Menu Icon Search
Close Search

About the ads

  1. If you prefer the SDN Blue style, go to the bottom left of the page and select "SDN Blue"

Everything You Need To Know About ASPEN DENTAL

Discussion in 'Dental' started by Cold Front, 01.27.13.


  1. Thanks to Crack the NBDE
  1. Cold Front

    Cold Front Supreme Member

    Joined:
    12.06.05
    Messages:
    1,141
    Location:
    Boston, MA
    Status:
    Dentist
    SDN 7+ Year Member

    SDN Members don't see this ad. (About Ads)
    The following is a civil lawsuit document which will give you a good tour of ASPEN DENTAL. From private equity based business, dentist compensation and partnership, and the patients view of the company.

    http://www.scribd.com/doc/122191581/Aspen-Dental-Amended-Class-Action-Complaint-Filed-1-18-2013
  2. billythekid

    billythekid

    Joined:
    05.18.08
    Messages:
    183
    Status:
    Dental Student
    SDN 5+ Year Member
    Shady. Thanks for posting
  3. Cold Front

    Cold Front Supreme Member

    Joined:
    12.06.05
    Messages:
    1,141
    Location:
    Boston, MA
    Status:
    Dentist
    SDN 7+ Year Member
    ASPEN is owned by Leonard Green & Partners, L.P., private equity firm (that has no dentists on it's board) with over $15 billion of private equity capital raised since inception. LGP has invested in 62 companies with aggregate value of $54.6 billion. The big names it invested are:

    Rite Aid, 1999.

    Big 5 Sporting Goods, 1992.

    Petco, 2006.

    Leslie's Poolmart, June 1997.

    Sports Authority, February 2003.

    Varsity Brands Inc., April 2003.

    FTD Group, Inc., October 2003.

    David's Bridal, November 2006.

    Priscilla of Boston, April 2007.

    The Container Store, July 2007.

    Whole Foods Market, November 2008.

    Based on the lawsuit, ASPEN business model is very similar to Petco and all these other companies.
  4. Ferneezy

    Ferneezy I don't always Go Blue, but when I do...

    Joined:
    06.19.09
    Messages:
    1,096
    Status:
    Dental Student
    SDN 5+ Year Member
    skimmed to about page 30. the laughs come easier with each passage read.

    tragic.
  5. Bobby Fischer

    Bobby Fischer

    Joined:
    06.15.11
    Messages:
    483
    If they were 1/2way honest they'd merge with Taco Bell, fuse their locations and offer a free filling with every purchase of a #10 meal.:laugh:

    Hate all the shenanigans in modern big box store, outsourcing of child labor, overly-franchised, non-local, shady quality america. Its like the opposite of what america was founded upon.

    Seriously, why can't a bunch of ADA big wigs get together, hire a team of top notch lawyers, and shut these disgusting dental franchises down?

    please don't tell me be because the ADA is on the take.:confused:

    great thread OP. Thanks so much for sharing.
  6. Ferneezy

    Ferneezy I don't always Go Blue, but when I do...

    Joined:
    06.19.09
    Messages:
    1,096
    Status:
    Dental Student
    SDN 5+ Year Member
    paragraph 226...

    18. cmon now.
  7. Cold Front

    Cold Front Supreme Member

    Joined:
    12.06.05
    Messages:
    1,141
    Location:
    Boston, MA
    Status:
    Dentist
    SDN 7+ Year Member
    Texas Dental Association and the state legislator are working on a bill to go after these type of chains. I'm sure more states will follow.

