by Becki Gray
Former Senior Vice President, John Locke Foundation
Dental practices and who is allowed to run them is an issue that may very well be discussed during the upcoming short session. A North Carolina Administrative Code rule currently regulates management arrangements between business entities and dentists. A new law would greatly increase those regulations. Senate Bill 655 would require that all contracts be reviewed by NC State Board of Dental Examiners, prohibit the management company from controlling or owning a dental practice, and put in place dozens of measures that greatly restrict what a management company could and could not do. Dentists say the bill is needed to protect the practice of dentistry; management companies say the new restrictions make it next to impossible to recoup their investment.
We should be looking at ways to expand dental care in North Carolina, not restrict it. If a management company is interested in assuming purchasing, billing and administrative duties and a dentist wants to spend more time on patient care, they ought to be allowed to work out whatever arrangement works best for them. Dentists seem to me to be a savvy, well-educated, smart group that can understand and negotiate contracts and make good decisions about how to practice their profession without additional government mandated regulations.