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2015 ADA/Kellogg executive management program registration opens

New dentists and office management staff seeking to enhance their business experience and acumen with enhanced management skills and business principles can register by July 1 for the 2015 session of ADA/Kellogg Executive Management Program.

KelloggIn its 11th year, the executive-level program, organized in collaboration by the ADA and Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management, consists of specially designed curriculum for dentists to learn more about business management from one of the nation’s top-ranked management schools.

“Dental school and my orthodontic residency taught me the clinical skills I needed and I learned the necessities of running a practice over time, but I always felt like I was missing the business fundamentals that would that allow my practice to thrive,” said Dr. Spencer Pope, a 2014 graduate of the program and who has been in practice for 16 years.

“Unfortunately, you don’t know what you don’t know, and dentists tend to lack the business fundamentals that almost all other sectors of the economy utilize on a daily basis,” he added. “This program helps to level the curve and provide you with a knowledge base to go forward.”

Based on the core curriculum of incoming Kellogg Master of Business Administration students, the program addresses business strategy, organizational leadership, marketing, finance, accounting, economics, business analytics and operations. Kellogg professors teach all courses.

The 12.5-day program is held at Northwestern University’s Chicago campus, near the ADA headquarters. The 2015 sessions are set for Sept. 18-21, Oct. 23-26 and Nov. 13-17.

Registration fees are $16,750 for ADA members and $17,750 for nonmembers. Fee includes tuition, course materials and most meals. Tuition does not include travel and lodging. ADA members receive discounts on select Chicago hotels. Registrations are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis.

To register, visit ADA.org/Kellogg or contact Connie Paslaski at the ADA toll-free number at ext. 3541, or email ADAKEMP@ada.org.

10 things to look for before signing an employment contract

Understanding an employment contract before you join a dental practice can be intimidating.

signing a documentContracts can be long, the terms can be hard to understand and it may be the fi rst one you’ve ever seen. The ADA publication, “Dentist Employment Agreements: A Guide to Key Legal Provisions,” outlines a number of aspects to look out for in a contract and some key ideas to keep in mind before signing. This online publication is free to members and available for download at Success.ADA.org by searching for the title.

Here are 10 areas to keep an eye out for to make sure you understand what you’re signing:

Employee duties: Pay attention to what is outlined in the contract as far as your duties as a dentist. This provision establishes the job responsibilities and, if breached, could become grounds for termination or a contractual dispute.

Compensation: Understand how you will be paid, how often and whether you’re eligible for commissions or bonuses.

Benefits: Make sure you’re OK with what’s being offered in terms of vacation time, health and life insurance, retirement plan and other fringe benefits.

Term: Check to see the duration of your employment under the contract. Consider what happens if your term expires.

Termination: Understand whether you can be fired without cause.

Malpractice insurance: Check to see if your employer provides dental professional liability insurance or if you have
to purchase it. If the employer purchases it, understand the amount and type of coverage provided.

Noncompete clause: If you’re terminated, this may prevent you from practicing dentistry in a certain geographic area for a specific time period.

Nonsolicitation of employees and/or patients: This may prevent you from actively soliciting employees and/or patients away from the employer.

Dispute resolution: This establishes the process for resolving disputes between you and the owner dentist, should they arise. It’s important to understand if you would be relinquishing basic and important rights, such as the right to a jury trial, if an issue arises that can’t be resolved.

Liquidated damages: This stipulates how much money you would have to pay if you are found to have breached certain provisions the contract.

The ADA advises all dentists to consult with their personal attorneys before signing any contract.

Data aids new dentists in deciding where to practice

Wouldn’t it be nice if simply putting a wet fi nger in the wind were enough to fi gure out where to open a new dental practice — or where to fi nd work at an existing one?

Dr. Partha Mukherji of Forth Worth, Texas (middle), launched a private practice in 2012. Here he participates in a table breakout session at the 2012 ADA Evidence-Based Dentistry Champions Conference in Chicago.

Dr. Partha Mukherji of Forth Worth, Texas (middle), launched a private practice in 2012. Here he participates in a table breakout session at the 2012 ADA Evidence-Based Dentistry Champions Conference in Chicago.

Knowing which direction to take when making such important career decisions takes more data than that, of course. Thankfully, brave souls have paved the well-worn path to opening a new practice or deciding where to seek a position. Some have left a trail in the form of advice for new dentists.

Dr. Partha Mukherji of Fort Worth, Texas, for instance, has a few trail tips to share on figuring out where to open a practice. He graduated from Baylor College of Dentistry in 2001 and from the University of Texas School of Dentistry in Houston in 2002, where he completed a one-year postgraduate general practice residency in hospital dentistry focusing on the treatment of medically and physically compromised patients. Then he went to work as an associate.

