Dentistry is in the process of changing at light speed. It might not be readily apparent to the casual observer, but from the inside of the profession………….stark reality is staring us in the face. With the pandemic, economic collapse, and now serious civil unrest; dental practices are facing a very challenging future. Those that are proactive and take steps now will have a fighting chance. Those that fail to grasp the real potential for disaster will suffer the consequences.
Dentists who are considering filing a claim for disability or have the potential to become disabled in the future should take time to consider their options and take smart steps to survive. Essentially all dentists are at risk for a disabling event, either an accident or illness; the end results are the same. Your claim for a bad back/hand, addiction, or chronic depression/anxiety are some of the areas that fall into the category of discretional claim filling in these hard times. Any potential progressive illness or injury must be looked at with the harsh reality of our times in mind.
Dentists will have increased overhead, lower profit margins, significantly more rules/regulation, and decreased production due to infection control needs. Patient screening before an appointment along with social-distancing will take time and money. Dentists will only be able to raise rates and charge additional COV-19 fees so far. Many patients are rejecting anything over $10 already. Taking care of staff with increased PPE and safeguards is going to be a bear. Dental profit margins are already slim now and will get slimmer. With many practitioners in debt and with high overhead, this is truly a perfect storm.
If practitioners are able to weather the storm without major interruptions; they should be congratulated. For most of us, difficult financial decisions await. Only so many offices will be able to downsize and form boutique dental practices. Many will choose to retire. A significant number will decide to consolidate as group practices. They will likely be making a smart move as the profession is headed in that direction at high speed already. Corporate groups will absorb many practices leaving those dentists as employees. What can you do?
From a disability standpoint, look at your medical conditions with a cool head. Can you continue to practice without hurting yourself or your patients. Is there an out? Do you have a disability policy in force? Have you carefully read your policy and are you ready to make a claim based on your medical status? See our post on how to make a claim. How do I make a Disability Claim?
The COVID-19 Situation and current national situation both civil and economic, must weigh heavily on your decision. Every day you delay, will make a successful claim more difficult. The insurance companies are not blind, and they will be looking at all submitted claims with those facts in mind. No need to worry, as long as you have a valid claim that is backed up by your medical records/physicians. Bogus claims or those that are specifically excluded in a policy will be quickly weeded out. You will have some time, but dithering will paint you as capable to practice and weaken your claim in the mind of an adjuster. If you have ant doubts, consider hiring a disability professional as we have noted in the past. YOU NEED DENTAL DISABILITY ATTORNEYS
Just having contracted COVID-19, you may be eligible for short/long term disability. It may even strengthen a claim in process. No one knows where this will end, but we do know that the results will have long term health consequences to some degree. Having your medical situation well-documented and supported by competent health care providers will make your claim very strong.
Your economic situation will be a major factor in your decision making process. Most dentists will not have to be told that practice sales are going to be difficult in these times. Just finding buyer is going to be hard. What about those who are disabled and don’t even own a practice? We have spent a considerable amount of time over the past years developing plans to help those facing a catastrophic injury or illness. See our post for help. TEN STEPS TO SURVIVE DISABILITY
The profession downsized slightly as infection control ramped up in the 2000’s and even more so with the AIDS crisis. We can expect it to change again. The USA and world population are not decreasing, so our services will always be needed and relevant. What will be different is how we practice and how much we can expect as a financial reward. For sure dental education will be time consuming and expensive. Weighing that cost agains other viable career options is going to be hard for the upcoming generation of potential dentists.
We anticipate a significant cohort of dentists will leave the profession earlier now due to our current national situation. Some will transition into other fields, choose to practice as employees, practice part-time, just plain retire/sell their practices, or file claims for short/long term disability due to illness or injury that unfortunately occurred in conjunction with a pandemic, depression, and national civil crisis. What you do is entirely up to you. Surprise! Dentists are one of the last independent professions. That is why many of us got into the profession to begin with. We wanted to have the freedom to make our own decisions and control our own destiny. Look to where you have been and where you are going. DENTISTS LAUGH IN THE FACE OF DISASTER
As always we are ready to provide real help and assistance. If you have questions or want help don’t hesitate to contact us. We are ready to help 24/7. We are unpaid volunteer dentist who are disabled who want to help others. Whether we meet you in person or just talk………..we have found the best medicine to help a disabled dentist is talking with another disabled dentist who has. “been there, done that”.
WE ARE DENTISTS HELPING OTHER ILL AND INJURED DENTISTS