Pivot, Protect, Prepare: Sustain Your DSO Through COVID-19 and Thrive Going Forward

—  by DEO Senior Faculty Member Emmet Scott, Co-Founder & CEO, Community Dental Partners


During these unprecedented times, DEO Senior Faculty Member Emmet Scott, co-founder and CEO of Community Dental Partners, reminds DSO/group, dental practice leaders, to remember your mission: “Go to your bigger ‘why.’ This corporate structure is here to help us create relationships.”

DSO Team Communication in the COVID-19 Landscape: Coming Together (Virtually) to Tackle Problems

Discussing the importance of keeping a cohesive DSO staff culture in the current “shelter-in-place” era, Emmet suggests taking advantage of available virtual platforms. He reminds leaders it doesn’t have to be costly — groups can use platforms such as Zoom video conferencing, or set up a private Facebook group, to keep each other in the loop.

A private Facebook group, for example, provides a safe space for both leadership and executives to check-in and provide consistent communication to staff about what’s happening. Most importantly, in this difficult time, it can be a place for everyone to be vulnerable and communicate openly with one another.

As DSO/group dental practice leaders, it’s helpful to provide examples of what a virtual community can offer by posting about common problems, such as, “What is everyone doing for childcare?” This opens up the forum for questions and issues that aren’t work-related, giving staff “permission” from leadership to ask for help from each other.- Dental Entrepreneur Organization

“The tough thing about leadership is where does the vulnerability begin and end vs. being confident and saying ‘we are going to make it’. When you really don’t know the answer, go to your team.”  — Emmet Scott

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To learn more about how The DEO can help you sustain your dental group through adversity and thrive going forward, click here.
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Take Advantage of the “Cheapest Time:” Preparing Your DSO Financially for Post-COVID-19

In light of reduction or cessation of practice hours depending on current state mandates due to COVID-19, many DSOs/group dental practices are facing the difficult problem of whether to keep staff on board. DSO leaders are concerned about production slowdown, but A/R will be coming in for another month or more. So from a pure cash-flow modeling perspective, there’s a lot of capital available now.

Difficult HR decisions — such as furloughing or laying off staff, moving salary workers to hourly, reducing executive team pay for the time being, etc. — may need to be made. These will vary depending on each DSO’s financial situation. But Emmet stresses how important it is for dental groups to remember now is the “cheapest time” — while A/R is coming in.

As an entrepreneur who is trying to scale your dental group, you may be running thin already, and it would be wise to see what you can do now to preserve your capital. This way, you can hit the ground running when mandates have been lifted, and you are ready to serve patients again with funds available for payroll and expenses.

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To learn more about how The DEO can help you sustain your dental group through adversity and thrive going forward, click here.
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Planning Your DSO’s Future for Contingencies — and Opportunities in a NEW World of Group Dentistry

Emmet reminds DSO leaders that the dental industry will be different post-COVID-19, and those dental groups that plan and prepare for that new future right now will come out on top.

“Pose this question to yourself: We are starting a DSO as of today that will have COVID-19 for the entire future, what do we do? How does the world work?” — Emmet Scott

As many “shelter in place,” Emmet suggests that DSO leadership teams huddle and consider this question and plan for the future, keeping the following in mind:

•   Increased cost for personal protective equipment (PPE)
•   Staggered scheduling for associate doctors and how that might impact the Medicaid and pediatric population
•   Evaluating the role of digital platforms and how that might impact community outreach

The world will be different after COVID-19. In this time of flux, it’s hard to see, but now is the time to stay calm and focused, take action amid chaos, and even be inspired and innovate.

“Plan on the world being different.” — Emmet Scott

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To learn more about how The DEO can help you sustain your dental group through adversity and thrive going forward, click here.