The "Who`s the Boss?" article in the March 1998 issue was of particular interest given my recent personal experience and insight as it relates to this process of corporate affiliation. I can appreciate much of the information provided by Dr. Pride and Mr. Prescott. However, the purpose of this reply is to communicate to my colleagues a viewpoint that differs dramatically from the message that pervades dental literature.
Pablo Picasso stated, "In the beginning, every act of creation is an act of destruction. Each new idea will ultimately destroy what many people believe is essential." The discussion of participation with dental practice-management companies stirs powerful emotions that relate to "who we were when" and why we opted to become dentists in the first place. I have "walked that walk" and have contemplated the due-diligence questions offered by this article. So have the other 77 dentists in 63 offices across 18 states in the Founding Affiliated Practices group of Pentegra Dental Group, Inc., a public company on the AMEX.
The dentists in this group have practiced dentistry an average of 21 years and generate approximately $500,000 in annual revenue per dentist. More importantly, these individuals and the company they control via majority representation on the board of directors are committed to fee-for-service, private-care dentistry and its preservation well into the next millennium.
The company will earn service fees under long-term agreements, representing a share of the affiliated practices operating profits, not a fixed salary. I believe this partnership model best aligns the interests of the patients, the practices, and Pentegra, while providing incentives to improve quality, productivity, and profitability. We also will grow by acquiring and affiliating with like-minded practitioners using the funds raised in our successful IPO.
I would like to point out that the dentists in Pentegra are, in fact, hard-driving entrepreneurs with a track record to prove it. We have seized an opportunity to achieve our "wins" cooperatively, in a changing marketplace where fragmentation and isolation may not serve the business of dentistry any better than it did in other business worlds where competition has been replaced by consolidation and cooperation. I believe Pentegra can provide leadership in the preservation and promotion of private-care dentistry. "Two people in prison looking through the bars, one sees the mud, one sees the stars." I see the stars!
Kevin L. Gasser, DDS
Sun City, AZ