    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/front...oposes-crackdown-on-for-profit-dental-chains/
  8. Daurang

    Daurang

    Joined:
    12.06.06
    Messages:
    1,218
    Status:
    Dentist
    SDN 7+ Year Member
    Their office windows have banners offering free xray and exam. Their tv ad is offering custom denture at a cheap 3rd-world price of only $399. How can they be accuse to putting profits before patients when they're providing free and cheap services?
  9. 7 Iron

    7 Iron

    Joined:
    10.08.10
    Messages:
    683
    Status:
    Dental Student
    SDN 2+ Year Member
    Cheap? Those ads are just to get the patients in the door. I was amazed at the costs of those treatment plans that were sold to those poor patients in the lawsuit. And that's only a very small number of the patients. When you go in expecting 1 small composite restoration and then you're told that you need 6 crowns, that is putting profits before patients. This happened to an old co-worker of mine.
  10. Cold Front

    Cold Front Supreme Member

    Joined:
    12.06.05
    Messages:
    1,141
    Location:
    Boston, MA
    Status:
    Dentist
    SDN 7+ Year Member
    This is beyond free exams and dentures. Their employees are testifying to other host of unethical problems. Can't believe the ADA will not comment on these things, as this lawsuit will question the standards of doing dentistry in many parts of the country.

    108. In an email from an ADMI Regional Operations Manager to a group of Office Managers, entitled “EYE ON THE PRIZE!!!,” the Regional Operations Manager instructed as follows: Ladies and gentleman-Please review your schedules and open work today I would like to know what each of you have planned to get back into the black. Looking through most of the schedules we are very week on getting appointments made. If a patient has more than one fill we should try to schedule multiples together.
    Denture cases are priority so please move non-priority procedures out and priority procedures in. Remember: rock, water, sand.


    109. By way of further example of how ADMI influences dentistry, an ADMI Regional Manager sent an email to numerous ADMI Managing Clinical Directors,Regional Managers, and Office Managers advising, among other things:MCDs – When TX [i.e., Treatment] planning thirds for surgical extraction please default to soft tissue impaction instead of surgical … when in doubt upgrade to the higher extraction … please make sure that Alveo and Frenectomy are in the TX [i.e., Treatment Plan]. When you are very uncertain either call Dr. Yu or email him on his personal email not the company email ….. Thanks :eek:
  11. gryffindor

    gryffindor

    Joined:
    02.02.02
    Messages:
    2,772
    Status:
    Dentist
    Dentist SDN 10+ Year Member
    Aspen probabaly paid off the ADA a long time ago.
  12. Cold Front

    Cold Front Supreme Member

    Joined:
    12.06.05
    Messages:
    1,141
    Location:
    Boston, MA
    Status:
    Dentist
    SDN 7+ Year Member
    What's the point of being an ADA member and paying for the membership? Dentists should stop supporting the ADA for not acting on something at this large scale (over 400 offices at just 1 company, and they plan to open 100 more in couple of years). New grads end up at Aspen and they help the problems grow and continue, even after they leave Aspen and work at other offices. Corporate dentistry is dictating ethical standards and encouraging everything a dentist shouldn't do.
  13. Bobby Fischer

    Bobby Fischer

    Joined:
    06.15.11
    Messages:
    483
    I find it unsettling to say the least that this is not being dealt with head on by the ADA. Silence is incriminating it would seem in this instance.
  14. HappyAspenDoc

    HappyAspenDoc

    Joined:
    01.29.13
    Messages:
    7
    Status:
    Dentist
    I have worked for Aspen for two and a half years and I have never been told how to treatment plan any cases. As Aspen doctors we have complete autonomy when it comes to clinical matters. I was in private practice for 10 years and I treatment plan the same way in my Aspen office as I did in private practice.
  15. periopocket

    periopocket

    Joined:
    08.26.11
    Messages:
    1,100
    Status:
    Dental Student
    SDN 2+ Year Member
    How difficult is it to get a job at aspen as a new grad?
  16. UCSFx2017

    UCSFx2017 username is misleading

    Joined:
    10.11.07
    Messages:
    1,079
    Location:
    MCV/VCU
    Status:
    Dental Student
    SDN 7+ Year Member
    When a corporation's business plan aspires to open as many profit-driven offices as possible, I think we have an impending doom for the traditional way of homely, patient-minded private practice dentistry as more desperate newly grads look for employment at places like Aspen.
  17. HappyAspenDoc

    HappyAspenDoc

    Joined:
    01.29.13
    Messages:
    7
    Status:
    Dentist
    I have made several of these $399 dentures and the quality is excellent. The fee is $399 per arch and they are made in our in house labs by our own full time lab technicians, in my office our techs have a combined 50+ years of experience. This is a great service for our patients who desire a high quality denture at a great price.
  18. HappyAspenDoc

