An article by McGuireWoods healthcare lawyers Bart Walker, LauraLee Lawley and Ben Petitto that thoughtfully lays out the pros and cons of creating a dental services organization (DSO) was published April 16 in Dentistry Today, a leading periodical serving the dental profession.
DSOs are legal entities separate and distinct from a dental practice that handles back-office and management functions for the practice, the article explained. Most states require that they be owned or controlled by at least one licensed dentist, but ownership can also include investors, lenders, trusts or members of management. Typically, DSOs enter into long-term management agreements with a dental practice.
Interest in DSOs is running high and “[d]entists, investors, executives and managers often assume they want to form a DSO without fully exploring the reasons to do so,” Walker, Lawley and Petitto wrote. That has resulted in many new market entrants, as well as established solo practitioners or independent clinic operators, rushing into a DSO without considering “problems a DSO structure is intended to solve or the consequences of that decision,” according to the attorneys.