I am writing in response to recent coverage of Dental Service Organizations and, specifically, North American Dental Group.
I have worked with both Dr. Andrew Matta and Ken Cooper for many years. Both exhibit the highest ethical standards in their business and clinical dealings. The culture they created at NADG is one of unwavering ethical treatment of their patients and treating dentists.
I was recently asked if these “corporate dental practices” push dentists to over-treat their patients. The facts indicate to me that there are unethical and ethical dentists in both solo practice and in DSO-supported group practice.
It is the individual professional that chooses their course of action and the consequences of those actions. Being in private practice for over 20 years, I am well aware of the different courses dentists take to get patients to agree to large treatment plans. Since dentists are reimbursed based on procedure codes there is an incentive and natural tendency to do more and higher paying procedures. However, at the very ethical core is the notion that the individual doctor is the captain of the ship when it comes to dental decisions.
Therefore, an individual dentist can neither abdicate nor blame others for the treatment plans put forth for patients. If a dentist feels outside pressure to overtreat then it’s their responsibility to change their environment. The bottom line is that utilization reports find no correlation between overtreatment and whether a dentist practices with a DSO or in traditional private practice.