    HappyAspenDoc

    Joined:
    01.29.13
    Messages:
    7
    Status:
    Dentist
    We have well trained recruiters that we rely on to find us the best new grads out there. We have many offices across the country so we are continually hiring the best doctors.
  19. periopocket

    periopocket

    Joined:
    08.26.11
    Messages:
    1,100
    Status:
    Dental Student
    SDN 2+ Year Member
    Happy aspen - I only ask out of interest! How can one make themselves more competitive for this position? AEGD, GPR...do any individuals get positions upon graduation?
  20. HappyAspenDoc

    HappyAspenDoc

    Joined:
    01.29.13
    Messages:
    7
    Status:
    Dentist
    In my opinion, there will always be new grads that want to own or be employed by a private practice and there will always be new grads that want to work in a corporate setting.
  21. HappyAspenDoc

    HappyAspenDoc

    Joined:
    01.29.13
    Messages:
    7
    Status:
    Dentist
    We hire new grads who do AEGD's and GPR's and we hire some that do not. We have Associate Doctors who work under the guidance of Managing Clinical Directors. The new grads that have more experience have a better opportunity to become a Managing Clinical Directors.
  22. UCSFx2017

    UCSFx2017 username is misleading

    Joined:
    10.11.07
    Messages:
    1,079
    Location:
    MCV/VCU
    Status:
    Dental Student
    SDN 7+ Year Member
    There wouldn't be any if states started barring unregulated Private Equity owned dental clinics.

    http://www.protectqualitydentalcare.org/

    http://www.drbicuspid.com/index.aspx?sec=sup&sub=pmt&pag=dis&ItemID=310662&wf=37

    [YOUTUBE]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hEsuJd8Xqy0[/YOUTUBE]
  23. periopocket

    periopocket

    Joined:
    08.26.11
    Messages:
    1,100
    Status:
    Dental Student
    SDN 2+ Year Member
    So you do hire some associates with no AEGD or GPR?! That's great!
  24. UCSFx2017

    UCSFx2017 username is misleading

    Joined:
    10.11.07
    Messages:
    1,079
    Location:
    MCV/VCU
    Status:
    Dental Student
    SDN 7+ Year Member
  25. Cold Front

    Cold Front Supreme Member

    Joined:
    12.06.05
    Messages:
    1,141
    Location:
    Boston, MA
    Status:
    Dentist
    SDN 7+ Year Member
    First of all, it seems like you joined these forums just to comment on this topic, and as obvious as it seems, you are trying to not sink with the ship by hanging on to your associate/MCD/POP position with Aspen.

    I "was" Aspen dentist, and was offered to become a partner with $750k potential annual salary, but refused it because I don't believe in treatment planning my patients based on production goals set by venture capitalists and former KFC manager. I know few former Aspen dentists and managers who helped Senator Grassley with the Aspen Dental investigation, and they have a lot on the company than you realize. You are obviously too busy focusing on your monthly production goal to realize what's happening in other Aspens, let a lone your own Aspen office (ie. ASPEN hygienist recommend SRP to every patient without the doctors presence).

    Read the lawsuit, and if you disagree with anything, I would be me more than happy to send you to Senator Grassley's contact and you explain why everything that was investigated and deemed unethical seems right to you.
    GroverPsychMD likes this.
  26. HappyAspenDoc

    HappyAspenDoc

    Joined:
    01.29.13
    Messages:
    7
    Status:
    Dentist


    Cold Front, I am sorry that you had such a negative experience with Aspen Dental. I proud of the work that I do in my office and I am equally proud to represent Aspen in the local community, I think we all need to be careful of generalizations. By the way, you are correct that I did join this forum when I was informed about this topic, I think it is important to present both sides of the issue.
  27. Bobby Fischer

    Bobby Fischer

    Joined:
    06.15.11
    Messages:
    483
    ^^^ HOW MUCH YOU WANT TO BET THIS POSTER IS PART OF THE ASPEN CORPORATE PR DEPARTMENT, AND OR A STOCKHOLDER.:laugh::laugh::laugh: psst: don't be so OBVIOUS!
  28. Bobby Fischer

    Bobby Fischer

    Joined:
    06.15.11
    Messages:
    483
    HOW MUCH YOU WANT TO BET HappyAspenDoc IS PART OF THE ASPEN CORPORATE PR DEPARTMENT, AND OR A STOCKHOLDER. psst: don't be so OBVIOUS!