“After practicing 11 years as an associate in private and corporate settings, I felt confident that I could do dentistry on my own,” he said. “Still, I wasn’t too confident on the business aspects of dentistry. In hindsight, I probably should’ve established my own office sooner. But, hindsight is 20/20.”

Foresight, with data, can also be 20/20. Before deciding where to hang a shingle and open for business, Dr. Mukherji consulted professionals. One of the first things he did was call on a reputable dental practice real estate agency. He made his choice of business location largely based on their assessment of the area. They helped Dr. Mukherji review such variables as demographics and the saturation of dentists in the area.

But Dr. Mukherji also calculated his decision based on certain personal preferences. “I lived in the area, was active in the area and wanted to practice in that area,” he said. He also asked friends, colleagues, specialists and dental vendors for their input. “I found that to be valuable, too,” he said.

Dr. Mukherji advises tapping ADA resources, such as statistical reports. The ADA also refers member dentists to data sources to explore when assessing where to practice. A few suggested resources:

US Census Bureau — Factfinder: Provides population information on household income, education, and many other demographics. Start by entering a city or zip code under the “Community Facts” heading in the left column.

2013 Color-coded zip codes, median household income: Provides a color-coded overview of zip codes ranked by income and education level. Clicking on the map will bring up additional details about the zip code’s income and education level. To locate the map, search the newspaper website for “super zips.”

Wells Fargo Practice Finance: Provides statistical information, including population variables for both residential and employed populations; socio-economic indicators including economics, education and housing; and number of existing practices in designated area.

NY Times: Student loan facts they wish they had known

2014 Dental Student Loan DebtThe New York Times’ Your Money columnist Ron Lieber asked his readers to share their own stories and offer the most important thing they wish they had known before they taking out and paying for student loans.

From taking counseling for borrowing money from private lenders to keeping track of your running loan total, Mr. Lieber shares some of the most prevailing answers he received.

To read the full column, click here.

As a new dentist, what do you wish you had known when you decided to apply and acquire student loans to study dentistry?

Reminder: Redeem ADA Visa points

ADA members with the ADA Visa from U.S. Bank, the card endorsed by ADA Business Resources, are advised to review their statements and redeem any expiring points.

cardReward points expire five years after they are awarded. Because the ADA Visa rewards program began five years ago, some points may be expiring soon. Points are redeemed or expire in the order they were earned and awarded to the account.

There is a wide variety of reward options. These include cash back through a statement credit to your account; merchandise, including electronics, sporting equipment, home décor and more; and gift certificates from leading retailers.

Earning 25,000 points equals up to a $450 airline ticket on more than 150 airlines with no blackout dates or online redemption fees; 100,000 points equals up to $1,800 in airline tickets.

Cardholders earn one reward point for every net $1 in purchases (purchases minus credits and returns). They earn five reward points for every ADA purchase including continuing education and registration at ADA 2015. Accounts must be open and in good standing to earn and redeem points.

For more information, call 1-888-229-8864 or login at usbank.com; under My Account, click on My Rewards.

Dental leaders welcome student advocates

ADA and ADPAC leaders joined dentist members of Congress April 13 in welcoming some 380 dental students to the American Student Dental Association’s annual dental student lobby day.

Speaking at the appropriately named Renaissance Arlington Capital View Hotel across the river from the nation’s capital, Association President Maxine Feinberg told today’s student leaders. “Your voice is important for our profession.” The dental students met to share lobbying tips with the profession’s leadership the day before canvassing Capitol Hill congressional offices to lobby student refinancing and Action for Dental Health bills.

“Your being here is such an important step in securing your future as dentists,” Dr. Feinberg told the students. “When you sit down with a member of Congress tomorrow, and you’re discussing issues that affect oral health and dentistry, yes, you’re going to be advocating for dentists everywhere. But you’ll also be advocating for your future, your patients.”

Dr. Bruce Hutchison, chair-elect of the American Dental Political Action Committee, and dentist/Reps. Bruce Babin, R-Texas, and Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., also addressed the students and offered advice on how to lobby the legislation and work with congressional staff.

Grassroots activist dentists attending the April 27-29 Washington Leadership Conference will also lobby members of Congress to support the Student Loan Refinancing Act “so that we can help dental students like you manage their debt when they leave school,” and the Action for Dental Health Act, which “reduces barriers to care and offers solutions for addressing the dental health crisis in America,” Dr. Feinberg told the students.

“When you meet with members of Congress on the Hill tomorrow, ask them for their support,” the

ADA and ADPAC leaders joined dentist members of Congress April 13 in welcoming some 380 dental students to the American Student Dental Association’s annual dental student lobby day.

