Launching a practice? Don’t forget these 3 tasks

By | August 8, 2018

Are you thinking about starting your own practice? Or have you already taken the plunge and opened your first office?

Whether you’re a newbie or think you have it figured out, here are a few tasks you may not have thought about:

1. Check your local laws

This is especially true if you are moving from out of state. Your county and municipal governments may have regulations in place related to opening a dental practice that differ from the state and federal government. You always have to abide by the one that is the narrowest interpretation.

Questions to consider asking your local authorities:

  • Is there a municipal or county occupancy permit?
  • What about a building or remodeling permit?
  • Are there any additional Americans with Disabilities regulations with which you’ll need to comply?
  • What are the codes regarding the plumbing for your new office?
  • How about any preopening inspection rules or regulations?

Tip: Contact your state dental society before you pick a location and apply for building permits. They may be able to provide helpful information.

2. Check list of excluded individuals and entities status before hiring

Don’t know what this is? Then you definitely need to keep reading. All employers are required by federal law to check the List of Excluded Individuals and Entities (LEIE) on the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) website before hiring a potential employee. An individual may be excluded for a variety of reasons, including been convicted of certain criminal offenses, such as Medicare or Medicaid fraud or other health care related fraud or financial misconduct; having a felony conviction, especially pertaining to illegal manufacture and/or distribution of controlled substances; and patient neglect or abuse.

Why this is important:

  • With limited exceptions, no payment will be made by any federal health care program for any items or services furnished, ordered or prescribed by an excluded individual or entity, and no federal health care program payment will be made for anything that an excluded individual furnishes, orders or prescribes.
  • The OIG has the authority to seek civil monetary penalties against an individual or entity based on a wide variety of prohibited conduct, such as employing or contracting with an excluded individual.

Tip: Verifying is as easy as a visit to the LEIE Online Searchable Database. The OIG updates it monthly, so bookmark it and check back regularly.

3. Get your National Provider Identifier number

Since 1996, all health care providers are required to have a National Provider Identifier (NPI) number. NPI numbers that specify an individual, such as a solo practice dentist, are classified as Entity Type 1 (Individuals) NPI numbers. NPI numbers that specify a dental practice organization are classified as Entity Type 2 (Organizations) NPI numbers. The ADA provides an overview of the application process, including a list of Provider Taxonomy Codes, which you will need to complete the application. This is an alphanumeric code that designates a health care provider’s area of specialization.

Tip: You can visit the National Plan and Provider Enumeration System website to get started. NPI numbers take about one to five business days to process and then you will be sent an email. So check your inbox (and spam folder) regularly until you receive it.

Find these tips and many more in the ADA Center for Professional Success New Dental Practice Checklist.

This blog post, republished with permission, originally appeared in the spring 2018 issue of the ADA’s Dental Practice Success. The ADA Center for Professional Success is an interactive web portal that features practice management content and decision support tools with the goal of helping members practice successfully, learn conveniently and live well. Visit

4 thoughts on “Launching a practice? Don’t forget these 3 tasks

  1. Dave

    This is great information – we are opening a second location and just had to go through some of this!

  2. Dr. Bergman

    This would have been great to see. We started in Arizona and moved to Southern Utah, and there were a few adjustments we had to make to be fully compliant.


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