Find your ideal practice situation with ADA Practice Transitions – Pilot opens April 1

ADA Practice Transitions fosters relationships between dentists at key points in their careers. The new service, piloting this spring in Maine and Wisconsin, pairs dentists looking to join or buy a practice with dentists looking to hire or sell. The online platform includes resources tailored to each dentist’s career stage and training to help achieve a successful transition. The service helps incoming dentists better articulate their goals and ideal practice, and then matches them with dentists and practices that share a similar philosophy of care.

ADA Practice Transitions assigns a dedicated Advisor to each partnership to help facilitate the process and provide personalized guidance and support. We spoke with Dr. Suzanne Ebert, the first ADA Practice Transitions Advisor, to learn more about the service and her background.

ADA: Dr. Ebert, can you please tell us a little about yourself?

Dr. Ebert: I am first and foremost a clinical general dentist. I spent 12 years in private practice after graduating from the University of Louisville and completing a GPR. I started my practice from scratch and ran it for 11 years, had some health concerns that forced me to consider other options, and sold that practice. Then, for six and a half years, I was the dental director for a Federally Qualified Health Center, where I worked closely with the senior students from the University of Florida as they delivered care to underserved populations. I have been heavily involved in organized dentistry, rising to the level of Trustee with the Florida Dental Association. My current role is the VP of Dental Practice and Relationship Management for the ADA Business Innovations Group, and I will be the first ADA Advisor for ADA Practice Transitions.

ADA: What led you to be part of ADA Practice Transitions?

Dr. Ebert

Dr. Ebert: I see this as an opportunity to help dentists address a real problem that we all face at some point in our careers. I have heard too many dentists less than 10 years out of school say that they feel “lost” as they search for career opportunities – they really do not know where to look, or what options are available to them. I have also heard from dentists who are considering selling or expanding their practices who have not thought through their own personal and financial goals.

Plus, I find it very disturbing that over 35% of dentists enter into associateships with no contract, which leaves both the incoming dentist and the owner dentist open to liability.

Every dentist I talk to has one primary concern: their patients. I want to be a part of ensuring that every patient has access to high quality dental care delivered by a dentist who is happy and confident that they are doing the best dentistry they can. I also want each dentist to have confidence that when they leave their practice, their patients will be taken care of.

ADA: Why do you think our profession needs ADA Practice Transitions now?

Dr. Ebert: As dentists retire – many without a solid transition plan – patients often lose the dentist they have trusted for years. When I sold my practice, very few of my patients remained with the new owners. Although they had many other choices in the area, I felt like I had let them down by not ensuring the practice continued delivering the same style of care that they had become accustomed to.

I wonder, if this service had been available, would the outcome would have been different?

I want to be a part of the solution that helps transform the profession and helps ensure patients have that continuity of care. That is what makes this worth the sacrifices – I left Florida for Chicago, and now I need an ankle-length parka, scarf, sweater, gloves and hat to get to my 100 sq ft office where I can be a part of the solution.

ADA: What can we expect from the ADA Advisor role?

Dr. Ebert: Dentists start participating in ADA Practice Transitions by completing a detailed online profile. Once the profile is submitted, the ADA Advisor reviews all the information and makes recommendations to ensure participants are representing themselves in the best possible way. As the system and ADA Advisor work to match platform participants, the Advisor sends dentists customized worksheets to help define their goals and expectations and guide them through the interview and evaluation process. As dentists work to formalize their relationship, the Advisor will also be there with resources that will help set expectations and identify milestones.

After the contracts have been signed, the Advisor will continue checking in to ensure that the first few months are going well and all parties are communicating effectively. Dentists will be provided with self-assessments and training tools to support these conversations. Finally, the Advisor will be there to make sure the transition is successful as dentists approach their milestones.

Watch a video to learn more at ADA.org/PracticeTransitions.

2 comments

  • Franson KS Tom, MS Ed, DMD

    Interesting. I am glad you are focused on the transition of the patients. My son does not treat patients like I do, so I can’t even afford to give him my practice without most patients leaving. He just wants a pay check and drill a few holes without responsibility nor managing a practice. I believe you are suggesting a mentor of a fellow professional where both parties need continuing education first. The young professional needs to be open to a mentor who is successfully practicing and living the lifestyle they both want. Politely believe everyone and confirm everything with professionals, not just family, friends, and fellow workers who are guessing like them. The mentor needs to learn how to mentor who become CARS of the young professionals GASP journey they rightly fear. CARS Coach strengths, Advise growth, Role model, Sponsor advancement of their Goals, Attitude, Sacrifice, Plan. It is a real world problem based learning where the mentor asks questions, so the young professional learns “how to think” rather than “what to think” once on a test and quickly forgotten in the clinic with the patient. The ADA can run courses how to work together in this transition i.e. 30-60 Second Introduction to get people to like you. People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you dare to care. You can get everything you want if you help enough people get what they want.

    Most owners leave when they sell, so patients, the only true real asset, also leave. Owners must mentor one year aka two 6-month ReCare or WeCare visits to convince patients you both care about their transition. The previous owner can mentor and associate for 20% collections to help encourage “success as a dentist” for at least one year and annually renewed upon mutual agreement. If the owner also offers to be the loaner with a reasonable down payment, then the mentor is ensuring the success of the young professional for mutually benefit. Of course, there are many more details to confirm i.e. landlord and current team of workers, but this is the basic transition outline. I will be happy to help.

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