UW News

April 16, 2018

Statement on UW School of Dentistry financial deficit

The following is a statement from Victor Balta, UW spokesperson, on the financial deficit in the University of Washington School of Dentistry:

“The UW School of Dentistry’s financial deficit is the result of several significant factors. It is a collective problem and will require collective actions. Scapegoating of individual clinics, centers, deans or faculty members is not constructive. An independent review by Deloitte specifically noted:

  • Budgets within the School have been managed in silos without sufficient tracking and transparency.
  • Multiple clinics are not profitable and are operating in a deficit. In some cases, this is due to overstaffing and high Medicaid payer mix, among other factors, leaving some clinics with a high Medicaid population unable to balance their budgets.
  • Staffing is not consistent across clinics and support staff are not cross-trained. Some clinics do not have enough patients to support their staffing, while other clinics may have to cancel appointments due to lack of staff. Clinic leadership and faculty appear to feel protective of their staff and have been averse to a “float pool” model due to lack of confidence and unknown skillset, which is even more evident in certain specialties.
  • Until May 31, faculty are afforded one day a week to practice either off campus or in the Faculty Practice clinic. Historically, many of the Faculty Practice clinics operated at a deficit, yet some revenue payments were still being made to faculty. And even after May 31, faculty will still be afforded one day a week to practice off campus, as has been the case for years, meaning they could see current patients as part of a private practice.

Significant changes are needed to address the School’s financial situation while maintaining a commitment to its foundational mission, and assure that it continues to provide excellent education and service. These decisions are difficult ones for everyone involved, particularly when positions need to be eliminated. Aligning and cross-training clinic staff, developing budget processes that are transparent and break down silos, and establishing a transparent incentive program will begin to get the School in better financial shape. We are in the process of identifying a new interim dean and, in the meantime, Provost Jerry Baldasty will maintain overall decision-making authority while continuing to work with the School’s leadership to take steps toward addressing the School’s financial troubles.”