Weathering the COVID-19 Storm: Interview with Dr. Blair Brown of Mortenson Family Dental

Our last article focused on the benefits of joining Mortenson Dental Partners, particularly as the industry weathers new challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. But what would one of our supported dentists say about it? Would he agree that being a part of a DSO was beneficial during this unprecedented time? We sat down with Dr. Blair Brown of Mortenson Family Dental to get his honest feedback on the value of MDP’s support.

How did being part of a DSO benefit you personally as a clinician?

Immediately following the Governor’s restriction on what level of care I could provide as a dentist to my patients, there were so many unanswered questions. I was receiving multiple emails every day on what was allowed, what was restricted, protocols, new precautions and procedures to keep everyone safe. It would have been very overwhelming to try to interpret and follow up on all of this information. As part of Mortenson Dental Partners, I received weekly or sometimes more frequent updates from our regional leadership team on exactly what I needed to do to stay compliant and safe. This allowed me to focus on providing the emergency care that so many people needed since most dental offices could not stay open. Equally impactful was how our organization was able to secure the PPE that we needed. I never was without the proper supplies to keep our team and patients safe. It was delivered for me right when I needed it. This would have been impossible for me to accomplish on my own.    

How did being part of a DSO benefit your team?

Not only did I receive weekly updates on protocol and procedures, but my Practice Manager, my front desk team, my hygienists, and my assistants also had communications and updates on a regular basis. This was true for those still working, and for those who were temporarily furloughed.   

How did being part of a DSO impact how you managed your practice, team and patient base?

The support and flexibility we have as an organization allowed us to care for patients at my individual practice as well as those at practices that were not able to stay open during the restricted period. I was able to watch over patients from multiple areas of the city. That included patients who were not already part of our group. It was the support services at a central level that helped coordinate and schedule this effort. Communication was the key to handling so many patients that were new to me as a provider. I was able to get information from the individual patient’s home office via this support mechanism. It also helped to have clear and distinct protocols developed by our leadership team that I could then implement very quickly and efficiently to ensure patient care continued during a time of great change and uncertainty. 

What was your biggest concern while dental restrictions were in place? Was MDP able to address this concern?

My biggest concern during the restricted period was that we would unknowingly not be in compliance with best practices in regards to PPE and safety protocols. This would then lead to endangering my team or patients due to lack of information, and potentially bring scrutiny from the board of dentistry or the Governor’s office. This concern was greatly allayed by the weekly, and sometimes more frequent, updates from our leadership team. I had emails, phone calls, and zoom meetings with the leadership team outlining exactly what we needed to be doing to stay safe and compliant.   

What advice would you give to single-practice owners who may be weighing the idea of joining a DSO? 

I would advise them that they should evaluate how much of their own personal time they spend running their practice up and above the actual patient care. Then determine if they would rather have this time for themselves and their families. MDP handles so much for me that I would otherwise have to do myself. This allows me to focus on practice goals, patient care, and improving my own skill set. This was particularly driven home during the restricted period due to COVID-19. On my own I would have been forced to close down, but with MDP, I was supported and able to continue treating patients. I do feel it is very important to evaluate which DSO they would consider joining. MDP supports me, which gives me such great autonomy with my patient care. I feel supported and not micromanaged.  

In your opinion, why should private practice owners consider joining the MDP family?

The future of dentistry is in group practice. I saw this trend while in dental school 11 years ago. This idea was a leading factor in deciding to join MDP. Of all the DSOs I know about, MDP gives me the most autonomy and support to operate as an individual within a larger support network.  100% yes!

Is there anything else that you’d like to share about your experience of running a dental practice and treating patients during the COVID-19 pandemic?

I was committed to our organization before this crisis. I am even more committed to it now. When I see how my experience differed from colleagues of mine in private practice I am so grateful to have such support behind me. I feel as a collective group, our organization is so much stronger than the sum of its parts. As our Governor has said so many times, “We will get through this, we will get through this together.” 

Thank you, Dr. Brown!

If you’re a dentist who is looking for guidance to help move past the COVID-19 crisis and are considering your options, we would love to talk with you. Please view our Doctor Opportunities or contact our Development team for more information.