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Very Sad News

All of us were saddened to learn of the passing of ADA student member Jiwon Lee. Lee was 29 years old, a fourth-year dental student at Columbia University College of Dental Medicine, and the immediate past-president of the American Student Dental Association (ASDA.)

ASDA posted a statement on their website – here’s a link to the full PDF.

We send our deepest sympathies to her family, friends and loved ones.


Independent Contractor or Employee — What Happens with Patient Records?

Dentist Employment Agreement GuideWe’ve blogged before about the difference between classification as an independent contractor vs. as an employee. The difference in classifications has a number of ramifications, including taxes, decisions about how work is to be performed, and other considerations.

The ADA has a new publication — Dentist Employment Agreements: A Guide to Key Legal Provisions that goes into detail about the distinction between the two classifications, and raises a number of issues that could require clarification, including patient records:

Upon termination of the relationship, who will retain patient records? Where will the patient records be stored and how long will they be kept in the event of malpractice litigation? Are there any provisions to access the patient records? Can the dentist make a copy of certain patient records? Generally an employee does not own patient records, where an independent contractor may develop his or her own patient pool and possess ownership rights of patients’ records unless otherwise stipulated in the agreement. If the independent contractor does not possess ownership rights of patients’ records, it is advisable that the independent contractor secure the contractual right to photocopy the records of treated patients to defend in case of a malpractice suit, peer review or dental board action.

Dentist Employment Agreements is not a substitute for a lawyer, but can help you know what questions to ask and discussions to have with your legal advisor. The publication is available from the ADA Center for Professional Success, a member-only resource, exclusively for ADA members. And while you are there, check out the other resources including Be a Great Boss, Checklist for Terminating an Employee and Using Flexible Benefit Plans in your Practice

Saying “No” Without Ruining the Relationship

mentoringLet’s face it, the word no can stop a conversation dead in its tracks. But it’s important to have a strategy for sticking to your no without jeopardizing the relationship.

According to William Ury, Ph.D., co-founder of Harvard University’s Program on Negotiation and author of The Power of a Positive No: How to Say No and Still Get to Yes, an approach he calls Yes! No. Yes? can be a helpful formula. Here’s how Lindsay Levine describes it on the Fast Company blog:

The First “Yes”: Let’s say a client wants to go with a lower-priced alternative, which you know will produce a substandard result. The first Yes! is the core value, need, or principle you’re trying to protect. For example, protecting the quality of the brand.

The “No” is a respectful no, saying, “To maintain our quality standards, we cannot go with the lower priced/lower quality item.”

The “Yes?” acknowledges the ongoing relationship, and sounds like, “Let’s work together to create something that works within your budget but doesn’t adversely affect the quality of the product.”

This formula might be useful for a number of scenarios, including describing treatment planning options.

Do you have a winning approach for holding your ground without jeopardizing the relationship? Leave your suggestion in the comments.

What does “ADA CERP approved provider” mean?

ADA CERP logoWe’re deep in planning for the ADA 28th New Dentist Conference taking place in Kansas City, Missouri July 17-19, 2014 at Sheraton Kansas City, Crown Center (registration is open now). The conference offers up to 14 hours of continuing education, and the American Dental Association is an ADA CERP approved provider. Which means what exactly?

In short, it’s a sign of quality. ADA CERP reviews and approves providers of CE that meet standards for quality continuing dental education. Providers are evaluated in 14 aspects of CE program quality. Only providers that can meet ADA CERP standards and procedures are granted approval and are authorized to use the ADA CERP logo and recognition statement. Providers are held accountable for maintaining those same high standards through periodic reevaluation.

CE credits earned by attending CERP approved providers’ courses are accepted by all state licensing boards (subject to any additional requirements or restrictions each individual board may have). The Academy of General Dentistry also accepts credits from CERP approved providers towards its fellowship and mastership awards.

You can find more information about ADA CERP here. And if you want to earn up to 14 hours of CE at the ADA 28th New Dentist Conference, register today (popular courses do sell out!)

Practice Ownership — Buy or Build?

Dr LarryJust over 88% of dentists are practice owners, either as solo practitioners or partners. For almost every dentist, ownership becomes a consideration at some point in his or her career.

Does it make more sense to buy an existing practice or start from scratch? ADA New Dentist Now has been asking new dentists what choice they made and why.

Today is a guest post from one of a pair of married dentists, Dr. Larry Dougherty and Dr. Ana Paula Ferraz-Dougherty.

We Built by Dr. Larry Dougherty:

My wife and I chose to do a startup rather than buy an existing practice. Here’s why:

Our Vision: I wanted to start a practice that was built on the vision we had for a dental practice, not shape someone else’s vision into what we wanted.

MBA on the Fly: Supplies, insurance, managing staff – I knew next to nothing about the business side of dentistry even after working several years as an associate. We knew we wanted to develop business systems, not inherit the systems of another dentist, and the slow rhythm of a startup’s early days were an ideal time to understand everything at a deep level.

Pick Your Unknowns: We got advice about what numbers to look for when assessing practices, but I didn’t know what any of that all really meant. Plus, I’d heard enough horror stories of dentists not getting what they expected from practice purchases. Psychologically, you need to decide for yourself: which set of complete unknowns am I more comfortable with?

I’d Do it all Again. Our colleagues that purchased practices probably made more money than we did during those first years of ownership. On the other hand we learned lessons that will serve us well in the long run. There’s a lot of pride that comes with building something from scratch, and that experience can’t be purchased.

Dr. Larry Dougherty and Dr. Ana Paula Ferraz-Dougherty are the owners of Rolling Oaks Dental in San Antonio, TX.

