Thursday, February 24, 2011

Where Are The Jobs?

I am sure you, too, are probably sick of hearing this question. With all of the talk in the media about jobs, or the lack thereof, one might assume that dentists are in the same boat. Generally speaking, this is not the case. What the media fails to report is that, even though the overall unemployment rate is at a very high level in the upper 9% range, the fact of the matter is that among those with a college education, the unemployment rate is actually in the 4% range. Additionally, according to government estimates, there will be a shortage of 14 million college educated workers over the next 10 years.

Here at ETS Dental, we see this reality as we are contacted regularly by dental practices who cannot find an associate. The problem practices are experiencing is due to the fact that dentists, as a group, are at full employment. It is also a fact that over the next 10 years, there will be more dentists retiring than will be coming out of dental school, which will further exacerbate the problem.

Another job inequity in the dental industry is that the distribution of dentists is not equal on a per capita basis. Many practices that approach us for help finding an associate are located in outlying areas which are considered “underserved” because doctors tend to prefer working in a metropolitan area. This had let to a saturation of dentists in the big cities.

That said, there certainly are dentists who are feeling the negative effects of the economic downturn, and they are even more pronounced with some of the dental specialties. Over the last couple of years, Orthodontists have experienced the most difficult times in memory as the treatment they provide is something that can be viewed as “elective” or postponable by people during a tough economy. Another specialty that has taken a hit has been Endodontics as more general dentists have been keeping more of this “in house”.

Where are the jobs? For dentists they are out there. They just might not be where you are looking, but they are there.

My advice to practice owners would be to do your due diligence on associate hires, but do not drag your feet. There are a lot of other practices who are looking, and the unemployment numbers you are hearing from the media are not reflective of the employment of dentists.

My advice to dentists looking for a new opportunity is to expand your parameters and consider areas 45 minutes to an hour outside of the area that you feel you want to work. You may just find that there is a lot to be said for being a bigger fish in a smaller pond rather that a little fish in a big pond. The rewards can be much greater all the way around!

Written by Gary Harris, Dental Specialist Recruiter at ETS Dental. You can reach Gary directly at (540) 491-9115 or Find out more at

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

ADA: American Dental Association - Recession slows dental spending

ADA: American Dental Association - Recession slows dental spending

Recession slows dental spending

First annual decline in 50 years

Washington—Patients spent less out-of-pocket and dental spending declined slightly in 2009, the first year-to-year decline since government analysts began tracking the National Health Expenditure Accounts in 1960. Dental spending per capita also declined.

The economic recession that officially ended in June 2009 "profoundly influenced" health care spending during the year, according to a report prepared by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Office of the Actuary National Health Accounts and described in the journal Health Affairs.

Government analysts said a slower rate of growth in consumer out-of-pocket spending for health care compared to 2008 "was due mainly to declines in out-of-pocket spending for dental services, services provided by nursing care facilities, and physician and clinical services, sectors that account for a relatively large share of out-of-pocket spending.

Image: Health expenses

"These declines were largely the result of decreased use, as consumers delayed getting medical care because of recession-related drops in household income and loss of health insurance. Cost-sharing was reported to have increased in 2009 as employers responded to the economic downturn. However, this increase was partially offset by reduced household income, which caused people to be more cautious in their spending."

Overall health spending grew by 4 percent, albeit at the slowest rate of growth in 50 years, and grabbed an increasing share of the gross domestic product as health spending continued to outpace the general economy.

The declines in dental spending and in out-of-pocket spending for dental services from 2008 to 2009 were the first reported since the NHEA began tracking health spending 50 years ago. Dental spending increased inexorably and annually from just under $2 billion in 1960 to $102,273,600,000 in 2008 but declined by 0.1 percent in 2009 to $102,221,900,000. Out-of-pocket spending for dental services grew apace but fell from $44.9 billion in 2008 to $42.5 billion in 2009, a 5.5 percent decline.

Health insurance, private and public, paid $59.3 billion of the nation's dental bill in 2009 and other third-party payers and programs, primarily state and local general assistance and Indian Health Services, covered nearly $500 million.

Private sector insurers spent $50 billion on dental services or 6.2 percent of the private health insurance benefits for personal health care expenditures in 2009. However, the recession led to slower growth in private health insurance expenditures and impacted household, government and provider investments in the health care economy as well, the government analysts said. Providers reduced their spending for capital investments by 2.7 percent in 2009.

On the public side of the dental ledger, federal and state Medicaid and state Children's Health Insurance Programs spent $7.9 billion, the Department of Defense $1 billion, Medicare $290 million and the Department of Veterans Affairs $77 million.

Health care spending totaled $2.5 trillion in 2009 or $8,086 per person. This includes $332 per person for dental services, a decline from $336 in 2008, said Joseph Benson, dental analyst for the 2009 NHEA.

"The economic recession that began in December 2007 and ended in June 2009 was the longest of all recessions since World War II," the NHEA team said. "The health care sector felt its effects more quickly than was the case in past recessions, leading total national health spending in 2009 to grow at a historically low rate.

"Although the recession contributed greatly to slower health spending growth, the burden of financing health spending increased for households, businesses and governments as the resources available to pay for that care declined. By the end of 2009, the United States was devoting just over one-sixth of its available financial resources to its health care system, a system that in 2010 embarked on an ambitious reform aimed at expanding coverage, improving health outcomes and slowing spending growth," the CMS authors concluded.

The Business Cycle Dating Committee of the National Bureau of Economic Research determined that the recession ended and a recovery began in June 2009.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Effective Voice Mail Messages

Is phone tag slowing you down in your job search? Are your emails with potential hiring authorities lobbing back and forth with no personal contact? Change your message method. It's a simple thing to do and will offer a more effective response. Here is an example of a clear, concise message:

"Hello, my name is Jerry Robinson, and I am a dentist in Philadelphia, PA. I have been working as an Associate since 1979; however, I am ready to find a new experience. I thought I might touch base to see if you have any new opportunities. Contact me either at (555) 555-5555 after 4:00 p.m. any day this week, or email me at and let me know when I can talk directly with you. Again, my name is Dr. Robinson, and my number is (555) 555-5555. Thanks, and I look forward to talking with you soon."

Simplicity is often the best tool to use in communication, but include key information to lay the groundwork for what could potentially be a new beginning in your career.

Written by Marsha Hatfield-Elwell, Recruiter at ETS Dental. You can reach Marsha at (540) 491-9116 or Find out more at