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While dentists have continued serving the community from the beginning of the pandemic, they’ve also been subject to other challenges that are decaying their businesses and causing both residents and employers alike to flee the state. 

That was the message from Dr. Mitchell Weiner, president of the NJ Dental Association, who presented during a recent New Jersey Business Coalition online town hall meeting. 

“Between March 17 and May 25, I was alone with no staff and suboptimal PPE—due to supply chain issues—performing any urgent dental care my patients needed in order to keep them out of the COVID-ridden hospital emergency rooms,” he said. “The members of the NJDA, my colleagues, did the same, rising to the occasion as healthcare heroes, all while their businesses were at the brink of collapse.” 

That collapse, according to Weiner, is a direct result of bad practices by the state of New Jersey, which he said has fostered a tax environment that discourages job growth and encourages residents and entrepreneurs to out-migrate to more affordable states. 

“Our young people are leaving the state and our boomers are leaving the state. For a dental practice, there is no growth without young patients and decreased productivity with the diminishing pool of boomers,” he said. 

However, Weiner said it’s not just patients leaving New Jersey in droves because of its bad policies, but dentists as well. 

“We need Trenton to solve the license turnaround problems that have left practice owners unable to onboard new associates, further incentivizing young dentists to seek employment in other states,” he said. “Procurement of licenses for every single occupation that requires one is inefficiently centralized in one place. 

“The COVID pandemic has only exacerbated a system that was in dire need of a reboot.” 

The New Jersey Business Coalition’s “State of New Jersey Business” online town hall provided an opportunity for business owners and coalition members to discuss the current and future needs of the business community. More than 150 people attended the virtual event on Jan. 11, including a dozen state legislators and administration officials who were also on the call. 

To listen to Weiner’s full presentation, click here.