Just like any other DSO.
Altius Healthcare Management was formed in 2016 in the well established pattern of every other dental service organization. Founded by a hard working husband and wife dentist team that had opened several practices, they realized the need to make a major investment in building a DSO platform in order to continue to grow. To do this, they brought in proven industry professionals who began to build the infrastructure needed to manage the complex needs of a multi-office, geographically diverse, company.
2 years and over $2.8M dollars later, their DSO platform continues to evolve. Today it supports a group of 30 practices across the State of Texas. During that 2 year journey, their team learned a lot of lessons. There were successes and failures. There were things that worked like they thought they would and things that just didn’t. They experimented with many different types of leadership models, bonus plans, and training initiatives. They were happy with the progress and gains made overall, but were still concerned about the future. The question that always came back around was how to get the best performance and patient experience at each practice, even though the payor and patient mix varied widely from location to location.
At the end of the day, those efforts yielded some benefits, but still left them feeling that they could be better. As they grew, they also faced the reality and challenges of managing hundreds of employees and over 38 dentists across one of the largest states in the US. That gave them a sense that the traditional DSO, where everyone is an employee model, may not be the best going forward. Their stress level was high and that filtered down to the team at all levels. Deep down, they all knew something needed to change, but they were still unsure what direction to go.
Born of adversity, a new vision comes forward.
They say nothing unlocks creativity like adversity. That was certainly true for the Altius management team. There was a month last year where so many major challenges jumped up and hit them right in the face all at once. They all realized right then and there that they needed an innovative solution to the unusual challenge of serving 30 dental offices, each with its own personality, patient mix, and practice maturity. They began to look for new ways to focus on delivering consistent value to a wider type of dental audience.
It also forced the Altius team to take a hard look at the role of the dentist and how past business models did not encourage full “buy in” or commitment from owner-operator. Without the day-to-day leadership of the owner-dentist, the practices could not reach their potential, especially when suggestions were coming from a “corporate office” hundreds of miles away. Further, the dentist-as-employee model created an unnatural, built-in tension between the employee doctor and the staff about who was really in control. This often led togeneral dissatisfaction, passive aggressive behavior by the staff and dentist, and ultimately, higher turnover on both sides.
In looking at the best way to encourage a strong local practice team to work together, the Altius team understood where their passion was and what they wanted to do. It wasn’t in trying to manage the dentist or exercise decision making at every level. Their passion was in building the back office system that would inspire each local team to support the front line dentist and their staff with a servant-leadership mindset. It was to develop a team that could work with and mentor the owner-dentist and his practice team to achieve breakthrough performance and success, while minimizing the mundane day-to-day administrative burden that tended to distract from an exceptional patient experience
Faced with this reality, they made a difficult choice. The dentist owners decided to make a hard pivot toward creating a partner driven DSO model that is light years away from the dentist as an employee practice model. They all envisioned several different ways it could work. In the end, it was Dr. Dhir that came up with the best idea. Dipping heavily into her 10 years of ownership experience, she had a wealth of knowledge and valuable lessons she had learned.
While growing rapidly, she and her husband had been courted by numerous DSOs with partnership offers. Traditional DSOs offered a tempting vision of the future, but the cost to entry and loss of control at the practice level was ultimately too much to give up. She knew it was foolish to allow a management company to come in and buy a large percentage of the practices she and her husband worked so hard to build. So taking everything she liked and eliminating everything she didn’t, a new concept was created.
The Altius team knew that if they got this model right, there was a real chance that they could build an unbeatable partnership where the owner-doctor sets the vision for quality of care and the patient experience, and Altius provides a dedicated team to lift the administrative burden from the dentist, and provides the needed resources and scalability for future growth.
Today, the Altius team thinks it has cracked the code and they are excited to be able to offer its new partnership model to select dental practices for the first time. We hope that you will consider becoming a partner as Altius redefines the future of what a dental service organization could be and should be.
Learn More About Altius
Discover how our partnership program can help increase the value of your current practice(s) while providing you the necessary resources to help you grow.
Dr. Gunjan Dhir, DDS
Chief Executive Officer
Dr. Gunjan Dhir graduated from the Himachal Dental College in 2002. She moved to the United States in the same year and began a prosthodontics residency. She completed her residency in 2005 and worked in private practice in Spokane, Washington.
Moving to Texas in 2008, she worked as an associate prior to opening her first practice in 2009. Since that time, she has been involved in the startup or acquisition of over 74 practices.
Her current role is to oversee the executive team, guide the growth strategy, work to ensure compliance through chart audits and provider utilization metrics. She is also heavily involved in the dentist recruiting for the company. She is married to Dr. Gaurav Puri and together they have two children.
When not at work, she enjoys reading, traveling, and doing activities with the kids.
Dr. Gaurav Puri, DDS
Chief Dental Officer
Dr. Gaurav Puri graduated from Himachal Dental College in 2002. Following the same career path as Dr. Dhir, they have worked together their entire careers.
As the Chief Dental Officer, Dr. Puri spends the vast majority of this time working in the practices. He routinely works with associate providers to increase their skills and ability. He also takes on the most challenging cases.
He also takes a hands on approach to working with the staff to increase their productivity and performance. He gives actionable intelligence to the corporate team on areas to focus on at the practice level. His insight and hands on approach is crucial to the success of the company.
When not in the chair, Dr Puri enjoys traveling, family time, watching movies, and playing cricket.
Russell Wallace, CPA
Chief Financial Officer
Russell served in the US Army Reserves for 6 years while attending the University of North Texas in pursuit of an accounting degree. He began his accounting career at Montgomery, Coscia, and Greilich LLP, the largest non-public accounting firm in the State of Texas. While there over 5 years, he specialized in tax, accounting, consulting, and M&A (Mergers & Acquisition).
This would later serve him well as he ventured into the dental industry. He has helped to build a healthcare focused accounting & consulting firm and has also built a small, startup DSO with the help of other partners. Russell also been heavily involved in several M&A projects in the healthcare space that yielded large increases in EBITDA and thus, overall valuation thanks to Russell’s effort.
His role at Altius is to oversee the financial performance of the company and ensure profitability, accountability, and revenue cycle management. Russell is married with 2 children. They have also recently adopted two other children. He also routinely travels abroad to perform mission trips in Africa.
Darren E. Boggs
Chief Operating Officer
Darren served in the United States Army for over 14 years. After leaving the military, he pursued a career with Patterson Dental. While there, he developed a number of relationships with dental practice owners.
Through these connections, he left to work on the business side of the dental industry. Joining a small DSO, he quickly learned the industry and saw the opportunity to help more dentists own their own practices. From starting as a small time consultant, to being instrumental in the building of three dental management organizations, Darren quickly learned how to build teams and systems that work.
As the Chief Operating Officer, Darren oversees the day to day operations of the company. He is also responsible for maintaining and improving the key systems and processes needed to keep the company operating smoothly and efficiently. Darren loves to read and is an avid student of history. Often weaving historical context into today’s challenges, his focus is always on the pursuit for improvement and excellence.