Letters from Readers

Remember to "Seize the Day"

My father-in-law read a story in a dentist's office recently ("Seize the Day," by Dr. Richard H. Madow, Dental Economics, June, 2001). He told me about it and I looked for it on the Web. My father-in-law lost his son, as I lost my husband, on March 18, 2000, because of the insidious illness, viral myocarditis.

My husband, Harvey King, was a practicing dentist on Long Island. He was 42 years old, and I found him dead — he did not have a second chance. Not many doctors are aware of this illness; we need to educate the public about it. I am a nurse, and I lost my father as well on January 23, 2000, just seven weeks prior to my husband's death. He also was a dentist, and practiced with my husband. My father, I believe, died of something else.

My husband did complain of being "tired," but we were all tired from running back and forth to the hospital. He probably did have symptoms, but ignored them. He was scheduled for a physical on March 24, 2000 — but never got the chance.

I guess the world revolves around luck — we take turns holding onto that brass ring. Despite the article being sad for me, I'm glad there are people getting second chances. I wish Dr. Madow and his family well. Thank you for listening to me.

Andrea King
New York

Definition of Success?

Dr. Albert L. Ousborne's article, "Building your practice with professionalism" (September 2001 Dental Economics), stated, "Remember, to be successful, you have to be good at what you do, but you also must be good at promoting what you do."

I have a question. What is "successful"? It is mentioned so many times in journals, and everyone wants to be successful. So what is success? Is it:

  • Grossing $3 million a year and netting $50,000?
  • Being a celebrity speaker or dental politician at the cost of having only minimal family time?
  • Having the tightest margins and most traumatized patients?
  • Earning big bucks?
  • Having the most "modern" office, car, home, etc.?

Success seems to have many definitions. What is your definition of success?

E.J. Neiburger, DDS
Waukegan, Ill.

Unique morale booster

I have been reading your magazine religiously since its inception, but I have never seen any articles mentioning two of my favorite morale-building benefits:

  1. No lunch hour. This might sound like a negative morale builder, but it isn't when it's combined with benefit number 2.
  2. Provide lunch daily. Everyone is overjoyed!

Not only do we go home one hour earlier, but everyone eats and I pick up the tab. Believe me, the staff works as a team, giving each other the necessary 15 minutes for lunch.

As a matter of fact, everyone has gained five to 10 pounds since we started this three years ago! All kidding aside, consider this benefit and I'm sure your staff will appreciate it.

Michael D. Switkes, DDS
Jacksonville, Fla.

Delta Dental: A PPO?

(The following is a response to a letter that appeared in September Dental Economics)

Dear Ms. Volk: Delta Dental is a PPO, and that is why Mr. Rossi referred to it as such is his Dental Economics (March 2001) article. The seven percent of Delta subscribers to which you refer as PPOs are actually the DMO and DPO programs. All the rest of Delta is a PPO! I have been a member of Delta for 15 years; I too, thought that it was a regular third-party, fee-for-service provider. Unfortunately, it is not. Dentists are finally realizing what Delta really is — a PPO. It requires participating dentists to take at least a 20 percent cut in the fees they can charge to Delta patients just like a PPO. Delta provides a list of the Delta-participating dentists to its insureds, which is common for PPOs. Delta restricts how dentists practice dentistry, and limits coverage of many dental procedures — again, typical of a PPO. The exclusion of benefits, ever-increasing restrictions of coverage, and low fee schedules are what makes an insurance company a PPO. If Delta thinks it is not a PPO, then it needs to stop acting like one!

For years, Delta had us dentists fooled into thinking it was a fee-for-service insurance company. Currently, it is evident that it is certainly not the case.

Dr. Ginny Murtaugh
Laguna Niguel, Calif.

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