    Exactly.:cool: Dear reader note the use of the term 'we'.
    GroverPsychMD likes this.
  29. Bobby Fischer

    Bobby Fischer

    Joined:
    06.15.11
    Messages:
    483
  30. Bobby Fischer

    Bobby Fischer

    Joined:
    06.15.11
    Messages:
    483
    ^^ WELL SAID...FOR A CORPORATE TROLL. DID YOUR TEAM OF LAWYERS APPROVE THAT STATEMENT?:laugh::laugh::laugh:
  31. suarez 7

    suarez 7

    Joined:
    01.31.12
    Messages:
    240
    Status:
    Dental Student
    SDN 2+ Year Member
    Wow so much for a desperate PR attempt by Aspen.

    Anyone who really believes anything you say has to be really gullible, since all the evidence points against you. Read the damn lawsuit ffs
  32. Ferneezy

    Ferneezy I don't always Go Blue, but when I do...

    Joined:
    06.19.09
    Messages:
    1,096
    Status:
    Dental Student
    SDN 5+ Year Member
    relax, bobby. the majority of this thread's audience gets that bias exists on both sides of this conversation.
  33. UCSFx2017

    UCSFx2017 username is misleading

    Joined:
    10.11.07
    Messages:
    1,079
    Location:
    MCV/VCU
    Status:
    Dental Student
    SDN 7+ Year Member
    Seriously! With a practice that is owned and operated by a dentist, you can safely assume that the doctor, who has been roughly screened by dental schools to be morally-fit and empathetic professionals and has sworn an oath to public service, will put the interests of patients first. They're doctors first and businessmen (or women) second. Patients have at least some ground to assume that every decision coming out of their office originated from such a person. This is not the case with dental chains where the dentist is not the boss. Every payment and treatment plan decision does not arise directly from the doctor. Ultimately, the dentist there is taking orders from managers and not working for and collaborating with the patient. Being employed by certain private equity dental clinics takes away some of the roles assumed by the dentist in being patient-minded professionals because their decision making is filtered and regulated by profit-driven managers.
  34. Cold Front

    Cold Front Supreme Member

    Joined:
    12.06.05
    Messages:
    1,141
    Location:
    Boston, MA
    Status:
    Dentist
    SDN 7+ Year Member
    Really?

    [YOUTUBE]v4KR1zVqizo[/YOUTUBE]
  35. goffdent

    goffdent

    Joined:
    01.06.08
    Messages:
    357
    Location:
    CORN
    Status:
    Dental Student
    SDN 5+ Year Member
    There are dentures with cheap $5 teeth that wear out in a year or two, and there's $70 teeth that last 10-20 years.. That's a difference in the cost.. But someone who doesn't have $1100 an arch can maybe afford a "cheap" (economically and physically) set of dentures and at least have teeth.
  36. Cold Front

    Cold Front Supreme Member

    Joined:
    12.06.05
    Messages:
    1,141
    Location:
    Boston, MA
    Status:
    Dentist
    SDN 7+ Year Member
    Aspen advertizes their cheapest dentures to get patients through the door, but doctor's are encouraged to treatment plan the premium dentures (which is part of the 2 weeks corporate training process in New York when you join ASPEN as a dentist), even if patients can't afford it. That's why almost every patient is offered CareCredit, a financing option offer by GE (who is in bed with Aspen). The profit margin of the premium dentures is much higher, so the patients trust the doctor's recommendations, which is REALLY based on maximizing profits. This is very dangerous line that is crossed every day at ASPEN offices, and without regulations could lead to big consequences for the standards of the profession.
  37. goffdent

    goffdent

    Joined:
    01.06.08
    Messages:
    357
    Location:
    CORN
    Status:
    Dental Student
    SDN 5+ Year Member
    I completely believe that.. pretty sad. Can you say used car sales? I guess all aspen needs are these out front.....
    [​IMG]
  38. Cold Front

