Cliff's Notes

The Business of Dentistry


We all know that the internet is a dangerous place. We employee security com-panies and utilizes encrypted data. Unfortunately the consumer mentality that has been bred into us since childhood tends to take over. The world of commerce has changed dramatically over just the past 3 years. Amazon, Wayfair, Walmart and other are competing for your dollars by offering a good price and convenience, but a healthcare provider needs to understand the “unseen” dangers in the unregulated internet.

The UnRegulated Internet … Healthcare providers are regulated by state and federal agencies, therefore, everything they do is subject to interpretation. What would happen if a procedure fails and the result is litigation? Was the failure due to an inadequate clinical procedure or was it due to product failure? Your defense team will blame the material manufacturer but their defense team will want to know where and when the materials were purchased. If the materials used were not obtained from an authorized U.S. distributer, you are on your own. The original manufacturer will not support your defense. Now you need to prove that the materials used during the clinical procedure were acceptable for use, that they were not counterfeit.

Counterfeit Dental Materials … If something sounds too good to be true, it usually isn’t. In today’s world market there is a counterfeit everything and dental materials are no different. Companies like 3M, Dentsply/Sirona, Kerr Sybron pursue and litigate unauthorized distribution internationally on a regular basis. You can receive updates and information on grey market and counterfeit issues as well as authorized distributors by calling the manufacturers directly.

Authorized Distribution Channels … There is a reason that only certain companies are authorized to distribute a manufactures products. The requirements are based on the product line and inventory storage capability. An authorized distributor must have inventory rotation systems and be able to purchase a large opening order covering the manufacturers entire product line. As an example, Dentsply Sirona has about 35 authorized dental distributors in the US and one, locally, is under a federal indictment due to a Dentsply investigation into the handling of there product. However, a quality distributor will have some requirements from the manufacturer, and that is product liability.

Product Liability … You automatically think that product liability is the manufacturer’s problem, that is a consumer mentality. In the eyes of the law your patient is the ultimate consumer and you are responsible for the products you use and the source of supply. If the product in question was not obtained from an authorized distributor, the manufacturer’s insurance company will claim no liability and you will be between a rock and a hard place.

Liability Insurance … Your malpractice insurance covers you to the extent of the policy but what about the source of your payables? Do you have liability insurance conformation from your I.T. Company, electrician, plumber, dental supply, lab, etc? Henry Schein, like most regulatory compliant companies, requires proof of product liability before they will release a product into the market from any distribution center. This should be part of your risk management program.

Risk Management … There is so much you don’t know. Your concentration is on patient care and treatment planning and you have insurance backing you up incase of litigation. However, there is a good chance that you are setup to loose. Record keeping is the #1 defensive strategy and it is so much more than accurate charts. You don’t know what you don’t know. From product liability to patient communication to employee management and sales tax liability, it’s your responsibility.

August 7, 2017 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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