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Name change reflects growing trend toward group dental practices

It's official. The Dental Group Practice Association (DGPA) has changed its name to the Association of Dental Support Organizations (ADSO), effective today.

"The dental profession is going through a transformation – and DSOs are at the forefront, driving innovation and transformation within the dentist’s office," said Dr. Quinn Dufurrena, Executive Director of ADSO. "DSOs have provided non-clinical administrative support, from business to technology services, to licensed dentists for decades. This business partnership lets dentists focus on what they do best – providing oral health services to their patients.

"It is important that our organization’s name clearly reflects our mission and focus as DSOs to support dentists and help them deliver innovative, high quality, and cost effective care," Dr. Dufurrena continued. "We believe our new name – the Association of Dental Support Organization (ADSO) – does just that."

Non-DSO supported dentists, often referred to as solo practitioners, are still the majority in dentistry, but the tide is shifting. In 2010, 69% of dentists were solo practitioners, down from 76% in 2006. By comparison, group practices, many supported by DSOs, have increased by 25% from 2009 to 2011.

When asked if he cared to project how DSOs will grow in the next five years, Dr. Dufurrena said, "All signs read upwards. I believe this trend will continue as DSO support provides a sustainable model and viable option for dentists. Student indebtedness is a significant barrier to dentists making an investment in practices in 2011, nearly two-thirds of dental school graduates reported debt over $150,000 (versus just 28% in 2001). DSO support offers a cost-effective alternative to dentists seeking to establish a traditional model practice. In addition, DSOs enable contracting dentists to obtain and utilize the latest treatment and management technology, which helps improve patient safety and reduce laboratory and supply costs."

Today, ADSO supports an estimated 8,000-licensed dentists who operate in approximately 4,000 dental practice locations and account for more than 27 million patient visits per year. As patients experience barriers to quality oral health care, DSOs help dentists expand access by improving practice efficiency, which allows dentists to accept greater numbers of insurance plans while spending as much time as possible chair-side with their patients.

“By embracing the DSO model, dentists have found the most productive and balanced way to thrive and succeed in today’s environment,” said Doug Brown, President of ADSO and CEO of Affordable Care, Inc. “We want to ensure consumers have access to dentists – and DSOs help dentists reduce costs while improving job satisfaction and work/life balance.”

Dental Group Practice Association,now ADSO, was founded in 2007. To learn more, visit www.theadso.org.

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