Why Recruitment of Dentists is Growing
Why is recruitment of Dentists growing? This past quarter, we unveiled our pledge to help end the physician and nursing shortage. At THMED, we are committed to provide quality staffing solutions for health care organizations across our great nation. Like other quarters, primary care dominates the top in-demand physician specialties, and this year for the first time we’ve seen dental professionals demand increase. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Employment of Dentists is projected to grow 18 percent from 2014 to 2024, much faster than the average for all occupations. The demand for dental services will increase as the population ages, cosmetic dental services become increasingly popular.”
Why is there a Demand for Dentists?
According to the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, the United States is only meeting 38% of the demand needed for Dental Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSA) nationally. According to a recent article in the Washington Post, “More than 50 million Americans live in areas officially designated by the federal government as Dental Health Professional Shortage Areas. A great many of them are working poor.” Much like the shortage of primary care and mental health physicians, the need is greatest in rural populations and areas of lower income populations. For many Americans, dental procedures are often avoided or skirted due to higher insurance premiums and access to affordable dental care.
The aging population also affects how dental practices will grow. Many Dentists are set to retire in the next decade and their positions will need to be filled. Also, Dental Economics predicts that “by 2040, 62% of dental expenditures are expected to come from patients who are at least 40 years old.” How health policy is enacted in the next decade will also affect the expenditures, as more government funded insurance programs will lead to increases in children and young adults visiting the dentist.
The uncertainty of healthcare policy and these glaring shortages affect the practice structures. Typically, a dental practice is independent, wherein the Dentist owns the practice and manages the clinical care. But, much like the solo Family Practitioner, Dentists are less interested in the burden of practice management and ownership and looking to partner with outside organizations for better work/life balance. One way we’ve seen that affect recruitment is the growing desire for Dentists to find employment within established organizations, like health centers and larger hospital groups. These also offer employment incentives like student loan repayment, robust support staff, and more flexible schedules. The trend of “Corporate Medicine” is growing in dentistry, mirroring what we’ve seen in primary care with mergers, acquisitions, and the emergence of management groups. Corporate dental practices have grown in the form of Dental Support Organizations (DSO) and Dental Management Service Organizations (DMSO). In these organizations, the Dentist provides the clinical care, but a management group handles accounting, marketing, staffing, and practice management.
As facilities face these changes in the workforce and emerging practice trends, it’s important to have a recruitment partner who is up to speed on the latest trends. Keep coming back to our blog for more healthcare workforce insight and reach out to us if you have any unfilled dentist needs!