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Letters: Large group practice

May 21, 2012

I had a few thoughts about the article in the April 9 ADA News about growth of large group practices. I work in a federally qualified health center, which would also qualify as a large group practice. We have 24 dentists on staff. As part of our benefit package our FQHC pays for malpractice insurance, disability insurance, health insurance and contributes to a 403b retirement fund along with paid personal and continuing education time off.

I know many dentists in private practice rely on the ADA to help them with these same benefits. While dentists in large group practices may not need these benefits, we need something even bigger from the ADA, and that is support, backing and recommendations from our colleagues as clinicians; not just business people.

Many other people and organizations can give us business advice and support; however, only a dentist can give another dentist clinical support. Often large practices are managed by nondentists with money as their bottom line. These "powers that be" can sometimes push dentists into treatment that is not in balance or supported by the field of dentistry, and without membership to a large group of dentists we don’t have a leg to stand on.

I have been a dentist for 25 years and realize that only another dentist truly understands my work and my stress. I am very happy to see new employment options/opportunities for dentists, but I believe as the employment opportunities expand we need more than ever to stay united as dentists.

Trish Roels, D.D.S.
Chief Oral Health Officer
Cherry Street Health Services
Grand Rapids, Mich.