NC bill stirs protests from dentists, patients

Dentists and patients gathered in front of the North Carolina Legislative Building today to voice their opposition to HB 698/SB 655.

They believe the legislation will negatively impact the way dentists work with dental service organizations (DSOs), which help manage the increasingly complex business aspects of running a dental practice. Some dentists note the need for DSOs while running a small business and managing multiple vendors and technologies.

The Alliance for Access to Dental Care, a trade and advocacy group, coordinated the news conference to shed light on legislation that they say is "anticompetitive." Increased costs along with reduced access to care top the list of their concerns.

Doug Brown, a member of the alliance and CEO of Affordable Care, a dental service organization headquartered in North Carolina, noted that it is the 10th most populated state in the nation but ranks 47th in terms of the number of dentists per capita. North Carolinians pay $280 million more than they should each year for dental services because of a shortage of dentists, and the bill will further reduce access to dental care, resulting in patients paying higher fees if dentists can no longer contract with DSOs to help them run more efficiently, he added.

Other organizations have voiced their opposition to the bill, including the Federal Trade Commission and Americans for Tax Reform.

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