How does a general dentist with a strong bias in favor of private practice, eventually decide to join a group partnership? Dr. Douglas Bogan—lead practitioner at an Apex Dental Partners partnered practice in Houston, Texas—has one simple answer:
“You can’t paint any corporate practice model with a broad brush. It doesn’t work, and it’s not truthful.”
Since earning his dental license, Dr. Bogan has built and maintained a prominent presence in dentistry. He is currently an active member of the American Dental Association, Texas Dental Association, and Greater Houston Dental Society, of which he was formerly president. Dr. Bogan was also once named Texas Dentist of the Year by the Texas Academy of General Dentistry and elected president of the University of Texas School of Dentistry Alumni Association before becoming a clinical assistant professor in the Department of General Practice at the University of Texas School of Dentistry in Houston, where he still serves.
Dr. Bogan’s sentiments about corporate dentistry specifically developed after joining a task force hosted by the American College of Dentists. Responsible for examining the ethics within corporate dentistry, the group discovered there’s great diversity in DSO models, and that bad actors can exist in both private practice and dental partnerships.
“Ethics comes down to the individuals practicing. It comes down to how they serve patients, lead their team, and conduct their businesses.”
Dr. Bogan and his partners liked how Apex conducted business and that the values they promoted for patient care and leadership aligned with their own, so they sought a partnership. However, what did Apex’s model and business practice offer to appeal to Dr. Bogan and his previous partners? That answer lies in the rest of Dr. Bogan’s story.
From Solo Practice to a Powerful Partnership
As a kid growing up in West Texas, Dr. Bogan thought his science classes were exciting and intriguing; they inspired him to pursue and receive a Bachelor of Arts in Zoology from Texas Tech University, then a dental degree from the University of Texas Dental Branch in 1973. From there, he opened his first practice
“I came out of school with confidence that I was in the right field, so I started a practice. I had a lot to learn, so it took me a while to become confident as a practitioner and operator. But I trusted it would all work out.”
His optimism and commitment to learning proved essential to his success, as Dr. Bogan practiced solo for 19 years until deciding to partner with a friend from dental school.
“The lease for my office was about to end, and I didn’t want to renew it. I told my friend about my situation and asked for advice. The next thing I knew, he asked me to join him and the other clinician at his practice. One thing led to another, and we merged in 1992.”
As a result of their impressive leadership skills, experience, and wealth of expertise, Dr. Bogan and his partners had a successful approach to patient care. When they discussed the possibility of selling their practice, they knew they needed a special partner.
Overcoming Industry Biases
In 2019, Dr. Bogan and his partners contacted a brokerage to obtain a practice valuation and set a retirement plan. During the conversation, however, they were surprised to learn that partnering with a corporate group would be their best option.
“They told us that we probably wouldn’t be able to sell our practice for what it was worth if we sold it to an individual, a small group of individuals, or in piecemeal as we retired. To get the maximum return, we’d have to go corporate.”
This news induced hesitation. Dr. Bogan and his partners had been heavily involved in the local, state, and national levels of the American Dental Association and had developed a strong alliance with private practice owners and saw the value in continuing the legacy of privately owned practices. However, they took the broker’s advice and interviewed five corporate buyers.
“During that time, we learned several different corporate approaches. It was unfair to paint with such a broad brush. We came out of the conversation with Apex thinking they were the only one we’d want to accept an offer from.”
Apex presented a solution to dentistry that Dr. Bogan and his partners needed, a model that offered support without impeding on clinical autonomy and patient care. Private Practice Reimagined® embraces the traditional aspects of private practice that clinicians admire most: long-term patient relationships, a happy, tenured staff, and of course, clinical service and excellence. By combining dentists’ highest priorities with the support and resources of a larger organization, Apex’s model was a unique solution that set them apart.
“We knew there were accusations against some corporate entities where people other than the dentist would examine patients, create treatment plans, or force the treating dentist to do things that weren’t in the patient’s best interest. But the commitment with Apex was pretty clear. They wanted to partner with our practice without changing how we approached patient care.”
Benefits of Partnering with Apex
While their unique approach to partnered dentistry motivated Dr. Bogan and his partners to join the Apex Family, those weren’t the only benefits that sprang from the partnership. Dr. Bogan noticed many advantages, including the ability to offload day-to-day administrative tasks relating to HR and IT. Apex handled those responsibilities, allowing Dr. Bogan to provide strategic input at his convenience, focus more on patient care, and lead his dental team.
Another benefit of partnering with Apex was the smooth transition it led when the first of Dr. Bogan’s partners retired. As new clinicians and team members were brought on board, Dr. Bogan remained active in the selection process to ensure the standard for patient service would be maintained.
Don’t Be Afraid to Seep Support
Partnering with Apex has helped make Dr. Bogan’s 50-year-long career a fulfilling and enjoyable one, something he didn’t initially expect from a corporate group. He continues to happily practice dentistry and hopes to keep doing so for as long as he’s physically able.
For dentists who are considering partnering with a corporate entity but have reservations about moving forward, Dr. Bogan has uplifting advice.
“If you’ve only seen one corporate model, then you’ve only seen one. There’s a lot out there regarding how these practice models play out. Take some time to be clear about your personal and professional goals. Seek the advice of trusted advisors. Then, you’ll be able to move forward with confidence in the path you choose.”
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By choosing the right partner, selling your dental practice can be one of the most rewarding experiences of your professional career. At Apex Dental Partners, we work closely with you every step of the way to ensure you feel comfortable and confident you're making the best decision for your future.