Why Dorian Should Make You Think About Practice Transitioning

By Dr. Rick Huot

At the end of August, while Hurricane Dorian was on its unpredictable path, I headed to San Francisco for the American Dental Association’s Annual Meeting. Before my duties started as ADA Board of Trustees liaison to the Standards Committee of Dental Informatics, I sat down to write this article in the relative comfort of the Marriott Marquis. Whenever I have the Weather Channel on for more than five minutes this time of the year while away from home, you can be assured that Joanne and I are checking to see how the “wind is blowing” back in Florida. In 2004, we spent Labor Day in Maine watching as Hurricane Frances — and three weeks later, Hurricane Jeanne — give Florida the infamous “Plywood State” moniker, and as empty nesters, it doesn’t take us long to pack and secure our home not knowing what the force of nature is planning for the week ahead.

Early that Friday morning, and with help from Delta, we decided to leave a day early for our trip to California, knowing that conditions in the Caribbean were deteriorating, and there was a good chance that flights all over Florida would start being cancelled as early as Saturday. That was confirmed by the Delta folks when they graciously put me on a plane leaving out of Orlando Friday afternoon.

After a quick call to Marriott and the shuttle folks, we now had an extra day to “play,” and we quickly contacted longtime friends from Chicago now living in San Francisco for dinner, and the conversation quickly shifted from Dorian to our respective careers. Helen has been working for Delta since I was in dental school at Northwestern and continues to fly the international routes and loves her work. Mike is a successful retired businessman who invested wisely in his career since his early days in Chicago, and this year’s New York Marathon will be the 100th he has run since he started many years ago.

These days, longevity experts talk about your early 60s and what you can reasonably expect life to play out from there. Given that you are in good health, and that you also have excellent financial health, your options multiply when you could adapt to life’s curveballs and make lemonade when someone like Dorian hands you some lemons.

Kiplinger Magazine has an excellent article on the “go-go years” and beyond, and we remarked that the four of us were taking this very seriously. At this point, you may be wondering what the above events have to do with dental practice transitions, but please keep reading on, and you will see the method to my madness.

After Hurricane Katrina in 2005, I was asked by Dental Economics to co-write an article on disaster preparedness, and lessons learned from surviving the 2004 hurricane season. Although some of the material is now dated, a lot of what was learned then is reinforced every hurricane season, and other natural disasters throughout the country all year long.

Given that the solo practice model has slowly become less prominent, and the cost of running a dental practice continues to increase, a dentist reaching the age of 50 has more options today available to them, especially if there is a chance that a facility could suffer damage that would prevent dentistry from happening for a prolonged period of time.

Retirement “catch-up” provisions allows dentists over 50 to set aside more income in pre-tax programs, and the proliferation of solo 401K plans allows dentists to sell their practices, contractually “workback” as an independent contractor to the new practice structure, and give the dentist more free time to enjoy life, while continuing to practice and share management responsibilities with younger dentists who desire the private practice model, but could use a little “on-the-job training,” eventually taking on a younger dentist with similar goals in the near future.

Today, most dentists approaching that age should be looking to partner with another dentist who has a similar philosophy of practice, especially if one of the offices is more “dated.” It should be noted that the business practice model of most dental service organizations (DSOs) call for at least two dentists working four-day weeks with extended hours, and covering the entire week, and sometimes including weekend hours.

Millennials and the new Generation Z coming of working age are more prone to “shopping” and have convenient hours as one of their prerequisites for selection of a dental office. A shared office space arrangement allows dentists to fulfill that desire, with minimum disruption, and allows them to offer the same convenience features as DSOs or large group practices.

Thankfully, it appears that most of Florida dentists fared well from this latest storm. The disruption to our practice lives disrupted patient care at least all that week and may have delayed some of the “snowbird migration” that we experience this time of the year.

Back at work, ask yourself these questions:

  1. Am I ready for the “go-go” years, regardless of what happens to my practice?
  2. Whom am I compatible with practice philosophy-wise in my area, and might we benefit from a joint location/dental practice, and a reduced cost of overhead?
  3. If my office was damaged, is the cost of rebuilding/repairing my space a good return on investment, given the amount of years I’m looking to practice in the future?
  4. Is it time to reexamine my financial strategic plan, and make some major changes? More boldly, is it time to downsize, and reduce the clutter and “stuff” we have accumulated?
  5. Are my contingency/practice succession plans up to date?