Speaking at the appropriately named Renaissance Arlington Capital View Hotel across the river from the nation’s capital, Association President Maxine Feinberg told today’s student leaders. “Your voice is important for our profession.” The dental students met to share lobbying tips with the profession’s leadership the day before canvassing Capitol Hill congressional offices to lobby student refinancing and Action for Dental Health bills.

“Your being here is such an important step in securing your future as dentists,” Dr. Feinberg told the students. “When you sit down with a member of Congress tomorrow, and you’re discussing issues that affect oral health and dentistry, yes, you’re going to be advocating for dentists everywhere. But you’ll also be advocating for your future, your patients.”

Dr. Bruce Hutchison, chair-elect of the American Dental Political Action Committee, and dentist/Reps. Bruce Babin, R-Texas, and Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., also addressed the students and offered advice on how to lobby the legislation and work with congressional staff.

Grassroots activist dentists attending the April 27-29 Washington Leadership Conference will also lobby members of Congress to support the Student Loan Refinancing Act “so that we can help dental students like you manage their debt when they leave school,” and the Action for Dental Health Act, which “reduces barriers to care and offers solutions for addressing the dental health crisis in America,” Dr. Feinberg told the students.

“When you meet with members of Congress on the Hill tomorrow, ask them for their support,” the ADA president said. “Ask them to be advocates for you and for the profession.”

Will there be a dentist shortage in 2025?

May 2015 JADACheck out the May issue of The Journal of the American Dental Association to read how falling busyness levels and financial barriers to dental care may challenge predictions of a dentist shortage by 2025. Marko Vujicic, Ph.D., ADA’s chief economist and vice president of the Health Policy Institute, examines the issue in his Health Policy Perspectives column, Rethinking Dentist ‘Shortages.’

And for more highlights, watch JADA Editor Michael Glick’s preview on ADA.org or jada.ada.org.

Understanding small savings, interest and taxes

Time is money. It’s true. Realize that though you may be shouldering debt, most new dentists are young and can take advantage of money saving techniques and the power of compounding interest. Small savings early can really help with BIG decisions later!

Dr. Moon

Dr. Moon

As soon as possible:

  • Learn to manage your limited money to have fun when you need to relax without breaking the bank, or putting $200 at a time on a credit card.
  • Make a goal to save $2,500 cash for moving expenses after school so you can get to that better job. Saving for this transition helps with your personal psychology to travel for a better opportunity.
  • Establish that retirement savings is a budget line item and figure out how to do it sooner. If you can budget $500 yearly when you are taking out student loans, you should be well prepared to max out your retirement savings when you are earning more. Consider $500 in a retirement account at age 23. If you retire at age 65, that is 42 years of compounding interest.
    • At 5 percent average interest, that $500 is $3,880 at age 65; at 10 percent average interest, that $500 is $27,381 at age 65…..and that’s only the first year of contribution of only $500!

Your first professional years:

  • “Real paychecks” mean you will be in a tax bracket that you have never had the privilege of being in before. This means that to put $10,000 per year toward your student loan, you will have to allocate earnings of somewhere from $15,000-$20,000 per year to do this. Keep this in mind if you consider a loan repayment program.
  • If some loan repayment program is going to pay your student loans, that grant or other money is often not taxed, so $25,000 goes straight toward your loan balance. To put $25,000 toward your loan balance yourself you would have to allocate earnings of $35,000-$50,000 income to make that “dent” in your loan depending on your tax bracket.
  • Considering the above, a $90,000 per year job with loan repayment may be a better decision for some than a $130,000 per year job without. You’ve got to understand the numbers.
  • One option is to secure loan repayment and contribute the max yearly to your Roth IRA when you are 26 instead of putting that toward your loan: Compounded,
    • $5,500 into retirement at 26 years old is worth the following at 65 years old:
      • 5 percent interest average compounded 39 years it is $36,876.
      • 10 percent interest avg. compounded 39 years it is $226,296.

Controlling small amounts of money early is key! Look for more ideas in future blog posts. Note that ADA members can access retirement planning tools and resources from AXA Equitable, the only retirement program endorsed by the ADA for its members. Additionally, members may access loan repayment calculators on the Center for Professional Success. State and local dental societies may also have financial and retirement resources available.

Dr. Brendan Moon is a New Dentist Now guest blogger and currently serves as Chair of the Illinois State Dental Society New Dentist Committee and sits on the Board of the Illinois Academy of General Dentistry. He began practicing in western Illinois after completing dental school at the University of Mississippi in 2007, and enjoys participating in organized dentistry on the state and national level. Dr. Moon practices in both Public Health and Private Practice settings and is a Fellow of the Academy of General Dentistry, International College of Dentists, Academy of Dentistry International, and the Pierre Fauchard Academy.

