Kim Coad, CDA, founder and owner of Compass Medical Provider (CMP) loves her work. Working alongside her husband; her sister, Heather; her two sons, Devin and Drew; and even one son’s girlfriend, she calls it a “family affair.”
According to the website, http://www.compassmedicalprovider.com, “CMP is dedicated to providing the highest quality of health-care specialists to accommodate the needs of the military, private practice, and government entities. CMP will contract highly trained, licensed, certified medical and dental contractors on a mission-by-mission, temporary, or full-time basis.”
Kim was led to her work because of her Dad, a Vietnam veteran and a medic. "A big reason for my work is to thank my dad for his service and to recognize what military people do,” she says.
Inspired since childhood by her father’s service, Kim is driven to provide the best dental care possible for U.S. troops. Her father, Lloyd Cochran, is also part of the family business and has supported his daughter every step of the way. “He works with me on our truck and is actively involved in the company,” she said.
Kim, a dental assistant in the field for 22 years, began her hands-on work with the military when there was an immediate need following 9-11. In that time she noticed a need for better dental care for National Guard Service members. Kim also found that, unfortunately, too many troops leave for duty without receiving proper dental care. They often don’t have X-rays taken, or don’t follow other important steps in their care because they are in a hurry to get a check in the deployable box.
“It’s our tax dollars at work,” she said, “and it’s a matter of right and wrong.” Troops often return from deployment with teeth broken off, or showing the effects of poor hygiene while overseas.
It’s important to Kim that the soldiers receive the basic care they need, as well as the more complex dental work that often includes surgery. In one instance, a soldier returned with his front teeth broken due to a blow to his face from a gun’s recoil. Dental repair of that type is expensive and often circumvented in the case of soldiers. “We make sure it’s done right and provide the proper equipment and materials,” Kim said. “They feel comfortable coming to us, which is what they need.”
CMP is also sensitive to the needs of soldiers suffering from post traumatic stress disorder. They provide a lounge area for soldiers to wait in before their appointments, located away from any machinery noise that might trigger their anxiety. “It’s a place they can just hang out and watch football,” said Kim.
CMP’s current operations include a training center in Salina, KS, mobile dental clinics in Leavenworth, KS, and Fort Riley, KS, and a mobile clinic in South Dakota. Some expansion is planned into Illinois, New Jersey, and Oklahoma, and they are looking for dentists to work on a recently obtained contract with the Cherokee Nation in Oklahoma.
But keeping it in the family means Kim doesn’t want the company to grow too big. “I prefer to keep CMP fairly small so that I can keep an eye on what’s going on and maintain a high standard of care for the soldiers,” Kim said. She speaks highly of her staff, and trusts them to handle training as the company expands. She treats the staff like family too, saying, “Our profit isn’t high because it’s important to me to treat my people well and pay them well.”
Kim gives employees the option to have their compensation donated to a charity of their choice if they work on a volunteer basis, and she allows them to work toward paying existing debts as well.
The soldiers pictured in this article are two of over 9,000 troops and airmen that CMP treats in Kansas alone. Those numbers are expected to rise drastically in light of the company’s expansion plans. Kim has high hopes of incorporating more case management into the business so that each soldier’s case can be followed through and properly documented.
Kim plans to be hands-on, like she is now, with every National Guard member her company treats as it expands. “They know my name when they come in, and they know they’ll treated like family while they’re here.”
Pictured are before and after shots (taken by Josh Hicks) of work done through CMP for two service members. Dr. Mark Herzog handled these cases with assistant, Melissa Schneider.
Editor's note: States regulate who can own and operate a dental practice, employ a dentist, and the level of control nondentist owners and managers may exercise over a dental practice. See your state dental practice act for more information. Dental practices operated on military bases or on Native American reservations are regulated by the federal government regardless of the state in which they are located.
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