Evaluating the Dental Products Panel of the US Food and Drug Administration Scope and Effectiveness

On Friday March 10th at 7pm CST there is a webinar panel titled Evaluating the Dental Products Panel of the US Food and Drug Administration Scope and Effectiveness”  hosted by Loyola University of Chicago School of Law Institute for Health Law and Policy.  Blog Loyola WebinarI am moderating, the panel participants are:

  • Dean Joel Berg, University of Washington,
  • Professor Jon Suzuki, Temple University Kornberg School of Dentistry, and Chair of the Dental Products Panel, and
  • Professor Marjorie Jeffcoat, University of Pennsylvania Dental School and a Dental Products Panel member and past Chair.

Complementary CLE credit is being offered by Loyola for attorneys attending the webinar.

If you are interested, please register in advance. Webinar attendance is Freehttp://luc.edu/law/centers/healthlaw/events/seminar_series.html.

Login Information: Once you are registered the only information you will need to login on March 10th to the webinar is your name and e-mail address. Here is the link to use on March 10th for the webinar: http://tinyurl.com/loyolahlss . As a suggestion, you may find Firefox or Internet Explorer is helpful to log in.

You are welcome to message me or call 800-999-8121 if you have comments or questions.

Randall K. Berning, JD, LLM

A New Year – Oh NO or Oh YES!

Some doctors dread the start of a new year.
Same staff, same issues dragging on with just a calendar change.

If this is the case what is needed is real leadership – tough work on challenges that are holding you or the practice back. What is needed is to keep pushing until the desired results are in place.If you have a dysfunctional practice, whether in your practice administration, marketing efforts or personnel selection and performance, don’t dread it. Instead dive in! Set your objectives, plan your attack (tasks), work your plan! Get professional help if needed, but tackle the issue(s) and don’t let go until you are thoroughly satisfied. Make this the year you deal with difficult matters and put them to rest. Are you a Doctor CEO in need inspiration? Consider our Special Report on Leadership. Here’s to your success in the new year — onward and upward!

Inspiration for new LLMs

“… it was all great fun and a professional challenge working with you to adapt what I knew about physicians and other providers to the dentists which you represented. We had a ball working together, didn’t we? Thank you, Randy, for (your) kind words. It’s what I always hoped my adjunct teaching position would accomplish, and you should be very proud of how you picked up the ball and ran with it.”  L. EdwardEd Bryant Aug 2015 Bryant, Jr. writing to me recently. Ed is a long-time friend, mentor, colleague and my all-time favorite professor during my LLM in Health Law at Loyola (Master of Laws in Health Law). Recently, at a wonderful breakfast near Evanston, we talked about old times and new, and I thanked him for his comments. I share those comments here in part because they mean a great deal to me and in part to hopefully inspire new LLM’s to follow their interests in developing their health law career and to have fun while doing so. Ed was honored for his early and significant contribution to health law development and transactions when the Beazley Institute for Health Law and Policy established the L. Edward Bryant, Jr. National Health Law Transactional Competition.

Why Dentistry Will Always Trump Medicine

iStock_HELPIt is no secret that the practice of medicine is under attack, a national debate for years has spawned cost controls and a presidential initiative culminating in the Affordable Care Act. In case you missed it, or for future reference, here is the complete law, all 906 pages (381,517  words) as printed by the Government Printing Office. With an additional reported 11,000 pages of regulations or or 11,588,500 words. Oh, and there was a Supreme Court case about the validity of the Act that you might want to read, someday.

Okay, so physicians have gotten the message, cut costs, if possible. In an article The Team Can See You Now by Laura Landro, a description is provided of the concept and implementation of a team. The team basically divides up what used to be considered a doctor patient visit among a variety of non physicians reserving an actual visit with the doctor. Here is one telling quote, “Winning over patients to team based care can be a challenge. A 2012 survey of more than a 1000 low income people in California by the Blue Shield of California Foundation found that a majority preferred to be seen by doctors.” Imagine what those that are not low income would prefer?

