Half of Dentists Ready to Unionize

Post your comments about dentists unionizing to our blog. Read the dental union press release

In this survey, we found that half of dentists are ready for the profession to unionize.

Feeling trapped by dental insurance and abandoned by the American Dental Association, many dentists are ready for an organized dental union.

"The wimps running the dental societies certainly don’t help when it comes to the insurers," complained one dentist.




General dentists were more likely than specialists to want a dentists’ union.

GPs are also more likely to have bitter complaints about the dental insurance industry.


Dentists would never join a union

  • "A professional organization like the ADA could do a lot more for us with the general public, our target market, but we can't get more than 70% of the dentists to join. How would you ever get them to join a union?” (Florida dentist)

Ever heard of the ADA?

  • “We have the ADA. If you want something done, put the pressure on them. The ADA is a very effective weapon on many fronts. The ADA lobby works very well in my state, Florida, and in Washington. Dentists forget that we are in the driver's seat! People need us. We just need to focus on peoples’ needs, not cosmetics.” (Florida dentist)
  • “We have the ADA and they can't get us national licensing. Why more socialism?" (New Jersey dentist)
  • “A union of bosses wouldn't accomplish anything. A more likely scenario would be an organized group that could leverage influence where necessary. Wait, isn't that what the ADA and CDA are for?” (General dentist)
  • “Isn’t the ADA a sort of a ‘union’ already?” (California dentist)
  • “The ADA is our representation.” (Colorado dentist)
  • “You have got to be kidding me. Ever heard of the ADA???” (Missouri prosthodontist)

The ADA is not getting the job done

  • “I am not so sure that unionizing is the answer to the problem. However, something needs to be done. Maybe unions are the only option, since the ADA cannot do anything.” (New York dentist)
  • “The wimps running the dental societies certainly don't help when it comes to the insurers.” (New York dentist)

Boo to unions

  • “Unionizing is just one more way of controlling people.” (Kansas dentist)
  • “Unionizing? What a stupid idea.” (Illinois dentist)
  • “We would probably be charged with collusion if we unionized.” (Tennessee dentist)
  • “What good would it do? Unionization would mean giving up each dentist's independence. Union workers have to abide by union rules instead of making their own policy and treatment decisions. If a dentist doesn't want to deal with insurance, he doesn't have to. It's entirely voluntary.” (California dentist)

Dentists don’t need unions to fight insurance

  • “Insurance is God's gift to dentistry! Without it, there would be a lot less dentistry getting done. Just call me a ‘dental insurance stooge.'” (Texas dental consultant)
  • “When you unionize, the unions control you. Currently we have a choice whether we should or should not accept certain dental insurance companies such as PPOs and HMOs. If dentists could unite and form one coalition to accept non-PPOs and HMOs, we might gain some headway in how they control us. Ultimately, we do have a freedom of choice.” (California dentist)
  • “Not only to fight insurance companies, but also government intrusion.” (Illinois dentist)

Dentists need unions to fight insurance

  • “We should bring a class action lawsuit on those insurance companies!” (California dentist)
  • “Either unionize or make the state dental associations more accessible to dentists to file general grievances or complaints about insurances or other factors hindering the practice of dentistry.” (New York dentist)
  • "I think it’s a great idea. The insurance companies take far too much advantage of the dental industry, and do pretty much whatever they feel like knowing full well that organized dentistry, such as it is right now, doesn't have much in the way of clout to put up a fight against them.” (California dentist)
  • “I wouldn't use the term ‘unionize’… but I wish everyone would agree to simply stop taking poor reimbursing plans and force the insurance companies to rethink their position and plans." (Texas pediatric dentist)

Unions could offer more freedom

  • “Dentists should unionize if only to allow for the ability to negotiate with insurance companies and avoid any ‘anti-competitive’ charges.” (New Jersey orthodontist)
  • “I think it's such a good idea that should have happened a long time ago already! The dental insurance companies act arrogantly and do pretty much whatever they want. It's a true situation of the tail wagging the dog, and that has to stop.” (California dentist)
  • “Employee dentists in particular should unionize so they are not taken advantage of.” (Ohio dentist)

Let me start this union now!

  • “Yes! I got ripped off from all insures: HMOs, PPOs, Medicaid, medwaiver, private insurers. I went to Law School; I am a Dentist, an MBA and PA. Put me in your organization and I will have 90% of dentists in our Union. I will travel the country. The time to fight back is now! Never give up! Let’s fight!!” (Florida dentist)
  • “I have thought about something like this for years, but have always run into the 'monopoly' roadblock.” (Oregon dentist)
  • “We should have unionized 20 years ago for collective bargaining purposes. We would then be on an equal footing with insurance companies as the anti-trust regulations would be more in our favor. Maybe then I could legally discuss fees with colleagues?” (Florida orthodontist)

Any other options?

  • “I'm not keen about unionization, but the best way would be for individual groups to form ‘pods’ under a single tax ID number. If there were, say, 50-plus dentists in each ‘pod’ acting as a single entity, they could have more clout against the insurance companies. A group of almost 100 MDs in our state has been very successful with this, and it had an impact on an insurance company when the group threatened to pull out.” (Rhode Island periodontist)

 

Note: Survey sample included 103 respondents.

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