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The ADA’s chief economist just dropped a bombshell

Feb. 23, 2018
Dr. Salierno agrees with Dr. Marko Vujicic that the way dentists are paid will change dramatically in the future. This may not be good news for dentists who already feel they aren't busy enough.
Chris Salierno, DDS, Chief Editor, Dental Economics

This article originally appeared in the Principles of Practice Management e-newsletter. Subscribe to this informative twice monthly practice management ENL here.

Please stop what you’re doing and read this op/ed piece from Journal of the American Dental Association. No, seriously . . . read the article right now because it MAY BE ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT WORKS IN THE ECONOMICS OF DENTISTRY IN OUR LIFETIME. When you’re done reading it, I’ll rejoin you in the next paragraph.

Glad to have you back. Dr. Marko Vujicic, the chief economist of the ADA, summarized several years of his research. Flat growth in adult dental care usage—cost is the major barrier to accessing care—it’s all laid out. Then Dr. Vujicic presents his four-part plan for how the dental profession can respond. He believes how people access care and how dentists are paid for their services will change radically.




I’m sure you don’t like hearing that restorative, fee-for-service care on senior citizens may be largely replaced with preventive, Medicare reimbursements. Of course, that’s a scary thought. We already feel that we’re not as busy as we used to be and that government insurance is only slightly more pleasant than private insurance. You’re supposed to feel some rage right now.

But I agree with Dr. Vujicic’s predictions. We don’t know how soon this change will take place. We don’t know exactly how traditional business models will fare after a surgical-preventive payment shift takes place. But here’s what we do know: dentists cannot afford to sit this one out with their heads in the sand.

Dr. Vujicic and I would love to hear your thoughts. Please email me at [email protected] or Dr. Vujicic at [email protected]. Or better yet, share this story and leave your comments (positive or negative) on social media. The ADA would love to hear from you on Twitter @adahpi. We absolutely must have a dialogue about the economic data and about what the future may hold. If you disagree, then disagree loudly and politely so that civil discourse can continue.



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About the Author

Chris Salierno, DDS | Chief Editor, Dental Economics

Chris Salierno, DDS, is the chief editor of Dental Economics and the editorial director of the Principles of Practice Management and Group Practice and DSO Digest e-newsletters. He is also a contributing author for DentistryIQ and Perio-Implant Advisory. He lectures and writes about practice management and clinical dentistry. He maintains a blog to answer patient questions at ToothQuest. Dr. Salierno maintains a private general practice in Melville, New York. You may contact him at [email protected].

Updated Dec. 4, 2020