I have decided to choose Dr. Joe Blaes` editorial (December 1999 Dental Economics) as the subject for my first-ever response. Managed care is evil? I don`t think so. These people are businessmen trying to make a living. Will they displace fee-for-service practices? Only if we let them.
Patients allow us to enter their private space. They want to trust us and our dental team. They want to form relationships that work for them. They want us to focus on them and take our time, to remember their name when we see them in the supermarket, to genuinely care about them and their families, and to feel good about their dental work in five or 10 years.
If we do our job by providing excellence and genuine, compulsive interest in them, then they will seek out our practice. It`s personal to them and to us. We can charge reasonable fees, make a living, and take our time when treating them. If they "try" a low-fee HMO office, they should find that office more stressed and less focused. Frankly, they should "miss" us.
My opinion is that we can avoid all "cut-rate" dental plans entirely. This message has to get out to younger dentists. Big corporations cannot displace personal trust. Our study group of 10 Massachusetts dentists from various small and large towns has been doing it for 25 years. And if it has already been done, it`s probably possible nationally.
There is no reason to sell out. We have a great profession. Let`s keep it.