Changes in Practice Settings of Iowa Dentists, 1997-2013: Third Brief in a Series
Recent changes in the health care system emphasize increased coordination of services and improved health outcomes, which have contributed to the transition toward more physicians practicing in large group or hospital-based settings. However, similar trends in dentistry have not been as pronounced. As of 2012, only 18% of physicians nationwide worked in a solo practice, whereas in 2010, 69% of private practice dentists were practicing solo. Although changes in the dental care system have not kept pace with changes in medicine, the proportion
of dentists nationwide who work in solo practices is slowly declining.
Concurrently, there has been an increase in the number of dentists nationwide who practice in public delivery settings such as federally qualified health centers (FQHCs). This is likely to continue while the public delivery system undergoes changes as a result of the Affordable Care Act.
The aim of this issue brief is to examine changes in the practice settings of Iowa’s dentist workforce from 1997-2013 and to make comparisons with nationwide trends.