And that is why dentistry will always trump medicine. Dentists and dental specialists see their patients, provide care to their patients and are usually available to discuss care with their patients. In my view, in dentistry the special aspect of the team is to support the doctor patient relationship not change, constrain or undermine it.

Verbal Skills To Help Patients Understand Bad Breath

We often see Doctor CEOs and staff members that seem “verbally challenged”. Have no doubt they know their clinical area, understand their
Blowing Bad Breath MP900427846duties and responsibilities but just can’t seem to engage with patients. Especially on some topics that have a difficult social message. Like BAD BREATH. The fact is there a lot of people that have it and don’t understand it. The same verbally challenged dental staff we find can do just fine if they have a prop – something that helps them start the conversation. Well, Doctors and Staff you are saved! An excellent article in the May 2013 issue of Scientific American is titled, Good Bacteria for Bad Breath. Our suggestion is to review the article, secure copies for the reception area, and put a commentary on your own blog or web site. The article is not publicly available at this time but you can secure a copy on line at


Dental Partnership

Most dentists are interested in how to have a successful practice relationship with another doctor. Yet when presented with a prospect too few have prepared ahead.
My view is that it is in the preparation that solid long term partnerships can be built. For the practice owner at the early point of considering a dental partnership here are a few tips: #1 consider your objective(s) is it to have one or several partners and for what reason (expand practice or open satellites etc.), or to plan an exit path for the founder or something else? #2 do you want to have control even with a partner(s)?, #3 what would your ideal candidate be like? Now seek out an advisor, practice transition consultant, accountant, attorney or your significant other and talk through these early considerations. If you are not clear on these you will have difficulty later when it comes time to structure the transaction. 

The Best Approach to Start an Associateship

Way to many practice owners who start looking for an associate jump the gun. What do I mean? In short they have not prepared. Here is a suggested preparation list to get
you thinking. First, have a clear statement of your philosophy of care. You can’t talk about what is important for you and your practice if you haven’t or worse can’t articulate your philosophy of care. Second, be prepared to discuss, to the degree you are comfortable, your practice performance, including new patient flow, type of procedures, demographics and need for an associate as it relates to each of those items. Third, lay out your vision for the practice and why you are looking for a compatible personality and character in a new associate to join with you. This format has worked wonders for us at Berning & Affiliates and will help you to build a successful relationship.

Setting An Example

A yearly practice planning question as well as a periodic staff meeting topic is the question, “Do we set an example?” The answer, of course, is yes, every doctor and staff member is an example, for better or worse, to the patient on the receiving end of a treatment visit. The real question is, “What kind of example do we set?” Great care and attention should be given to discussing and assessing the response. Invariably we have found that going through that discussion will raise every practice member’s attention level and raise performance as well

The Aspiring Model

I often talk to Doctor CEOs about the model of their practice or the model they desire for their practice. In many cases we at Berning & Affiliates act to strengthen practices, clarify vision and mission and help implement a practice transition. Recently I had a doctor indicate that what he wanted was to have an aspiring practice, one that everyone from staff, suppliers, professionals guiding the practice and doctors held one goal, to do their part better. It is a very interesting way to think of what is usually an operational discussion. In this discussion the operations were important to this doctor but not the most important. What was desired was an investment of caring by all involved to continuous improvement. It was a fresh take and one I thought would be interesting to share.

In Praise of The Steadfast Doctor CEO

In many practices the bright idea of the moment, week or month rules. By that I mean that the lead doctor interjects some modification or wholesale change and seeks to get all staff on board. It can be exhilarating but also highly disruptive with a jerky feel to the operations of the practice. On the other end of the spectrum is the Doctor CEO that is deliberative. This doctor introduces any significant practice system, administration or marketing change only after investigation and discussion with consultant(s), key staff and other doctors. When approached in this manner the practice has a smooth feel for all involved.