For better or worse, Dental Support Organizations are growing rapidly in the dental industry. These organizations carry a colorful spectrum of reputations ranging from excellent and sophisticated to disorganized and predatory. As a clinician or professional in the dental market, it is critical to have a well-informed and experienced team of advisors and attorneys that can walk you through the benefits and draw-backs of selling to or partnering with a DSO. Wood and Morgan’s partners are each well-versed in this nuanced area of law and are happy to help with DSO sales, partnerships, formations and ensuring compliance with applicable state laws, rules and regulations.
Here are a few benefits of selling to or partnering with a DSO:
1. Administrative Support
As every clinician knows, there is far more to running a successful dental practice than clinical care. These practices require a great deal of administrative work, which can interfere with the actual practice of dentistry. Late nights and weekends can be spent handling administrative tasks like accounting, tax management, insurance compliance, credentialing, on-boarding new staff, marketing and ordering supplies and equipment. A lot of time can be spent on accounting, financing, tax management, insurance compliance, marketing, and ordering supplies.
Many DSOs leverage professional teams and their expertise to assume and improve these back-office operations to afford dentists more time to spend on personal, family and clinical care.
2. Legal Compliance
Legal compliance is scary for a reason. It involves myriad local, county, state and federal laws, rules, orders, ordinances and regulations. Another benefit of working with a sophisticated team of professionals at a DSO is their access to legal counsel, which they leverage to reduce the costs of legal compliance among their various partner practices.
3. Human Resources and Talent Management
Human resources and talent management in many states has become maddeningly difficult. From increasing wages to frivolous lawsuits to a shrinking talent pool, many clinicians have found that working with a DSO can offload these difficulties. Some of these organizations bring expertise to the human resources and talent management arms of a dental practice to keep practices efficient from hiring and onboarding, benefits, employee handbooks, training, and promotion through parting ways. Even if a clinician decides against working with a DSO, it is always important to have a professional team of advisors throughout this process.
4. Equipment, Supplies and Technology
Simply put, partnering with a large organization with bargaining power has its utility. It is incredibly expensive to modernize a practice with all the bells and whistles in today’s economy. Additionally, the costs of supplies, PPE, and other expenses continue to rise. Another benefit of partnering with a DSO is to obtain access to the rebates, discounts and special opportunities to purchase modern equipment. These benefits, however, must be analyzed with an eye toward the other expenses a practitioner will pay to be a partner or member of a DSO. Be advised that these charges can be significant and hidden from plain view in sale or partnership documents, or both.
Last but not least: Money. This is the trickiest potential benefit of a sale or partnership with a DSO. Most DSOs are sophisticated players with financial analysts and legal minds devoted to the DSOs’ bottom line. We cannot stress how important it is for clinicians to engage professional advisors to counterbalance the DSOs’ team in taking a practice to market or evaluating a partnership opportunity. There are myriad ways that an initial, attractive purchase price can be whittled away after contingencies, standards and deadlines are not met. Again, do not transact with a group of professionals alone.
We Support Clinicians in Their Transactions with DSOs
As leaders in this field, we are happy to discuss these ramifications and others to help you identify a buyer or partner who will help you reach your objectives.
At Wood and Moran, we understand the magnitude of professional, personal, and financial implications our clients face when they partner with or sell to a DSO. It is imperative that you refrain from responding to unsolicited offers and negotiating without appropriate representation.
Wood and Morgan has represented over 8,000 dentists since 1980 and focuses its efforts on supporting the dental community with their business needs. If you have questions about buying or selling a dental practice or partnering with a Dental Support Organization (DSO), don’t hesitate to contact us at 800-499-1474.