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Episode #445: How to Put Together a Crisis Coverage Plan, with Paul Sletten

the best practices show podcast Jul 13, 2022

  Sometimes, you can't see bad things coming. And when it happens, you need to be prepared. One way is by having a crisis coverage plan, and Kirk Behrendt brings back Paul Sletten, founder of the Sletten Group, to share his expert advice on how to create a plan that will keep you covered and buy you time. Stay covered no matter your age, health, or financial situation! To learn how to check your boxes for coverage, listen to Episode 445 of The Best Practices Show!

Main Takeaways:

  • Join or create a practice coverage group.
  • Three or four dentists is not enough for a group.
  • Coverage groups should meet regularly and often.
  • Be selective in putting your coverage group together.
  • Plan out who makes the call in a crisis, and who to call.
  • Coverage groups can also help in non-crisis situations.


  • “[Having a crisis plan is] extremely important. Everybody needs to have a transition plan in place, regardless of what stage they're at in their career. In fact, they need to have two plans.” (4:04—4:20)
  • “Maybe the percentage of [a crisis happening] is smaller than five percent — but they happen. And when they happen, one of two things will occur: either the practice will go into a nosedive because they're not acting on it or putting a plan together or had never thought about it previously, or the practice will get covered.” (4:42—5:06)
  • “Simply defined, a crisis of this type would be something that alters the ability of the owner of the practice to be able to continue to be productive in the practice, either for a short period of time because they're ill but they're going to recover, or for an extended period of time because they were in an accident and can't physically perform and that puts them in a crisis, or because something happens tragically, and they die. But that's very rare compared to the likelihood of disability.” (6:02—6:42)
  • “The place to begin is to put together what we call a practice coverage group. A practice coverage group is a group of like-minded dentists who respect each other and who are in proximity to each other who would be capable of covering for one another in the event of disability or some kind of a crisis. And I've seen people put these groups together, but they’d only put three or four dentists in their coverage group. And that's a real tremendous strain on the covering dentists. That's not enough.” (8:07—8:49)
  • “If you only have three or four [dentists in your practice coverage group], they're going to run out of gas and put the practice back in jeopardy — even though it had been covered — because they just don't have the time to do it, because there's such a big time demand on each person. So, eight or nine, those are really good numbers.” (9:15—9:37)
  • “The commitments that the coverage group would be able to make would be to cover the practice for three months, let's say, pretty much at a max. It can go longer than that, but in our experience, that pretty well maxes it out. But that does buy you time, if it’s going to be a slow recovery, to find a locum tenens who can come in and be the dentist to cover it for several months, if needed.” (11:09—11:44)
  • “In some situations, we've seen where by the time we get called, a couple of months have gone by [since the crisis occurred]. The team has no idea what their future is, and the family is so grief-stricken, in the event of a death, that they haven't taken any action and they haven't called anybody. So, part of the plan you need there in the crisis coverage plan is there needs to be, ‘If this happens, who makes the call, and who do you call?’” (15:33—16:08)
  • “Insurance companies are very slow to pay with disability coverage too, as you all know . . . I would say five to six months. In the event of a death, in the event of life insurance, if your practice is worth a million dollars and you're in a partnership, for example, you need to carry insurance that will allow, upon your death, your estate to be paid off for your ownership share, which will allow the other partner to now be 100% owner and be able to take it forward. In a situation like that, I recommend over-insuring the risk. So, if it’s worth a million dollars, take out insurance, between the two of them, for a million-two, or a million-four.” (17:27—18:38)
  • “As your practice grows and as your income grows, you just have to stay with it and commit to it to continue to expand your [disability] coverage. People start out well-intended and have a base coverage at the beginning, and maybe take one or two increments of taking it higher, but then go to sleep on that issue and get into a situation where their coverage is puny compared to what they need. You can't have enough disability insurance.” (21:31—22:05)
  • “When you first start putting this together, the doctors who are going to be in this coverage group have to have meetings and talk about what they're going to do. It’s always so easy for them to overpromise one another about how much coverage they're going to be able to provide in the event that it’s needed. And that's why I really strongly recommend that you maybe go four months. But three months seems to be the max.” (22:45—23:16)
  • “Some people, with great intention, put a group like this together. And then, once they’ve got it together, they [only] meet every three to five years. And that just doesn't work.” (25:23—25:35)


  • 0:00 Introduction.
  • 2:27 Paul’s background.
  • 3:56 Why it’s important to put a crisis plan in place.
  • 5:30 Defining crisis.
  • 7:22 Where to start with planning.
  • 8:49 Things to know when putting together a coverage group.
  • 10:56 Laying out expectations.
  • 15:03 Plan who to call, and who makes the call.
  • 16:09 Check every box when it comes to insurance.
  • 20:15 Things to know about overhead insurance and disability insurance.
  • 22:22 How to start putting the plan together.
  • 24:57 How often the coverage group should meet.
  • 26:04 Other things to know in planning.
  • 27:30 Have a 100-day plan in place.
  • 30:11 Get everything in writing.
  • 31:41 Last thoughts on the crisis coverage plan.
  • 32:22 More about Paul and how to get in touch.

Reach Out to Paul:

Paul’s email: [email protected] 

Paul Sletten Bio:

Paul D. Sletten founded the Sletten Group, Inc. in 1975 in Denver, Colorado. They are in their 47th year of business and have developed an international clientele, having assisted and completed transitions in all 50 states, six provinces in Canada, and two states in Australia. They continue to exclusively work with fee-for-service dentists and their teams around the country.

It is exciting to see both people and practices grow, and to know they have had a hand in so many transitions brings them enormous joy. Their wide-ranging experiences allow them to bring what they have learned to each new client situation. This experience helps them know how to tailor their services to the unique needs of each client and to be able to offer multiple options to almost any client situation. Due to this ability to customize their services, the Sletten Group also works with all of the specialty practices in the dental industry.

Paul has spoken at more than 285 dental meetings around the country. This includes almost all of the major dental meetings and numerous study clubs. The topics focus on all aspects of Practice Transitions — including buying a dental practice, selling a dental practice, and much more — as well as personal growth and development for dentists and team members.

Pam Sletten, a partner in the group, assists and works in the business and is very involved in helping their clients.

In an effort to expand their range of services for young dentists and prospective buyers, the Sletten Group helps in evaluating practice opportunities and sets a proper course for professional lives. All at the Sletten Group continue to focus on their own personal growth. They come to the world with a sense of wonder and are constantly on a quest to learn more and apply that learning to the benefit of their clients.


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