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The recent settlement between the New York State Office of the Attorney General (NY AG) and Aspen Dental Management1 has the potential to create unintended consequences on dental service organizations (DSOs) operating in New York and the benefits and support they offer to dental practices. DSOs have been active in the dental industry for over 20 years, but have recently come under increased scrutiny from state governments, notably in North Carolina and Texas, with respect to so-called corporate practice of dentistry violations.2 The corporate practice of dentistry prohibits corporations from employing, or influencing the clinical judgment of, licensed health care professionals, such as dentists and dental hygienists.

Although there are issues in the DSO industry that must be effectively addressed, certain state government enforcement actions have the unintended effect of curtailing important business services provided by DSOs that improve the ability of dental practices to furnish high quality patient care, including assisting the dental office with obtaining and maintaining modern, state-of-the-art dental equipment and technology, as well as assisting with certain non-clinical administrative tasks, such as accounting and the hiring of non-clinical staff. By performing these administrative tasks, DSOs enable the dentist to focus on his or her patients, as opposed to the time consuming, and often costly, administrative tasks involved in running a successful dental practice.

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