    Cold Front Supreme Member

    Joined:
    12.06.05
    Messages:
    1,141
    Location:
    Boston, MA
    Status:
    Dentist
    SDN 7+ Year Member
    Exactly, so patients are defrauded via ASPEN-dentist assurances. Once patients get on CareCredit, they are locked into the deal, and most of the time turns to a debt the patient could not afford to be in in the first place. The burden of financial loss is devastating for patients who wanted to stay within their $399 denture budget. Imagine someone sold told you they would sell you a FORD car at a great deal, and you walked out with a Mercedes.

    In 2010, Leonard Green and Partners took a full control of all Aspen offices for $547 million. They want to make sure their investment grows fast, whether we call it a sham or not. This is BIG business.
  39. doc toothache

    doc toothache

    Joined:
    01.17.06
    Messages:
    6,367
    Status:
    Dentist
    SDN 7+ Year Member
    This lawsuit appears to be quite a hit among private practitioners; this case seems to be more about legal issues surrounding corporate involvement than about the quality/appropriateness of dental treatment provided. While there is no mention of substandard dental work done, it is implied in #106 by reference to "foreign trained dentists". Since "the educational requirement in nearly all states is a DDS or DMD degree from a university-based dental education program accredited by the American Dental Association Commission on Dental Accreditation (ADA CODA)" (1), the only dentists that would fit this definition would be Canadians dental school graduates. All others would likely have completed 2 years of dental school and be both foreign and US trained dentists. The attorneys appear to be a little confused about the protocol for new patients which does require a full dental exam before any procedures are done. It is interesting to note that not for one of the eleven plaintiffs was there any mention of lack of quality of treatment provided.

    http://www.ada.org/492.aspx
  40. shuckin wizzies

    shuckin wizzies

    Joined:
    01.30.13
    Messages:
    8
    Status:
    Dentist
    I used to read the SDN forums regularly before and during dental school, though I never created an account. I haven't been on the site for a while but a friend of mine that is still in dental school told me about this thread. After reading all the posts, I felt a need to share my thoughts. So, I created an account...

    I graduated from dental school in 2011, and upon graduation I worked with a solo practitioner for just under a year. While in private practice, I used care credit as an option for patients to get the treatment they needed/wanted. The dentist I worked with had no marketing strategy, and a bad location, and had very little concern for patient convenience (no late hours, no weekends, over $250 for new patient exam and X-rays). After a frustrating several months (mostly due to a low new patient count), I decided to look elsewhere for work. I looked into several opportunities, and decided on working for Aspen. I had some concerns with a corporate setting, especially with not wanting the "factory" feel. Also, I didn't want anyone breathing down my neck to do any unnecessary treatment. I was told that it would not be the case.

    I have worked for Aspen for about a year now, and I can say that I am happy with the decision that I made. There has never been any questioning of my treatment plans. I have never been asked to do anything that I was uncomfortable with. I am the only dentist in the office, with a staff of 7. It feels a lot like a small private practice. The office manager is laid back, and there is no high pressure sales going on. Due to the advertising and location, I see about 6 new patients per day. The free exam and X-rays make it nice for the patients. I regularly see patients that haven't been to the dentist in 10+ years, and it was the free exam that got them in. They often accept treatment because it was less than they expected. Many patients are glad to have Carecredit to allow monthly payments. So I see the free exams and Care credit as very ethical. Sure, a pushy office manager can take advantage of people, but that is not a problem limited to corporate dentistry.

    I have found the pay structure to be fair. The more dentistry you do, the more you make. That sounds pretty American to me, and definitely normal for traditional small practices. The staff is paid pretty average compared to the other dental offices in my area.

