Potential Legislation would give Wisconsin Board of Dental Examiners unchecked regulatory authority over DSOs

The ADSO position

AB 368/SB 327 is Unnecessary and Could Reduce Access to Dental Care in Wisconsin.   The Wisconsin legislature is considering legislation (AB 368) which would give the Wisconsin Board of Dental Examiners unchecked regulatory authority over non-dentist business entities that do not provide clinical care to patients.  The broad scope of authority provided to the dental board by AB 368/SB 327 is inappropriate and would have a disruptive and chilling effect on dental support organizations (DSOs) which have operated in Wisconsin.  Wisconsin does not need more burdensome and unnecessary regulation placed on businesses by a state agency designed to regulate dentists, not private businesses.

Wisconsin DSO statistics

DSOs have operated for more than 30 years in Wisconsin and account for nearly 1,000 jobs.  Currently DSOs support 131 dental practices in the State of Wisconsin that have provided dental services to more than 1 million patients over the past year, including more than 5,500 Medicaid beneficiaries.  Supported practices are often able to provide more flexible hours of operation for patients, including after hours and on weekends.  Most importantly, the services DSOs provide allow dentists to focus on their patients, which expands access to dental care for Wisconsin residents.

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Forbes has also picked up this story.  This proposed legislation is described as protectionist and costly, while limiting access to care.  Fortunately, it looks as though there is quite a bit of opposition to this legislation with the local Madison, WI based MacIver Institute and two national organizations, Americans for Tax Reform and the National Taxpayers Union, teaming up to send a letter to WI legislators outlining the negative consequences for dentists working with DSOs.

Dr. Tim Quirt of Quirt Family Dental, with six locations in WI, is interviewed by the Wausau Daily Herald.  Dr. Quirt talks about his partnership with a DSO (Heartland Dental) and how that partnership has freed him up to practice dentistry.  He also talks about the profound negative effects this legislation would have on his practice and his patients.

Sources:  The ADSO, Full Story, Forbes, Full Forbes Story, Wausau Herald , Full Wausau Herald Story