The Early Years
Don Levine founded Protective Business and Health Systems with his wife, Colette, in Pomona, New York in the late seventies. The original name of the company reflected their initial offerings for dental practices. Products included manual accounting systems, payroll services, routing slips, super bills, checks, take home statements, insurance claims, etc. Don easily sums up the first suite of products, “in other words – we focused on helping clients save time. We were selling efficiency, which we still do today. The nice part was that we developed sincere relationships with our clients. Inevitably, we developed a clientele.” The business grew quickly under Don’s direction and more literally – under his house. “At the time, our office was in the basement. In the forms business, people weren’t coming into your office so you didn’t need a storefront. It worked!” Early on, an oral surgery practice played an integral part in PBHS’s growth. “They introduced me to a practice management software company that was also starting at the time. It was called Micro-Designs Software.” (Micro-Designs Software is better known today under the name Carestream and still offers integration with the PBHS platform). “They liked the work that we did and we were able to develop a comprehensive marketing package to offer doctors along with their software.” According to Don, the first big product breakthrough for PBHS was a health history form designed to conform to the requirements of the practice software. It was a carbonless top sheet that even won an award from the Business Forms Association. “The idea was that it was a folder – and attached to the folder was this tear off registration sheet. So a patient would fill out that portion and return it to the front desk, so they could enter data while the patient filled out the rest of the health history. Again – increased time savings.” Eventually, by building relationships with many key industry leaders, PBHS continued to develop a larger customer base.
Don and Colette’s Son, Jay Levine, Joins The Team
As the business grew, so did Don’s vision. “Jay had graduated from college and got a very nice opportunity to work for General Electric. He completed their financial management post-graduate program. It was a highly respected, top-notch program. He was working there for a while, but the business was reaching a point where I felt it would be advantageous to expand. So I offered Jay the opportunity to join the business and in essence – anything he wanted to do, we would back.” Jay agreed to come on board. Don described Jay’s first order of business, “He said, ‘you’ve got to get out of the basement!’ Next, we embraced technology.” When Jay first came into the business, Don was still designing forms by hand. “I’d line it out and then I’d have a typesetter set the type. We didn’t even have a computer. It was such a pain in the neck!” “Jay was getting more and more interested in computerized applications. As a child, he had one of the first computers – a TRS-80 from Radio Shack. One thing Jay had told us early on was, ‘Dad, we’ve got to do more things electronically.’ This was 25 years ago! So we purchased a Macintosh and started designing our products on a computer.” Don reflects fondly on this turning point for PBHS. “My proudest moment as an owner was having Jay come into the business.”
Taking The Business To New Levels
A large part of the company’s growth was also attributed to their decision to start exhibiting at national dental tradeshows. “It was gradual. It wasn’t earth-shattering. But when Jay came in, we decided to start approaching things differently.” Simultaneously, Jay started experimenting with website design and saw how these new digital brochures could be beneficial for a dental practice. “He was fooling around and soon enough, he had made a website. Then he went to a show … and he sold it!” “One of the first shows we went to,” Don recalled, “was a big show in New Orleans.We had a 10 x 10 booth and a sign that said ‘Internet Café’ and we gave coffee out. That was us – very, very simple.” As the first company to specialize in dental website design, business grew rapidly. The company soon became synonymous with online innovation and is now recognized as the industry leader in dental website design and practice marketing. After a thorough evaluation and due diligence process, PBHS was recently endorsed by ADA Business Resources™
Present Day PBHS, Inc.
Many changes have taken place since PBHS’s inception. Jay Levine has taken over as president, allowing Don and Colette to enjoy retirement. To better serve clients throughout the country, PBHS also opened up an office in Santa Rosa, CA. PBHS now provides jobs for over 50 employees. The PBHS product line has expanded. But the core objectives – commitment to excellent customer service and adaptation of new technologies – have not. “The biggest challenge we faced when we started the business is an ongoing one – change. Initially it was the change migrating from manual systems to automated ones. Now it’s changes in online technology. My hope for PBHS in the future is that we will continue to stay ahead of the curve, as we always have. That’s really the key – having a team of people who are forward thinkers. If you don’t surround yourself with people who can think ahead, then you’re in trouble – because things pass too quickly. Change is too fast.” It’s clear that over the last three decades, PBHS has evolved to meet the needs of the dental industry and uphold their founder’s core values. At PBHS, commitment to customer service and innovation are more than just ideas – they are steadfast goals evidenced by every PBHS product, service and client interaction.