A recent study showed almost 75% of private dental practices did not give across the board pay raises to staff members in 2013, relying instead on bonuses to reward staff. Of those that did give raises, 72% limited increases to 2% to 3%.
There is a new 3.8% Medicare Payroll Tax on high income (above $200,000 if single; above $250,000 if married) earners’ unearned income; that is, dividends, interest, capital gains, and rental income. However, the IRS recently reversed its position on one form of rental income, stating that rent the practice pays to the dentist-owner of the office building is not subject to the 3.8% Medicare Payroll tax. Good news for dentists whose practice rents office space that is owned by that dentist.
As of April 8, 2014, Microsoft discontinued its technical support for Windows XP. Windows XP antivirus software, Microsoft Security Essentials, will be updated regularly until July 14, 2015. If you are a Windows XP user, it is time to consider transitioning to Windows 7, 8, or 8.1. The HIPAA Security Rule requires covered practices to be aware of privacy threats and to implement security measures. Older operating systems like Windows XP are more vulnerable to viruses, hackers, and data crashes, security risks that could expose users to liability in case of a data breach that compromises patient privacy or confidentiality. Suggestion: if your practice computer operates on Windows XP, contact your computer vendor as soon as possible for advice and help in updating to a newer Windows system.
The Supreme Court of the United States has agreed to hear a case in which the North Carolina Board of Dental Examiners “sought to, and did, exclude nondentist providers from the market for teeth whitening services.” The Federal Trade Commission’s claim against the NC Board for violation of antitrust laws was upheld by the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals. ADA general counsel, Craig Busey, stated, “This case is important because it threatens to impede the ability of all professional boards, including dental boards, to fulfill the purpose for which they were created….Boards’ actions should be protected from the federal antitrust laws under the well-recognized state action exemption.” The SCOTUS will hear the case in its Fall 2014 session.