Myth Versus Reality: Debunking DSO Stereotypes

Some stereotype DSOs and group dentistry as being solely interested in profits and growth while taking market share away from private (solo) practitioners. Some may even say DSOs only answer to their shareholders and private equity investment firms. Still others may stereotype DSOs as having leadership teams heavily staffed with male executives.

Most private practitioners and many dental support organizations need to build a patient base and earn a living based on the dental needs of their patients. Much like private practitioners, all DSOs are unique, and in reality, some DSOs are led by women.

One DSO that debunks all of the aforementioned stereotypes is My Community Dental Centers (MCDC). The largest not-for-profit 501(c)3 DSO in the United States, MCDC is dedicated to providing quality care to all, while serving low income and under-insured patients. They have also recently appointed Deborah E. Brown, DMD, as their organization’s new CEO.

Established in 2006 in Boyne City, Michigan, MCDC’s original goal was to serve 100,000 unduplicated patients annually. They currently operate 33 dental facilities in Michigan and reached their goal of serving 100,000 unduplicated patients in 2017. MCDC is the first nonprofit dental support organization to achieve this level of service.

Their patients are covered through Medicaid, Healthy Kids Dental, Healthy Michigan Plan and private dental insurance. The organization also offers programs for those without dental insurance which provides reduced fees based on household income.

The newly appointed leader, Dr. Brown, has most recently served as Senior Director for Dental Services for WellCare Health Plans, a Fortune 500 company that specializes exclusively in providing government sponsored managed care services. She brings an extensive executive background in oral health, non-profit management, and Medicaid as well as Medicare health insurance programs. She is also a member of the Medicaid Medicare CHIP Services Dental Association.

“I am thrilled to begin my new role at My Community Dental Centers. MCDC is well known for its dedication to serving people and communities in need, and unparalleled success as a government and community health partner. Joining this dedicated team, I am confident that we will work together to aid the health and well-being of more people while creating greater value for our partners, employees and the organization.” – Dr. Deborah Brown, CEO, My Community Dental Centers

In the past when a patient could not afford to go to the corner dentist, most likely, they would not go at all. Thanks to the progression of group dentistry and DSOs, the dental industry as a whole can now deliver a level of service that people need and expect, while still meeting the financial needs of their patients in more ways than ever before.

MCDC is not the only DSO breaking economic and gender stereotypes. Stay tuned to GDN, because as the DSO space grows, shifts, and evolves, GDN will be bringing you more stories like this.