DSO Connection recently interviewed Dr. James Lucido of North American Dental Group (NADG) to learn more about him and the DSO. Below is our interview:
Q: Hello Dr. Lucido, thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to speak with DSO Connection and DSO News. Let’s get right to into it so that you can get back to patient care. How long have you been practicing dentistry?
A: 34 years
Q: Why did you decide to transition your practice to a DSO?
A: I actually didn’t transition my practice. I was with a small group of five dentists at two locations for 18 years. I found a private practice that I wanted to purchase, but wanted to join a larger group with my same values. I was unhappy with the ethics and morals of the practice for which I was currently working. I wanted to convert the private practice I found to a larger scale, which eventually happened.
Q: What are the reasons you chose NADG?
A: After meeting Ken, then subsequently Andrew, I knew I found the right people in line with my values. It was an easy decision. Their loyalty, open-mindedness, and drive were the three main qualities I strove with to be associated.
Q: I write a lot on culture in the dental practice and DSO. What part of the NADG culture do you most enjoy?
A: I love their “Best in Class” attitude and the level of integrity from the top management to what’s instilled in each team member at the provider level office.
[Editor’s note: These series of interviews were arranged in an email chain and the jokes going back and forth between the doctors and the DSO were hilarious. You can tell that everybody is genuinely happy and even friends. They do a great job and have fun doing it]
Q: Since joining NADG, what have you found to be the top three advantages of benefits?
- I’m able to perform dentistry without any distractions that come with managing a practice;
- The support and fellowship that one can receive from and give to other dentists in our family, and from the management side of the group. You never feel alone. It helps build your confidence and knowledge of the entire dental field, which in turn, helps you continually develop your skills to become the best you can be; and
- I actually have peace of mind knowing that all aspects of my practice is in control and being handled. I don’t take the burdensome problems home with me every night. It’s a great feeling. Very liberating.
Q: What are the three biggest challenges in a transition?
- The staff getting used to the DSO. They worked for a private dentist their whole career;
- Everyone, including myself, learning the line of communication in our company to better solve problems; and
- Learning a new software system was an adjustment for them. They had their system for many years, and the change was a bit stressful in the beginning.
Q: How long was the process from initial communication to being fully integrated?
A: 1 year
Q: There are a lot of misconceptions floating around in the dental industry about DSOs. Did you have any misconceptions, and if so, what were they?
A: Yes, I did. I thought they all created cookie cutter practices where no individualism as your own dentist can exist. I thought they were cold, non-caring, and totally money driven.
Q: Please describe some practice changes you had to get used to.
A: The biggest challenge was the Formulary of dental products which we use in the office daily. After transitioning, I realized that the products chosen were of the highest quality, and can only help improve my dentistry.
Q: Have you found those changes to benefit your practice today?
A: Yes, definitely. As I mentioned in my last answer, I am extremely happy with our Formulary.
Q: A huge advantage of affiliating with a DSO is that they take over the day-to-day management of the practice. Has NADG been able to assist in this area and do you feel like you have achieved a better work/life balance?
A: NADG has done more than assist in this area. I have no concerns of many aspects of management because it’s being handled competently. This allows more free time for myself to spend with my family. Again, it gives me peace of mind.
Q: Which areas of outsourced practice administration have you found most beneficial and what tasks were you able to outsource to NADG that helped you to free up your time most?
A: Payroll and accounting, accounts receivables, credentialing, marketing, and human resources.
Q: If you could make one change to the current DSO model, what would it be?
A: NADG already changed the DSO model. I would not change a thing. The exposure to other dentists on your same team that provides a comfort level to ask questions and learn new or different ways to approach dentistry.
Q: What is your favorite thing about being affiliated with a DSO?
A: The freedom it gives me. The support it provides for me. The exposure to dentists on your team that provides a comfort level to ask questions and learn new or different ways to approach dentistry.
Q: Now that you have been a part of NADG for 9 years, what are the three biggest surprises — good or bad — that you had not anticipated during the transition?
- Participating in the company outside of day-to-day dentistry;
- Quickness of support from all levels of the organization; and
- The increase of revenue produced in a short period of time
Q: Is there any advice you have for someone like you considering joining a DSO?
A: Yes. Look around. Ask questions. Talk to the individual dentists in the group you are considering. Get grassroots opinions of the organization. Then decide.
A: That is sage advice, Dr. Lucido. In closing, would you do it all over again and would you do anything differently?
Q: Yes! Yes I would! I would have done it years earlier.
A: I greatly appreciate your time today, Dr. Lucido. It was a pleasure speaking with you and I wish you continued success!
A: My pleasure.
NADG is currently seeking to affiliate with dental practices in Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Texas. Interested in learning more? Complete the secure form below to be connected with NADG transition experts.