Publisher’s Letter

Out with the Old. In with the Unknown.

Bill Neumann

As we usher in 2017, we find ourselves at the beginning of a new era. What that new era is exactly, and what it means to DSOs and dentistry, remains to be seen. Signals like the Fed’s first interest rate hike in a decade, and the Dow Jones index’s 14 percent increase in 2016, point to growth for the U.S. economy.

However, there is uncertainty because of the new administration, and whether they will repeal or dramatically alter the Affordable Care Act. There are also indications that regardless of what occurs with the ACA, Medicaid reimbursement rates will remain stagnant, or even shrink, in 2017. Taking all of this into consideration, we reached out to some of the thought leaders in the DSO space for their take on 2017 in, A Look Ahead.

One thing that certain in 2017 is that DSOs and dental groups will continue to expand their footprints. As groups expand, immense pressure will increase on the labor pool. DSO growth will make this year challenging for both staff recruitment and retention. One of the few publicly traded DSOs, Birner Dental Management, made mention of their dentist retention issues when they announced their lackluster 2016 Q3 results. What plan do you have in place to retain and recruit the best dentists and staff members? If you don’t have a plan, you undeniably need one.

2017 should also prove challenging for DSOs looking to expand through affiliations. How is your group or DSO going to differentiate itself from the ever-growing number of groups and dental support organizations vying for the same pool of quality dental practices? Will your DSO look to change its affiliation strategy, or focus more on de novo locations? As we say goodbye to 2016, we say hello to new products and innovations specifically designed for dental group practices. In this issue of Efficiency, we highlight some of those new products and services.

This will no doubt be an interesting and exciting year for DSOs and group practice growth, albeit an unknown one. We look forward to guiding you along the way.

Bill Neumann

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