Dentistry

Trooth.Com Sends Picketers to Protest Outside the Office of Dr. Wisdom Teeth

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Protester Dr Wisdom Teeth 600 Breaking: Trooth.Com Sends Protesters to Picket Outside Dr. Wisdom Teeth

This was breaking news yesterday and I understand the Trooth.Com protest was short-lived after Dr. Hendrickson, Dr. Wisdom Teeth, spent about 45 minutes talking with the male protester/picketer.

Apparently, the picketer thought they were there to protest a legitimate issue and left when informed as to what was going on. It is assumed that they were paid protesters, whose business is to picket.

Does anyone know who these folks are?

Could any of them be related to the Utah oral surgeons who are responsible for the Trooth.Com public awareness campaign?

Let me know in the comments section below.

Here is another photo:

Protesters out in front of Dr. Wisdom Teeth dental office

In the meantime, Dr. Wisdom Teeth, general dentist Dr. Heath Hendrickson, has issued a press release:

Dr. Wisdom Teeth Press Release 10-19-12

I don’t believe I have ever seen such a protest in front of a dental office. Usually, picketing is associated with some sort of labor action or strike by a labor union – not a group of professional colleagues.

With Dr. Hendrickson’s media release by an attorney, I have a feeling this dentistry “TURF WAR” is going to continue.

Can it get any nastier?

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Aspen Dental

Aspen Dental Sued for Unlawful Corporate Practice

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Screencap from the Aspen Dental website

From the Aspen Dental website

This is a federal lawsuit, filed in New York state yesterday.

Aspen Dental Management and the private equity firm that controls it illegally operate dental clinics across the country and engage in aggressive, misleading profit-driven practices that cause patients economic harm, claims a federal lawsuit filed Thursday in New York.

East Syracuse-based Aspen and Leonard Green and Partners are violating laws that require clinics to be owned by dentists actively performing procedures onsite to prevent business interests from trumping those of patients, according to court papers filed at U.S. District Court in Albany.

The suit is on behalf of 11 people in 11 states, but their lawyers are seeking class action status that could cover tens of thousands of current and former patients and untold monetary damages.

They argue that the structure of Aspen Dental puts a premium on getting patients to consent to expensive treatment plans through aggressive sales pitches after they’ve been attracted to the clinics by free exam and X-ray promotions.

Lawyers Brian Cohen and Jeffrey Norton said the goal is to maximize profits for the non-dentist owners of Aspen by using dentists as “sham” owners of clinics, some of which operate too far away, including in other states, for the dentists to practice there. That, they say, violates New York’s law against “unlawful corporate practice of medicine.”

Aspen’s “so-called ‘Practice Owners’ are nothing more than de facto employees and/or independent contractors” of the company, which controls its 358 clinics’ marketing, credit offers, hiring, training and bookkeeping, according to the court papers.

This is an interesting legal complaint since it is federal and may involve a class action across many states.

In California, there is a complex set of laws in the Dental Practice Act regarding corporate practice and ownership of dental offices. However, some states have banned the outright ownership of dental offices to anyone, but a dentist.

I think America is ready for the debate as to whether dentists should be the sole owners of dental practices. If not, then who will be ultimately responsible financially and for patient care.

I will cover more of this lawsuit, as it progresses.

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David Nicholls

Trooth.Com – The David Nicholls DDS Interview Part Four

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Trooth Website Trooth.Com – The David Nicholls DDS Interview Part Three

From the website Trooth.Com

You remember the FLAP.

A number of Utah oral and maxillofacial surgeons have begun a dentistry turf war with a fellow dentist, Heath Hendrickson, over the extraction of wisdom teeth. The surgeons have sponsored a website (Trooth.com) and a billboard on I-15 in Utah County, Utah.

The oral surgeons who are listed below have a beef with general dentist, Heath Hendrickson, who refers to himself as Dr. Wisdom Teeth.

Here is the billboard found along I-15 in Utah:

billboard 600 Trooth.Com – The David Nicholls DDS Interview Part Three

Monday afternoon, I had the opportunity to speak with David Nicholls, D.D.S., one of the oral and maxillofacial surgeons who comprise the Board of Trooth.Com.

Part One of my interview with Dr. Nicholls is posted here. Part Two is posted here. Part Three of the interview is here.

The interview continues:

Flap:

You know about the Federal Trade Commission, right?

Nicholls:

Yes

Flap:

You know they make sure there is a fair marketplace for goods and services across the country – federal?

Nicholls:

Yes

Flap:

Do you know that the Federal Trade Commission (has acted) lately on the North Carolina Dental Board with regards to bleaching services in the shopping malls? And, there has been court action where the federal government has actually told North Carolina to cease and desist their enforcement action against the people in the malls, because it is anti-competitive.

So, going back to my Devil’s Advocate thing with the Federal Trade Commission, why wouldn’t somebody at the Federal Trade Commission in Washington say, you know, these dentists are ganging up together in an anti-competitive monopoly to try to force Dr. Hendrickson out of business – because the oral surgeons want to monopolize the extraction of wisdom teeth in Utah?

Nicholls:

Well, someone could argue that and they are entitled to argue that. But, I will keep saying what I am saying. It is not about revenue and it is not about business.

It is about ethical behavior as a professional – that is what it is about.

It is about protecting the public and making sure the health care practitioners in our area are representing themselves ethically to the public, so the public can make informed decisions, when they seek care.

And, someone can argue that, but it is not about that. Because, if it were about that then we would not have tried the other avenues and not try to contact him. And, request that he comply with the advertising statute.

Because, we realize, actually what you are saying that if we ask him to do more than anything than comply with the Dental Practice Act that we could fall into that category.

And, we are being very careful not to.

We want to protect the public and want the public to be educated. And, it is not about revenue.

That is the truth of it.

Flap:

Couldn’t you foresee the argument being made that the reason you posted the website and posted the billboard was to actually harm his business? As an anti-competitive type of action?

Nicholls:

Someone could argue that. But, we have been careful looking at the law, what we can or can’t do. And, what we understand the law to say is if you say something that is true, and we are not defaming the person in what we say publicly and that is exactly what we are doing.

We are not being critical of him of how he does things. We are not being critical of his surgical technique or whatever complications he gets. You know, what his business model is.

We are saying that he is not an oral surgeon – which he is not.

It is like someone putting up an advertisement near my business and saying David Nicholls is not a plastic surgeon. Correct, I am not.

I have no response to that, because it is true.

So, we are not doing anything defaming or openly critical. We are not critical writing pieces about patients that we see. We are not complaining about anything that he does – other than how he represents himself, period.

Flap:

Have you talked to him (Dr. Hendrickson)? Personally?

Nicholls:

Well, we wrote him a letter from our group and asked that he change his advertising. And, that if he didn’t change his advertising that we were going to proceed with our campaign.

Flap:

Could you e-mail me the letter?

Nicholls:

I don’t know what would be appropriate. We would have to check with our legal counsel.

This ended the interview and I have not received the letter which the Trooth.Com Board sent to Dr. Hendrickson warning him of the public awareness campaign which would be undertaken, if he did not change his advertising.

Perhaps, Dr. Hendrickson will supply the letter when I interview him.

I will, today, be interviewing Utah Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon and Trooth.Com Board member Tate Viehweg of Alpine Surgical Arts.

Stay tuned…

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