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Stephen Thorne: New Initiatives, Markets for PDS

Since Stephen Thorne IV won a Business Journal Excellence in Entrepreneurship Award last May for building Pacific Dental Services into a company with more than $2 billion in annual sales, he’s entered a new market—working with general practitioners.

In December, the Irvine-based PDS announced a unique joint venture to open at least 25 PDS supported dental offices inside MemorialCare health centers in Orange and Los Angeles counties.

“This is the future,” Thorne said. “I really believe it. No one in the U.S. has done before what we’re trying to accomplish.”

The company isn’t sitting on its laurels. In October, PDS announced what it called a “significant milestone” by opening its 900th supported practice.

“We’re honored that so many dentists have trusted us to provide the support services, proven technology and innovation to their clinical practices that enable outstanding patient care,” Thorne said.

It also launched an integrated medical-dental practice, Sahara Health Group in Las Vegas to offer patients “a holistic strategy to managing their overall health care through a variety of services under one roof.”

It partnered with the American Diabetes Association to educate people on the link between periodontal disease and diabetes. It also started a pilot program to offer blood sugar testing in 30 supported practices.

Last month, PDS, which provides back-office support to free dentists to concentrate on their customers, said it’s grown 31% in the past three years, including capturing market share in several of the states where it operates.

The company integrated the software of Epic Systems Corp. into all of PDS’s supported practices.

Thorne also made a $4 million donation to his father’s alma mater, University of the Pacific.

“This past year has been one of the most challenging and one of the most fulfilling years of my career,” Thorne said. “So even though we were faced with some very challenging economic issues, we were able to keep working on one of my passions, to bridge the gap between dental and medical care for patients and bring further awareness to the Mouth-Body Connection.”

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Peter J. Brennan
Peter J. Brennan
Peter J. Brennan has been a journalist for 40 years. He spent a decade in Latin America covering wars, narcotic traffickers, earthquakes, and business. His resume includes 15 years at Bloomberg News where his headlines and articles sometimes moved the market caps of companies he covered by hundreds of millions of dollars. His articles have been published worldwide, including the New York Times and the Washington Post; he's appeared on CNN, CBC, BBC, and Bloomberg TV. He was awarded a Kiplinger Fellowship at The Ohio State University.
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