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Washington State Dental Association

Know Before You Sign

About to sign an employment contract? Make sure to look for any agreement, policy or procedure, or employment handbook:

1. That limits or imposes requirements on:

  • The length of time a dentist spends with a patient
  • The number of patients a dentist treats in a certain period of time
  • The number of certain types of procedures a dentist completes in a certain time period
  • The performance of dental services by a dentist
  • A dentist’s decision regarding a course of treatment for a patient
  • The manner in which a course of treatment is carried out by a dentist
  • The manner in which a dentist uses dental equipment or materials
  • The use of a laboratory or the materials, supplies, instruments, or equipment deemed reasonably necessary by a dentist to provide diagnoses and treatment consistent with the standard of care
  • The professional training deemed reasonably necessary by a dentist to properly serve the dentist’s patients
  • The referrals by a dentist to any other practitioner the dentist determines is necessary
  • The advertising of a dentist’s practice
  • Communications with a dentist’s patients

2. That interferes with:

  •  A dentist’s right to access patient records
  • A dentist’s decision to refund any payment made by a patient for dental services performed by the dentist

3. That provides or has the effect of:

  • Requiring a dentist to pay the DSO a percentage of revenue as a management fee, especially an excessively high percentage
  • Denying a dentist the traditional rights associated with ownership of the practice, including:
    • Entitling the DSO to replace the dentist at will
    • Prohibiting the dentist from selling the dental practice
    • Prohibiting the dentist from issuing additional shares of capital stock in the dental practice
    • Prohibiting the dentist from amending, supplementing or terminating the dental practice’s Articles of Incorporation, Bylaws, and/or other governing documents
    • Prohibiting the dentist from determining the schedule or number of patients that the dentist see each day
    • Prohibiting the dentist from hiring or firing employees

During this year's legislative session, WSDA helped pass legislation that provides strong protections for both the employee dentists and patients of DSOs. Learn more here.

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