Can a non-dentist be an owner in a Dental Practice in Florida?
In Florida, majority of dental practices are either owned by solo practitioners or a collective of dentists that can operate out of a single office or from a number of individual sites. These businesses are generally organized as sole proprietorships, partnerships or professional corporations that are completely owned by licensed dental practitioners. There are two key things to understand here: (1) the Prohibition against unlicensed practice of dentistry, and (2) what a non-licensed practice management support organization is allowed to do:
1. Be Careful - Here Are the Rules: Prohibition Against Unlicensed Practice of Dentistry
Florida does not allow non-dentists to own a dental practice, Non-dentists may not “[d]irect, control, or interfere with a dentist's clinical judgment.” Florida Statutes 466.0285(1)(c); if one does that they can be charged with a Felony.
466.026 Prohibitions; penalties.—
(1) Each of the following acts constitutes a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084:
(a) Practicing dentistry or dental hygiene unless the person has an appropriate, active license issued by the department pursuant to this chapter.
(b) Using or attempting to use a license issued pursuant to this chapter which license has been suspended or revoked.
(c) Knowingly employing any person to perform duties outside the scope allowed such person under this chapter or the rules of the board.
Florida Administrative Code 64B5-17.013 reinforces that that statute in its rules for Proprietorship by Non-dentists.
FAC 64B5-17.013 states as follows:
(1) No corporation, lay body, organization, or individual other than a licensed dentist or a professional corporation or limited liability company composed of dentists shall engage in the practice of dentistry through the means of engaging the services, upon a salary, commission, or other means of inducement, of any person licensed to practice dentistry in this state. The provisions of this rule are not applicable to dentists working under any of the settings described in Section 466.025, F.S.
2. However if done properly, the Florida Administrative Code Allows for contracting for "Practice Management Services" effectively Dental Practice Management Organizations or Dental Support Organizations
FAC 64B5-17.013 goes on to state that [Bolded for Emphasis]:
(4) A licensed dentist may enter into an agreement with a nondentist to receive “Practice Management Services.” The term “Practice Management Services” is defined to include consultation or other activities or services offered by someone other than a Florida licensed dentist regarding one or more of the following types of products or services:
(a) The suitability of dental office space, furnishings and equipment;
(b) Staff necessary to operate a dental practice;
(c) Regulatory compliance expertise and services;
(d) Methods to increase productivity of a dental practice;
(e) Inventory and supplies required to operate a dental practice;
(f) Information systems designed to produce financial and operational data on the dental practice;
(g) Marketing plans or advertising to increase productivity of a dental practice;
(h) Site selection, relocation, design or physical layout of a dental practice, or
(i) Financial services such as accounting and bookkeeping, monitoring and payment of accounts receivable, payment of leases and subleases, payroll or benefits administration, billing and collection for patient services, payment of federal or state income tax, personal property or intangible taxes, administration of interest expense or indebtedness incurred to finance the operation of the dental practice, or malpractice insurance expenses.
There is a methodical and proper way to setup practices so that they have two components: a clinical component that is run by licensed Dentists, and a separate organization that supports those dentists. Contact us to find out more.