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Transition Tale: Better Fit, Perfect Match

Posted by Betsy Krekling, ADA Advisor on 9/20/21 8:15 AM
Betsy Krekling, ADA Advisor

From left: Drs. Raimann, Satula, Ebert, and Mueller

Dr. Katie Satula’s busy practice has a well-earned reputation for family-friendly dentistry. The practice has been a fixture in Hales Corners, Wisconsin for over 30 years, treating several generations. [Pictured from left: Drs. Raimann, Satula, Ebert, and Mueller. Drs. Raimann and Mueller were the original owners of the practice and are now enjoying their retirements.]

“I love being your local family dentist who sees a little one for their first appointment, all the way to their great-great grandma and everyone in between,” says Dr. Katie.

When the practice’s senior dentist began planning to retire, Dr. Katie knew she needed to find an associate.

However, she wanted someone who shared a similar philosophy of care – someone who would provide the same friendly, education-focused care that patients are used to.

“I believe in creating a culture that promotes responsibility to one’s self with their oral care,” she says. “I try and educate each of my patients not just in what we are doing, but why we are doing it.”

How ADA Practice Transitions made the right match

Luckily, Dr. Katie had served on the Wisconsin Dental Association’s Practice Transitions Committee. In that role, she learned about ADA Practice Transitions™ (ADAPT). ADAPT’s goal is to help dentists find practices and people with a similar approach to dentistry. Research shows that matches rooted with compatible “philosophies of care” are more successful, with happier dentists, patients, and staff.

Confident that ADAPT could help find the right dentist for her practice, Dr. Katie created her free profile. As her ADA Advisor, I spoke with her and learned a bit more about her goals, then shared ADAPT’s Associate Contracting Toolkit so she could begin thinking about the interview and negotiations process.

Meanwhile, I had recently spoken with an incoming dentist in the same area – Dr. Sidney Ebert, then an associate in a Milwaukee DSO. She was looking for a better “fit” that fell beyond her tough non-compete clause – but wouldn’t require her to move or take on a long commute. I also live in the suburban Milwaukee area, so I knew it might be tough to find that balance.

When I read Dr. Sidney’s philosophy of care statement, it reminded me instantly of Dr. Katie’s. I pulled them up side by side and indeed – they were even almost the same word count! Both dentists talked about how important transparency and education are to their work, and both place an emphasis on learning from daily challenges. Dr. Katie described it like this:

“I enjoy dentistry because every minute is something new and no two procedures are alike. I enjoy continuously learning and growing in the field of dentistry both professionally and personally.”

Meanwhile, Dr. Sidney said:

“I enjoy dentistry because every day is a new challenge. This is why I am excited for the age of digital dentistry and the constant changes and improvements to our technologies. I want to keep my skills up-to-date with evidence-based practices. It takes diligence, hard work, and experience to learn from mistakes and appreciate the challenges.”

I looked again. The locations worked, as did their timelines and other goals. They even shared an alma mater. I urged the two to connect.

They hit it off and soon began working through the ADAPT Associate Contracting Toolkit to negotiate the particulars. They signed in November, and Dr. Sidney joined the Hales Corner practice in December. Today, they work together to deliver just the right kind of care to long-term patients of all ages.

“Dr. Sidney fits in so well – it’s like she’s always been here,” says Dr. Katie. “The patients think she’s great, and so do the staff. I’m excited about the future of our practice, and I’m thrilled that ADAPT was able to match us.”

Ready to find your own match? Create your free ADA Practice Transitions profile today to get started!

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Topics: transition tales


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