Resolution Opposing Restrictions on Contracting for Non-Clinical Dental Support Services

Summary

Opposes anticompetitive legislation and regulations that restrict the ability of dentists to contract with third parties for non-clinical support services and supports market solutions and the work of dental support organizations (DSOs) to provide administrative and general business management support to the dental community.

Resolution Opposing Restrictions on Contracting for Non-Clinical Dental Support Services

Model Resolution

WHEREAS, America’s dental services market, like other areas of healthcare, is evolving to meet the needs of the nation’s growing population; and

WHEREAS, part of that evolution includes the growth of dental support organizations (DSOs), which help dentists meet those needs by assisting them with non-clinical business and administrative functions of operating a dental practice while ensuring that only dentists engage in clinical decision-making and the delivery of dental care to their patients; and

WHEREAS, the Federal Trade Commission concludes that restrictions on the ability of dentists to contract out business and administrative functions provided by DSOs may reduce competition, leading to higher prices and reduced access to dental services, especially for underserved populations; and

WHEREAS, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services reports that the shortage of dental practitioners in Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs) exceeds that of both primary medical and mental health practitioners; and

WHEREAS, the shortage of dental practitioners and affordable dental care has forced an increasing number of persons to either forgo dental care or to seek treatment from the nation’s network of emergency rooms, which are often over-burdened and ill-equipped to provide dental care; and

WHEREAS, an increasing number of dentists have chosen to hire DSOs for non-clinical services for their practices, or work in dental practices that have contracted for dental support services, so that they can spend their professional time focusing on care for the patients rather than on the administrative aspects of a dental practice; and

WHEREAS, the efficiencies and administrative service skills provided to dentists by DSOs enable dentists to not only increase access to dental care through passing along those efficiencies in the form of lower prices for dentistry, but also through enabling them to navigate the complicated reimbursement landscape and accept more forms of insurance and Medicaid for their patients; and,

WHEREAS, any legislation or regulation likely to discourage dentists from hiring DSOs deny patients, dentists, third party payors, state agencies and other consumers of dental services the benefits of competition resulting from the efficiencies that DSOs can offer.

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that {insert state legislature} opposes anticompetitive legislation and regulations restricting the ability of dentists to contract with third parties for non-clinical support services provided by dental support organizations (DSOs), including accounting, marketing, purchasing, billings, collections, regulatory compliance, and other administrative duties.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that {insert state legislature}, recognizing the importance of achieving greater access, affordability and quality in dental care, supports market solutions and the work of dental support organizations (DSOs) to provide administrative support and general business management support to the dental community allowing dentists to concentrate on clinical operations and the delivery of patient care.

Approved by the ALEC Board of Directors January 9, 2015.