NHSC sets May 7 scholarship application deadline

The National Health Service Corps invites scholarship applications through May 7 for the 2015-16 school year for students pursuing primary care health professions training leading to a degree in dentistry or other specified disciplines.

The scholarship pays tuition, fees and other educational costs and provides a living stipend in return for a commitment to work at least two years in a NHSC-approved site in a community classified as an underserved health professional shortage area. For each year of financial support (up to four years), the student agrees to serve one year (minimum two years) at an approved site in a high-need urban or rural community. Service begins upon graduation and completion of primary care residency training for dentists.

To learn more about the program, visit hrsa.gov, click on National Health Service Corps tab on left of page and select scholarships “learn more.” A customer care center number is available 1-800-221-9393 Monday-Friday 8 a.m.-8 p.m. Eastern time.

Why new dentists need a legal entity

So you’ve decided to open your own dental practice. Now that you’ve told your family, friends, and dental school buddies, it dawns on you…you don’t actually know how to open a practice.

Rich McIver

Rich McIver

In this blog we’re going to walk you through some of the basic requirements needed to open a practice, and provide you practical steps that you can take to get your practice off the ground.

The first step to starting a dental practice is a pretty mundane one: legally forming a company entity. A legal entity is simply a company that is recognized and registered with your state. Your legal entity can be a Corporation, a Limited Liability Company, a Partnership, or any other business type that your state recognizes. It is distinguished from running your business via a sole proprietorship, or other arrangement which is not registered or recognized by your state.

Why do Dentists Need an Entity?

The short answer is you don’t. There’s no law requiring that you run your practice via an entity, you can run it as a sole proprietorship (which in plain English means, “in your own name”). However, here are some pretty good reasons why you’ll want to have an entity:

  • Legal Protection

The biggest reason to form a dental business entity is that it means that your business is separate, legally speaking, from you. That’s useful because if you get sued personally, which could happen for a variety of reasons—such as a guest slipped and fell at your house, you default on your home mortgage, or you get sued for medical malpractice—then the assets of your business aren’t subject to the lawsuit. That is to say, if the lawsuit against you is successful, they won’t be able to take your business. Same thing applies if your business is sued. If the lawsuit is successful, they won’t be able to seize your personal assets. In effect, it creates two separate pots, and a successful lawsuit can only raid one of those pots if you’ve used an entity.

  • Accounting Transparency

A second reason to form an entity is accounting transparency. By having your business run as a separate entity you’ll have separate bank accounts, separate accounting, a separate line on your tax return to report the earnings, etc. That accounting separation is necessary if you’re ever going to try to bring in a business partner, sell a business, or even just properly calculate your taxes. Can you do these things with a sole proprietorship? Technically yes, but it’ll be such a mess trying to disentangle your personal expenses from your business expenses that nobody, whether it be a partner, a buyer, or the IRS is going to believe your calculations and thus your valuation or tax liability will be worse than it otherwise would be.

  • Business Credit Separated from Personal Credit

Another reason you want to create a separate legal entity is that you can start to develop business credit that is separate from your personal credit. In plain English, the loans you take out in the business’ name, whether for equipment, a building, etc. will go on your business’ credit report, and not your own. That’s a good thing for two reasons: first, if either your business or your personal credit isn’t squeaky clean you’ll have fewer problems; second, you can generally borrow more money in total if they’re separated, which as a new dentist trying to start a practice and likely carrying a mortgage, that’s a good thing.

In sum, it’s not legally required, but it’s a good idea to form a separate entity to run your dental practice in.

In the next article, we’ll cover what type of entity you should form, what elections to make, how to actually do it, and how much it will cost you.

For information on ADA legal resources, click here.

Rich McIver is a New Dentist Now guest blogger. He graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 2005 and obtained his law degree at the University of Chicago Law School in 2008. After graduating law school, Rich founded and managed three tech startups that were each acquired through private equity, private sales and a merger, respectively. In 2010, he founded and managed a Houston-based plaintiffs law firm which he sold via a buyout in 2014. In 2013, he and his wife, Holly McIver, an ADA member dentist, founded Kingwood Orthodontics, where he continues to manage back-office operations. His current project is running Merchant Negotiators, a Web startup based in Houston. Rich provides practical actionable advice for new dentists based on his experience starting and building successful businesses.

The purpose of this article is to promote awareness of legal and other issues that may affect dentists and dental practices, and is not intended to provide either legal or professional advice. Dentists are urged to consult directly with a properly qualified professional or with an attorney admitted to practice in their jurisdiction for appropriate legal or professional advice.