    I have complete autonomy with clinical decisions. I order what materials I want to use. I choose amalgam or composites. I choose what types of crowns. I can refer endo, or do endo. I choose procedure times. If I want a little longer for that tricky bridge prep or DO on #2, I tell whoever schedules it to give me more time.

    I have a great relationship with my patients. I have time to shoot the breeze with them. I get thank you cards in the mail. I cry with my patients over a diagnosis of terminal cancer. I have a great relationship with the staff. There is very little drama. We are busy but not overstressed.

    Now for the bad.... With free exams comes drug seekers. Not a lot, but some. But clearly explaining that we are not a drug dispensary helps. I get patients that want me to fix today a problem that took them years to develop. Maybe the heavy advertising brings in a higher percentage of people with a low dental IQ. Sometimes there is some politicking due the fact that it's a big company, and there is a structured "hierarchy". I also get "trouble patients" dumped on me by other Aspen offices. It's frustrating and can lead to inter-office conflict. I can't set my fees, which isn't a big deal to me. Before taking time off, I have to make sure there is a "float" dentist available, which can be frustrating if something comes up with short notice (weddings, etc.)

    In short, I feel good about Aspen as a company. It has developed a streamlined system to provide dental care. Yes, it is owned by investors, but I am at peace with that. Dentistry is a profitable business, and I have no problem with it as long as the clinical decisions are made by licensed dentists. The company is far from perfect. I don't know if I will work with them forever, but I am happy with where I am for now.

    I hope this helps contribute to the discussion. By no means am I asking anyone to drink the Aspen kool-aid, but they have been fair with me, and I have seen no dishonest business practices. I see more shady stuff going on in some of the private practices around me.
  41. Bobby Fischer

    Bobby Fischer

    Joined:
    06.15.11
    Messages:
    483
    ^^^

    soooooo you read these forums 'regularly' as a predent (lets round to 3 years), read them regularly as a dental student (4 years) and never created an account to comment on anything you read in all those years...until exactly...now.

    :eyebrow:

    I call another incarnation of the big business corporate dental franchise lawyer/ stockholder/ PR machine. :cool:

    Its likely they have computers full of posts like this already fabricated and ready to simply be cut and pasted at the click of a mouse in order to sway opinions. Who is to say it isn't a condition of employment to post at least one plug when an employed dentist comes across an online conversation like this?

    These big corporate businesses are so large who is to say these aren't bots making posts like this?
    GroverPsychMD likes this.
  42. Cold Front

    Cold Front Supreme Member

    Joined:
    12.06.05
    Messages:
    1,141
    Location:
    Boston, MA
    Status:
    Dentist
    SDN 7+ Year Member
    Yes, corporate involvement is the focus of the lawsuit.

    The lawsuit calls into question the legality of ASPEN aka ADMI, and big junk of their offices that are owned, operated and controlled by private equity firms and executives who are not licensed dentists, and who employ licensed professionals who are incentivized to maximize production by financial rewards and channel all revenues and profits to the non-physician owners. The lawsuit also underlines that this practice interferes with a dentist's independent judgment and leads to decisions based on profits rather than health and medical needs.

    Case in point in EVERY ASPEN OFFICE: Patient sees an ad on TV about ASPEN free exams and cheap denture, schedules an appointment through ASPEN call center, Patient comes to the office and sees Doctor/Dentist, who recommends a treatment (a denture with extractions), Patient is then escorted to the Managers Office, Manager explains 5 different type of DENTURES and recommends PREMIUM dentures to the patient over CHEAP dentures. FINAL treatment: PREMIUM denture + Surgical EXTRACTIONS (instead of SIMPLE). Doctor was not in the Manager room the whole time while patient was talked into the modified version of the Treatment.

    Ofcourse the standard of clinical procedure is never the issue, but the profit-driven business model who targets low-income and unsophisticated consumers who have not had regular dentist visits, and then get pressured into committing to expensive treatment plans while maxing out their insurance and forcing them to take out health care credit cards, such as CareCredit, to cover the balance owed for the costly procedures. ASPEN guidelines detail "priority procedures"—those with the greatest profit margins—and remind ASPEN staff to maximize these practices and minimize others.

