The legal issues facing dentists today range from complex regulatory compliance hurdles to ownership structure of dental practices scope of practice issues for those exploring the various opportunities available with the advent of aesthetic treatments. Our team is uniquely experienced and positioned to keep dental providers on track, avoid potential issues, accomplish specific growth objectives, and properly comply with legal considerations.
Those in the practice of dentistry today have many options when it comes to building a practice. Should you work for an employer? Build your own? What about buy a practice? More and more, we see young dentists wishing to avoid private equity and buying out a retiring dentist’s practice. The amount of regulation imposed upon those entering into the dental practice arena can be staggering. Further, buying a dental practice requires many considerations that are unique to other areas of business. Understanding the purchase process will help protect your investment and could keep you from experiencing any unnecessary liability.
First, organize a team of specialized dental experts, such as a dental CPA, Professional Practice Lender, dental attorney, and a practice consultant. Having a team of professionals guide you through all aspects of the deal will keep you on track, avoid potential issues, accomplish specific task items, and properly comply with any legal considerations.
Botox. Fillers. Lasers. The aesthetic options for patients are endless with more and more treatments available all the time. The “MedSpa” world is booming, and anyone can get in on the expected growth, including dentists. If you’re a dentist and you’re thinking about add aesthetic treatments to your practice, you should first consider the following:
Scope of Practice. While most medspas provide full body aesthetic treatments, Dentists are limited to providing treatments that are with her or his scope of practice. For example, Botulinum Toxin-A may be prescribed by a dentist, but is limited to the face and neck of patients. This also means that for nurse practitioners working under the supervision of a dentist, they too are limited in practice. While certain other treatments don’t require any specific medical license or training, dentists should evaluate the type of treatments they wish to provide or supervise to ensure it is within their scope of practice.
Ownership. While medspas may be owned by anyone, including non-licensed providers, Dentists must be careful if taking on business partners due to corporate practice of dentistry. Under Florida law, no person other than a Florida licensed dentist, nor any entity other than a professional corporation or limited liability company composed of dentists may employ a dentist in the operation of a dental office. While most aesthetic services are not dental services, a non-dentist may not directly employ a dentist. Violation of these laws will subject the dentist to disciplinary action. If you’re a dentist in Florida, you can legally add limited aesthetic treatments to your practice. If you’re opening a new business with non-dentist partners, however, you will need to be cautious of these laws.
As Commercial Real Estate continues to grow, the medical office space is evolving to cater to new trends which affect the practice of medicine as well as the real estate industry as a whole. The healthcare sector is beginning to lean toward efficient spaces, and creating greater availability in spaces.
With equipment, staff and use of extremely sophisticated technology, medical buildings utilize huge amounts of energy. With the expansiveness of the size of most properties, intense lighting needs, air and temperature control, and high-powered machinery it has been difficult to operate in a low efficiency environment.
Like most medical practices and businesses in Florida, dental practices have been deemed non-essential except for emergency type services. For good reason, non-life threatening care, surgeries and services are put on hold to help curb the spread of COVID-19, which has left providers with the question of what they can do to maintain and treat patients remotely.
Recently, the American Dental Association (ADA) provided helpful guidance on the difference between emergency and nonemergency care, as well as the use of teledentistry.
Teledentistry is the use of a telehealth system through a variety of different technologies to deliver virtual health services, including dentistry.
Telehealth includes live video (synchronous), store and forward (asynchronous), remote monitoring, and mobile health. Live video is a live, two-way transmission of audiovisual telecommunications. Store and forward is a recorded file of the patient’s health information. Remote monitoring allows a provider to track patient health data through the use of devices which transmit data to a portal which the provider can securely access. Mobile health is the use of personal devices to share health information and education.
The ADA has echoed local governments calls to alleviate the pressure on emergency services by having healthcare professionals postpone all elective services and non-emergency care. The ADA put forth guidance to help individuals and dentists determine what constitutes a dental emergency, which includes issues that are potentially life threatening and require immediate treatment. Immediate treatment would include stopping bleeding or treating severe pain, infections, or conditions. A more complete guide can be found here.