed reading "Who`s the Boss?" in the March issue by Dr. Pride and Mr. Prescott. We found it one of the better reviews of the issues associated with selling one`s practice to a Dental Management Services Company (DMSC) that we have seen. In our judgment, the authors present one extremely important premise, but then, unfortunately, discredit their wisdom with several inaccuracies and misrepresentations.

We enjoyed reading "Who`s the Boss?" in the March issue by Dr. Pride and Mr. Prescott. We found it one of the better reviews of the issues associated with selling one`s practice to a Dental Management Services Company (DMSC) that we have seen. In our judgment, the authors present one extremely important premise, but then, unfortunately, discredit their wisdom with several inaccuracies and misrepresentations.

Dr. Pride has done the dental profession a great service by highlighting the extreme importance of researching diligently all aspects of a DMSC`s management, investors, philosophy and structure before selling one`s practice. Selling your practice to a DMSC is a permanent decision. Selling to the wrong DMSC can be an enormous and unnecessary mistake. Consequently, investigating an exhaustive list of questions, along with obtaining qualified and experienced professional assistance with the decision, is essential.

Like all businesses, including dental practices, not all DMSCs are alike. Not all possess the same values or support practices the same way. As a result, many of the typical actions of DMSCs described by Dr. Pride are far from accurate for all DMSCs.

I will illustrate with three examples. First, Dr. Pride explains that after a dentist sells his or her practice, he or she becomes an employee of the DMSC. ("You will remain in the practice as an employee of the DMSC for some period of time.") Second, he mentions that "They purchase only the assets of the practice, including the patient records." Third, he emphasizes repeatedly how dependent the selling dentist`s purchase price is on the value of the DMSC`s stock. ("Possibly selling the practice for less money than it is worth because part of the sale price is tied to the stock of the DMSC.") For our company, these statements, along with many others, are not true. Our company, by contrast, believes in a collaborative and supportive approach with its dentists, which results in extremely different actions than those represented in the article.

We strongly encourage dentists considering a DMSC to carefully evaluate the specific approach and structure of each DMSC. Until a thorough review of each DMSC is completed, however, we encourage dentists not to generalize about the actions of DMSCs. The wonderful new opportunity of joining a successful private dental practice with a professional business partner should not be discouraged because of overgeneralization.

Kelly J. McCrann

Chief Executive Officer

Professional Dental Associates

Natick, MA

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