    All FACT.
  43. Cold Front

    Cold Front Supreme Member

    Joined:
    12.06.05
    Messages:
    1,141
    Location:
    Boston, MA
    Status:
    Dentist
    SDN 7+ Year Member
    I'm sure ASPEN offered you an alternative business model to a private practice, but they exploit thousands of good, honest people who were deceived by ASPEN's façade of legitimacy and relied on the sanctity of the dentist-patient relationship that hundreds of other dentists like yourself provide.

    Your contract clearly classifies you as an "EMPLOYEE", not a "DENTIST". That's all you are to the executives, if they read your post, they would probably not know what "DO on #2" means.

    As long as everyone is making good money, why should there be a problem, Right?
  44. jay47

    jay47 Think Positively!

    Joined:
    08.04.07
    Messages:
    1,068
    Status:
    Dentist
    SDN 5+ Year Member
    I for one am NOT for corporate dentistry, but on the other hand, corporate in of itself is not necessarily bad. I have seen private practices just as bad as some corporate offices. However, it always comes down to the "owner"/"captain" of each office (for Aspen, that's the chief dentist in charge). They may prescribe to the "corporate bullwhip" approach to treatment planning, or they may be a highly ethical and standup dentist. Whether the latter will ever be able to stay at a place like this is unknown to me, but it seems like the best decisions really are the most ethical ones. Profits don't come from "upselling" dentures and pissing people off, but setting a fair price for dentures, getting good (or maybe acceptable is a better term for dentures) results, and getting all of their friends who also need dentures to come in because you did a great job. The long term benefits of continued profits from a patient are worth the short term loss of upselling treatments. The real caveat is to not allow yourself to do treatments with piss poor results, like I assume $300 dentures would get you. Nobody benefits from dentures that wear out in a year and have to be made anew. Patient gets pissed off, you don't get their return business, and things suck for everyone.
  45. Cold Front

    Cold Front Supreme Member

    Joined:
    12.06.05
    Messages:
    1,141
    Location:
    Boston, MA
    Status:
    Dentist
    SDN 7+ Year Member
    This is not even remotely close to what the lawsuit is about. The doctors are not the issue, whether you are a stand-up doctor or not, the system has a bottom line.

    The private equity in dentistry structure has become such a popular investment vehicle that many large deals have recently been completed with the help of a private equity firm or management company backing the deal. Below is a summary of some of the largest, most recent deals in this type of industry.

    Here are some other areas ASPEN like problems are brewing:

    • August 8, 2012 – Private equity firm H.I.G. Capital LLC acquired InterDent, Inc., a provider of dental practice management and licensing services. The acquisition is intended to allow InterDent to expand its business operations and offer dental care services to multi-specialty dental practices.

    • March 28, 2012 – Following OMERS’s acquisition of Great Expressions Dental (see below), Great Expressions acquired Exceldent, LLC, another dental practice management company. The acquisition allows Great Expressions Dental to expand its footprint in the Northeast region and brings the total number of Great Expressions Dental offices to 170. Great Expressions Dental now covers nine different states.

    • May 14, 2012 – Topspin Partners LBO and AUA Private Equity Partners, LLC, private equity firms, made an investment in Brighter Dental Care, a dental practice management company.

    I still remember my last day at a corporate dental office... it was very similar to this.

    [YOUTUBE]L5gZrgGXOco[/YOUTUBE]
  46. goffdent

    goffdent

    Joined:
    01.06.08
    Messages:
    357
    Location:
    CORN
    Status:
    Dental Student
    SDN 5+ Year Member
    Question.. Even if a manager goes over a treatment plan with a patient.. is it not the person doing the treatment when it comes down to it who decides what happens? To clarify.. If a full mouth extraction is occurring in someone with severe periodontitis and class 3 mobility all over, how can you just make a "simple extraction" into a surgical one and bill them as surgical? Wouldn't you have to call it simple if you only put an elevator and forceps to it? If you needed surgical on 1 tooth, you would bill surgical for the 1 tooth, not for 20. So at the end of the procedure, wouldn't the dentist charge the correct fee, even though a manager planned the higher cost? That way cost is going down from the quoted price and pt remains satisfied..

