In August 2005, Hurricane Katrina let loose a fury of water that flooded Gulfport, Mississippi, and leveled the successful practice of McCabe Dental Clinic. Located on 16th Street, a short walk to the Gulf of Mexico, this third-generation dental practice, owned by doctors Mike and Tim McCabe, took a direct hit from the hurricane and was ultimately reduced to its concrete slab and the exterior signage that stood stubbornly in the wake of the wind and storm surge.
The building is oriented to see the oak trees that survived Katrina and the water views. We have the best view on
the Gulf Coast.
The reaction was immediate. In just under three months, with the help of Henry Schein and many other supply partners and Good Samaritans, the practice found another piece of property and secured a set of five mobile trailers, set up side-by-side, to reopen and once again offer dental services to the community.
The trailers were previously used at an army base in Georgia as a dental clinic, and they were transported to Mississippi on five semis, a monumental task in itself because many trucks were already being used for Katrina assistance. Working with Henry Schein Field Sales Consultant Scott Ottelin and Equipment Sales Specialist Bobby Manuel, the doctors went through the recovery and claims processes and traveled to the Henry Schein showroom to determine what equipment they wanted for the new trailer configuration. McCabe Dental Clinic was up and running once again in November 2005.
“I will never knock the trailers,” says Dr. Tim McCabe. “They turned out to be a very nice place to work.” The temporary practice became their home for six years!
Back to the Beach
Doctors Tim and Mike McCabe eventually purchased a six-acre plot in a high-traffic area of Gulfport with the intention of rebuilding their permanent office there, away from the water and the direct hit it brings. Yet, something held them back from construction. In 2010, after their father, Dr. Edson McCabe, passed away, they made a difficult decision – to go back to the original site along the Gulf and rebuild their practice there. It was where the brothers began their dentist practice, side-by-side with their dad. It just felt like home.
The doctors worked with the Henry Schein National Design Group to communicate their goals for the new practice. As Dr. Tim remembers, the office that stood on that location before had several problems they wanted to avoid in the new office: the reception area and the sterilization areas were too small and the flow wasn’t conducive to a multidoctor practice. They also wanted to be wired for computers and other digital technology in every part of the new practice.
Henry Schein Equipment Sales Specialist Bobby Manuel became involved with the project when the new concrete slab was poured, and he was part of the team that worked on the office design. He made sure every step of construction that involved dental equipment or technology was handled and installed correctly, from the plumbing to the wiring for computer connections. “I wanted to make sure there were no ‘uh ohs’ when the practice was complete. I didn’t want to discover later that we forgot to put something in,” recalled Manuel.
The dedication of the entire team paid off when the office reopened at its pre-Katrina site in October 2011.
Today, the new practice is completely different from its predecessor, both inside and out. Lush greenery and rose bushes surround the building, which is framed by a homey front porch and oak trees that have stood the test of time – and of weather.
“Our patients have a hard time visualizing that this is the same lot we were on before,” said Dr. Tim. “The building is oriented to see the oak trees that survived Katrina and the water views. We have the best view on the Gulf Coast.”
Inside McCabe Dental Clinic
Inside, the practice is just as stunning. The reception area is the picture of Southern hospitality, and resembles a warm and welcoming house more than an office building. It has high ceilings, large windows, and a Colonial style influence showcased by Old St. Louis Brick flooring, creamy taupe fabrics and wall colors, and rich dark woodwork. A relaxing feeling permeates every square foot of the waiting area.
Continuing on through the 5,000-square-foot office, there are two hygiene rooms and seven operatories. The operatories are fully equipped with Pelton & Crane chairs, side and rear cabinets, and Belmont ceiling lights, all delivering a more comfortable experience for the patient. Twenty-two inch screens are mounted in the 11 x 11-foot treatment rooms, but many patients opt to simply enjoy the uninterrupted views that go all the way to the beach.
“Henry Schein and the equipment manufacturers have dental offices down to a science,” says Dr. Tim. “It makes it easy and enjoyable. Anything I need is within arm’s reach.” The office implemented Dentrix practice-management software, and the staff is enjoying how it is streamlining such routine tasks as scheduling and billing.
Digital Imaging Benefits
The office purchased two DEXIS digital sensors when they began practicing in the trailers, and digital imaging has now been integrated with the Dentrix practice-management software. This serves several benefits: the images can be captured very quickly, which is more efficient and comfortable for the patient, and they can be displayed chairside so the patients can see exactly what the doctor is explaining and better understand treatment options and why they are necessary.
In addition, because of the integration with Dentrix, images can be attached to insurance submissions with relative ease, eliminating the waiting time associated with regular mail. Digital imaging has led to faster payments from payers!
A Big Focus on Sterilization
One of the most significant changes comes in the sterilization area. As Manuel explains, “This is probably the biggest sterilization area I’ve ever done.”
The U-shaped area is 16 x 14 x 16 feet and has improved the flow from dirty to clean, ensuring that staff have plenty of space to move around without bumping into one another or waiting to use the equipment, which includes a SciCan Hydrim and Midmark sterilizers that were moved from the previous location.
Drs. Mike and Tim agree that the return to 605 16th Street has been a wonderful homecoming for the McCabe dental family, which includes Dr. Tim McCabe’s daughter, Dr. Brandy McCabe Hyde. In addition, the McCabe family has expanded the practice to include Dr. Mike McCabe’s son, Dr. Matthew McCabe. The doctors are now seeing an average of 88 new patients each month.
“We are happy to be back here,” admits Dr. Tim. “It makes coming to work enjoyable.”