Serving the underserved is the mission behind working as a FQHC dentist. There are currently more than 1,300 Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) in the U.S. with the mission to offer services to everyone, regardless of their ability to pay. These community-based centers typically serve low income citizens in rural communities, and may often be the nearest healthcare facility for miles in these locations.
Dentists serve an important role in these facilities. Good oral health is linked to so many other conditions that having dental care is incredibly important to the patients served by FQHCs. But what is it like for a dentist to serve in these facilities? What are the benefits of working in an FQHC?
Serving a Vital Community Need
What if you could serve patients without worrying about the fees charged or whether your patient has insurance? That’s a big benefit for both patients and dentists; FQHC clinical teams don’t worry about some of the issues that cause such big headaches in the rest of the healthcare industry. FQHC dentists can focus strictly on providing the best care to the patient populations they serve, and not worry about how they will be paid.
There are other benefits of working in an FQHC for dentists concerned about giving back to the community. Loan-repayment packages can help you eliminate higher education debt, and there are often significant other benefits such as insurance, disability, retirement, malpractice, and license and DEA reimbursement.
Dentists have the options of working in a variety of settings and a variety of locations around the country. FQHCs are often located in beautiful parts of the country perfect for anyone interested in the outdoors. No matter the location, it is unlikely that you will be plagued with some of the responsibilities found in traditional practice settings. FQHC dentists enjoy some of the best work/life balance scenarios, including:
- Very little after hours on call.
- Little management responsibility.
- Paid vacation, sick time, and holidays.
- Regular work hours.
- Continuing education reimbursement.
- Student loan repayment.
- License, DEA, and malpractice benefits and reimbursement.
But these benefits do not compare with the feeling of giving back to a population that truly needs the help of these frontline healthcare providers. Dr. Gregory Maddalena recently wrote about his experiences serving as a dentist at an FQHC. He points out that he never felt the pressure of the traditional dental practice, whose emphasis on volume is a significant part of a small business strategy for so many providers. He writes, “I feel like I have struck a balance in an FQHC. I don’t have that pressure. I can concentrate on quality work, because I work for an organization that values what is best for the patient.”
For years, healthcare providers debated whether their ultimate goal was related more toward a mission of service to patients or to the margin and bottom line of their facility. Declining reimbursement has solved this debate for many providers who recognize that they must balance providing care with the overwhelming need to fulfill billable time by their clinicians. The biggest benefit of working for an FQHC is that the mission versus margin debate is moot; your job, as an FQHC dentist is to take care of the patient above all else.
UHC Solutions is proud to work with FQHCs and dentists to bring them together in the perfect partnership. If you are considering this rewarding work, please don’t hesitate to contact us.