    I'm just curious because I don't see how someone not doing the work can bill you out for work that wasn't done. I can see them "tx planning it" and quoting the highest price and going down from there.. that's just smart for your patients' satisfaction.

    However in the case of dentures, I could see someone convincing someone into cadillacs with a payment plan vs. the cheapos and getting it in the patient's head that the cadillac is right for them.
  47. Cold Front

    Cold Front Supreme Member

    Joined:
    12.06.05
    Messages:
    1,141
    Location:
    Boston, MA
    Status:
    Dentist
    SDN 7+ Year Member
    Like I said in many previous posts, the dentist is never at fault, but the management creates many unethical situations for patients, like the 11 who are suing ASPEN under the current lawsuit.

    The manager is a big part of the treatment planning equation. He or she is trained how to sell and make patient accept items on the treatment plan at their highest value. Not only that, but treatment will also be charged in ADVANCE before the patient gets their treatment is performed by the dentist. So extractions can be pre-billed as surgical or soft tissue when they were not, same goes for the hygiene department and their SRP's and tons of other items insurances don't cover. All prepaid through CareCredit.

    Managers are hawks for reversing any payments or differences, even if doctors did not perform the items on the treatment plan, as it could cost them their performance evaluation and their job eventually. So the ICD-9 billing code are totally under the Managers control, and many patients are not well informed to understand the billing process, and the dentists never deal with that aspect of the office.
  48. billythekid

    billythekid

    Joined:
    05.18.08
    Messages:
    183
    Status:
    Dental Student
    SDN 5+ Year Member
    Cold Front, thank you for advocating for the future of dentistry.

    I think the root of the problem is the rising cost of dental schools, pressuring new grads to make as much money as possible, as soon as possible.
  49. yappy

    yappy

    Joined:
    07.11.08
    Messages:
    2,862
    Status:
    Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
    SDN 5+ Year Member
    Read through that document. It's sickening and cheapens the entire profession. You think these corp firms will be around when the dust settles and dentistry is a freakin' joke like used-car-lot-style-nail-salons. I've encouraged everyone I know to avoid corporate dental offices in the past because of how upsold I felt and the mandatory ortho evaluation I didn't want occurred. However, the issues raised blow me away. Hopefully this some how gets squashed because I would rather work for the army @ 90k /yr than making 150k working for a PE group and being bossed around by an high school grad office manager.

    I agree with you billthekid. That and many owning dentists don't take on associates or invest time to grow their practices to help accommodate them. These PE groups are eating our lunch because the risk of ownership is made too high by large student loans. Who goes to dental school to be someones "employee"?
    Last edited: 01.30.13
  50. Cold Front

    Cold Front Supreme Member

    Joined:
    12.06.05
    Messages:
    1,141
    Location:
    Boston, MA
    Status:
    Dentist
    SDN 7+ Year Member
    The best way to fight ASPEN is if the ADA speaks up for dentists against corporate dentistry, and Better Business Bureau (BBB) listens to the complaints from ASPEN patients who are being over-billed and getting dental services they don't need, which directly contributes to the patient's decisions of never seeing a dentist again. State level dental associations should be more aware of the ASPEN schemes and work with dental schools to help new graduates avoid ASPEN style dentistry, where new grads are trained the ASPEN way through corporate trainings. More emphasis of ethics in the work place in school curriculums.

    The internet is full of ASPEN complaints. ASPEN has an entire department dedicated to damage-control from patients and staff who want to warn the rest of society.

    Remember, ASPEN dentists are recruited by non-dentists, trained by non-dentists, and directly managed in the office by non-dentists on how they should treatment plan (classic example is the ASPEN perio program, which is not taught in dental school as a standard of dentistry, i.e. Arestin in all 6 pockets of a tooth on multiple teeth in all perio patients, thanks to their supplier recommendations - Zila, who sells all perio products to Aspen as a pre-packaged hygient products as a bundle).

    The lawsuit is broad, but it can be expose all the other companies who are profiting from this GREED scheme.

// Share //

Style: SDN Universal