I’ve completed my term as ADA First Vice President, and it has been a privilege and honor serving our nation’s dentists and ensuring them clinical and financial success for the past two years. Be well.

Dr. Huot is a Fellow in the American College of Dentists, the International College of Dentists, the Academy of General Dentistry and the Pierre Fauchard Academy. He currently serves on the FDA Political Action Committee Board of Directors and served as ADA vice president for the past two years. He had a private practice from 1985-2008, still practices clinical dentistry and is the CEO of Beachside Dental Consultants, Inc., a practice management and health consultant firm. He can be contacted at drhuot@militarydentist.com.

 

Build, Grow and Finance Your Business: Resources for Women-owned Small Businesses

By Katie Horne, Digital.com

Are you a woman interested in starting your own business?

Or, have you already started your business, but you are struggling to figure out what your next steps are? Are you limited in capital and wondering how you will keep your lights on?

If so, click here to read an in-depth guide containing tools and resources to help empower women-owned small businesses.

women-small-business

Reprinted with permission by Digital.com.

 

 

Live Well in Your Golden Years with These Essential Health Tips

By Karen Weeks, Elderwellness.net

If you’re a senior, chances are you’ve noticed that your body has changed in certain ways over the years. Positive and negative changes are a fact of aging, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy your golden years. In fact, they can turn out to be your favorite years. By making healthy choices and taking care of yourself, you can increase your chances of thriving physically, mentally and emotionally. Here are a few tips for seniors who are looking to get and stay healthy:

Evaluate your living situation.

First, consider your health in regard to your living situation. Are you alone? Can you afford to keep your house and live comfortably? Can you move around and complete daily tasks independently? Or do you need to be somewhere that offers community, amenities and/or medical care?

If you own a house and want to stay there, it’s important to make the home modifications necessary to accommodate any limited mobility you have or may have in the future. If you need more socializing in your life, a retirement community or independent living community may be the best option — and such communities also offer varying levels of amenities and medical care.

For those who find it difficult to fulfill daily tasks on their own, assisted living should be considered. You get the care you need while still maintaining much of your independence. Plus, most assisted living facilities provide access to a wealth of social opportunities and ways to stay engaged. When researching facilities, make a point to tour several so you know what to expect, and be sure to talk to staff and residents. Take note of the costs, too, which vary significantly – A Place for Mom notes that Tallahassee facilities range anywhere from $1,500 to $6,076 a month.

Review your Medicare.

Another way to ensure your health in your golden years is to regularly review your Medicare details. Medicare plans tend to change in one way or another each year, so make sure you know what your plan covers. For instance, most people have Medicare Part A and Part B — which are essentially hospital insurance and medical insurance, respectively. However, neither of these options cover the costs of prescription drugs. Therefore, you must add Part D if you want certain medications covered.

Additionally, you can purchase supplemental plans, called Medigap plans, that help to fill in some of the gaps in coverage. As an alternative to original Medicare, many people opt for a Medicare Advantage plan (Part C), which usually covers everything that Medicare Parts A, B and D cover.

Eat nutritious meals.

Eating well is essential to people of every age, but it can be even more important for seniors. Make sure you’re getting the nutrition you need. This is more difficult to do when you eat a lot of commercial foods that are ultra-processed. Instead, opt for cooking healthy meals at home and/or choosing healthy options off the menu. Vegetables, fruits, lean meats, fish, beans and peas are examples of foods that can leave you healthier and happier in everyday life. This applies to snacks as well; for instance, apples and nuts are more nutritious than a bag of chips or crackers.

Get moving.

As with diet, exercising is critical for everyone, because it strengthens your heart, muscles, bones and mental health, among other things. A good rule of thumb is to aim for 30 minutes of physical activity a day. This can be anything from walking to jogging to weightlifting. If you’ve been out of practice for a while, it’s good to start with walking and work up the intensity from there. If necessary, you can do two 15-minute or three 10-minute sessions over the course of the day. Furthermore, many seniors prefer activities like swimming, yoga and working out on an elliptical machine, as they offer a full body workout and are easy on the joints.

Aging comes with changes, but it doesn’t mean you can’t thrive. Consider whether you need to pursue a different living situation and review your Medicare options. Make sure you’re giving your body the nutrition it needs and try to exercise 30 minutes a day. Embracing the changes while caring for your health can put you in a better position to live well.

Ms. Weeks can be reached at karen@elderwellness.net.