Can I wear a short-sleeve lab jacket when it’s hot?

ADA Professional Product ReviewThe ADA Professional Product Review is like no other dental product publication because it bases evaluations on comparative testing in the ADA Laboratory, in clinical settings with dental schools and through other collaborations. It’s content you can use, free from outside influence, and it’s available to members online.

Check out the April 2014 issue (PDF link) where you’ll not only find the answer to the headline question (plus find out what OSHA has to say about scrubs) but you’ll also find in-depth information about:

  • Surface Disinfectants: What dentists and their staff need to know
  • Disease Transmission Through Dental Unit Water: An Update
  • A Laboratory Evaluation of Electric Handpiece Temperature and the Associated Risk of Burns
  • Dental Electronic Health Records Systems

Bonus: if you have a question about appropriate dental practice attire or anything else dental science-related, send it to science@ada.org and perhaps your question will appear in a future issue of ADA Professional Product Review.

They gave me an employment contract — now what?

signing a documentThe ADA has a new publication — Dentist Employment Agreements: A Guide to Key Legal Provisions. It’s not a substitute for a lawyer, but can help you know what questions to ask and discussions to have with your legal advisor. Some of the topics covered include:

  • The differences between employees and independent contractors
  • Salary, commission, bonuses and benefits
  • What’s a non-compete clause? And how is it different from non-solicitation?
  • Using mediation and/or arbitration to resolve disputes
  • Points to consider when hiring a lawyer to review an employment agreement

Dentist Employment Agreements is available from the ADA Center for Professional Success, a member-only resource, exclusively for ADA members. And while you are there, check out the other resources including Be a Great Boss, Checklist for Terminating an Employee and Using Flexible Benefit Plans in your Practice

Brush, Floss, Baby!

University of North Georgia student Jonathan Lee Casas makes some important (and catchy) points about good oral health. Here are the ADA’s recommendations:

  • Brush 2 minutes, twice a day with fluoride toothpaste
  • Floss daily
  • Eat a balanced diet
  • Visit your dentist regularly

And with that, remember icky biofilm/now that’s just whack

(H/T to Huffington Post who brought this video to our attention)



ADA Institute for Diversity in Leadership — Application Deadline April 30, 2014

Applications for Diversity InstituteThe ADA is seeking applicants for its Institute for Diversity in Leadership — the deadline is April 30, 2014.

Established in 2003 by the ADA, the Institute is designed to enhance the leadership skills of dentists who belong to racial, ethnic and/or gender backgrounds that have been traditionally underrepresented in leadership roles.

As a participant in this tuition-free program, you’ll have opportunities to:

  • Enhance your leadership skills and gain leadership experience
  • Strengthen your professional network and build a lifetime of supportive relationships
  • Set new leadership paths within the profession and communities

To be considered as a candidate for the next Institute class comprised of twelve U.S. dentists you must apply by April 30, 2014. Class members will convene for three sessions held at ADA Headquarters in Chicago on the following dates:

  • September 4-5, 2014
  • December 8-9, 2014
  • September 10-11, 2015

You’ll be reimbursed for travel expenses related to attending three sessions held at ADA Headquarters in Chicago and receive a stipend to help offset any costs related to your leadership project.

Lead by faculty from Northwestern University, Kellogg School of Management, over the course of the year you’ll develop and execute a personal leadership project to address an issue or challenge in your community, organization or the profession.

In addition, you’ll have opportunities to network with ADA leaders, as well as leaders from the program’s corporate sponsors and non-profit organizations, faculty, program alumni and ADA staff.

To learn more about this extraordinary educational experience and submit your application, visit ADA.org/diversityinstitute or call Kristi Gingrich at 312.440.2598.

The ADA thanks Henry Schein Dental and Procter & Gamble for their support of the Institute for Diversity in Leadership.

Life as a New Dentist — Practice Owners

Dentists posing with dog

Dr. Ana Paula Ferraz-Dougherty, Dr. Larry Dougherty and Emma

The ADA is made up of individuals — here’s one two of them.

ADA New Dentist Now: Who are you?

Ana: I’m Dr. Ana Paula Ferraz-Dougherty, a proud member of Nova Southeastern University College of Dental Medicine class of 2008. I’m the co-owner of a dental practice in San Antonio, Texas with my husband, Dr. Larry Dougherty.

Larry: That’s me, Dr. Larry Dougherty, also Nova 2008. In addition to our practice, which we started from scratch about 2 ½ years ago, I teach dental anatomy one morning every week at the dental school here in San Antonio.

ADA NDN: Is this part one of your master plan or is this “happily ever after?”

Larry: Eventually I’d like to own the building rather than leasing space for the practice. I’d like for us to be known for having one excellent practice, rather than having multiple locations.

Ana: I don’t know that I’ll ever be in a “happily ever after” phase professionally. I have too much to accomplish.

ADA NDN: If you could have any job OTHER THAN dentistry, what would it be?

Ana: I’d be an actress living in Paris. This almost happened!

Larry: I would either be composing music for children’s television shows or working one of those jobs like in MONEYBALL where I analyze statistics to help professional sporting team make personnel decisions.

ADA NDN: Biggest surprise since leaving dental school?

Ana: I thought life would get a lot easier after dental school, but mostly it has just been a new set of challenges. I’m completing my teacher certification in yoga and I hope to teach some of what I’ve learned to my fellow dentists.

ADA NDN: Any advice for someone wanting to follow your career path?

Larry: Get involved with organized dentistry. After school there isn’t that built in group of peers and advisors, and that’s what I get out of being a member.

Interested in sharing your experience as a new dentist? If you are fewer than ten years out of dental school we’d love to hear from you! Contact us at newdentist@ada.org