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Letters: Group practice

November 16, 2015 In response to Dr. Walter Lamacki’s Oct. 15 My View, “What Practice Model is Right for You?” I cringe every time I hear the group practice model given as the preferred viable solution in today’s dental health care marketplace. We erroneously think it will solve the insurance-driven dilemma facing every dental practice. It will not. Ask any physician about the group practice model and see if it has solved their insurance runaround. Although the latest fad in dentistry, it is not the solution for optimum patient care and career satisfaction amongst our medical brethren. What will make it any different for us?

Group together to create complexity and bureaucracy. Group together and you will still be dancing around the elephant in the room — denied claims, decreasing reimbursement, doctor/patient interference. Group together and third parties will continue to change and move the metrics in their favor just aimed at a group now (see medicine for result.) “Misery loves company” is the main palpable benefit I see in the group arrangement.

As a second-generation dentist in a 60-year-old family practice, the insurance-based practice has been the only model dentists are familiar with (and have been addicted to) for the last 45 years. Another seldom discussed option is the patient membership model where patients join your practice —   yes, similar to a health club. We have approximately 200 members since we started our program in 2011 and growing. Our patient members love the program and the influence that insurance has on my practice decreases with every new enrollee.

To my colleagues old and new alike, do not give up on solo dental practice. Yes, it is a lot of work, but it has incredible rewards if you just put your own addictions aside. Not to mention the jewel in all this — profound patient relationships you will forge by being “the one.” Dr. Lamacki quotes a colleague: “Treat your patients as family and you will always sleep well.” I agree 100 percent. He also states, “Problems with insurance companies are part and parcel of practicing.” Not when you don’t include them.

Gregory C. Yen, D.D.S.
Seattle