Monday, May 22, 2017

OVERTIME PAY—WHEN AND TO WHOM?
Any staff member who works more than 40 hours in a seven-day week must be paid overtime, the hourly pay rate plus one-half that amount, for all hours worked over 40. Before you stop reading, thinking that this cannot apply to any person on your team because your office is open only 32 (or whatever) hours weekly, please read on. Does any team member work at home during non-office hours, perhaps making confirmation calls or calls to schedule overdue recare appointments, paying office bills, or completing monthly management reports? If so, that at-home work counts toward the 40 hour total. Does any staff member stay after office hours to clean, restock, or do lab work? Those hours count also. Does anyone answer emergency calls in the evening or over a weekend? If so, those hours must be counted toward the 40 hour limit.
Since 2004, the U.S. Department of Labor has allowed two exemptions to the overtime rule:
1.    Salaried employees in a “bona fide executive, administrative, or professional capacity,” and
2.    Employees earning less than $23,600 annually.
You are probably aware that the Labor Department issued a new regulation in 2016 that was to become effective December 1, 2016 raising the annual earnings level to $47,476. This meant that any salaried staff member earning less than $47,476 annually would have to be paid overtime for all time worked over 40 hours weekly.
On November 22, 2016, a U.S. District Court judge issued a preliminary injunction blocking the new salary-level rule from taking effect in all 50 states. Numerous lawsuits have been filed against the Labor Department to halt the new regulation but no final ruling has been issued yet by the Trump administration. As of this writing, the November injunction is still in effect.

The best advice for your practice: pay all staff members an hourly rate rather than a salary, since the law is written to affect salaried personnel. In addition, you should pay overtime to any staff member working for your practice more than 40 hours per week in any capacity at any location. And remain aware of pending changes in the proposed new annual salary rate of $47,476 as the Labor Department and the litigants slug it out in the courts.

Monday, May 15, 2017

SHOCKING STATISTICS ABOUT DENTAL DISEASE

·      More than 64 million Americans have moderate to severe periodontal disease, not counting occasional bouts of mild gingivitis.
·      Dental disease is the most common chronic disease in children, five times more prevalent than asthma.
·      About 1 in 5 children in the U.S. go without dental care each year. This pool of untreated kids is estimated to contain about 17 million children from low-income families.
·      Every year children in the U.S. miss approximately 51 million school hours due to dental problems and treatment appointments.
·      Adults lose almost 164 million work hours for the same reasons.
·      More than one quarter of Americans age 60 or older are edentulous.
·      More than 25% of American adults have untreated tooth decay. The rate among low-income adults is twice that of adults with more income.
·      Between 2000 and 2010, the number of dental-related emergency room visits doubled from just over 1 million per year to more than 2.1 million per year. ER dental-related visits cost the U.S. health care system up to $2 billion annually according to the ADA Health Policy Resource Center.
·      Dental disease is almost 100% preventable.   



In a recent copy of Dental Product Shopper, I came across an eye-catching infographic from DentaQuest, a company dedicated to the prevention of dental disease by educating the public about the oral health crisis in America. Many of the facts stated above are printed on their infographic, an attractive piece to be used for social media postings and handouts in your office. Go to Oral Health Matters: Check Out Our New Infographic to find the graphic and other information. Also, peruse the ADA website for facts that can be added to the educational section of your practice website. Statistics such as these, presented in a colorful, brief format, can be used effectively to alert the American public to chronic oral health problems. Post such facts on your practice social media sites and discuss them with patients. After all, education is the key to prevention and treatment acceptance.

Monday, May 8, 2017

CONVINCE YOUR TEAM THAT ALL MEMBERS ARE VITALLY IMPORTANT
Several years ago, as I sat on an airplane awaiting takeoff, I overheard the initial conversation between a pair of strangers seated behind me. After introductions and the exchange of pleasantries, one seatmate asked the other, “What do you do?” Her response came in a resigned, timid tone of voice: “I’m only a dental assistant.” I immediately began listening intently instead of being vaguely aware of the exchange. The young assistant went on to belittle her career in an almost apologetic manner as her seatmate asked about details of her job.
Her answer, emphasizing the word only, and her disparaging remarks that followed rattled around in my mind during the entire flight. Obviously. this young woman had not been made to feel the importance of her role and responsibilities in the overall functioning of the practice. At the time, I was years into my practice management teaching and consulting career, and I knew beyond any doubt the mega-importance of a skilled, dedicated dental assistant in any practice.
As we deplaned, I waited for the assistant in order to share with her my conviction that hers was a key role in her practice. After I introduced myself, with her agreement, we paused just inside the terminal to talk a few minutes. I told her I had watched hundreds of dental assistants at work and that theirs was a key role in both patient care and patients’ opinions of and feelings about the office. In fact, if an assistant performed her duties well, she could positively affect how efficiently and effectively her dentist delivered dental treatment and overall care to patients. I emphasized the importance of each assistant, as well as the importance of other team members, to the growth and viability of the practice.


We parted friends; she, with a smile on her face and an apparent new enthusiasm for her career, and I, with a renewed determination to inspire all team members with whom I subsequently worked to feel pride and joy in their contributions to patient care and the functioning of their office. My thoughts on this topic were consolidated into the following handout we used in seminars and consultation work. Please feel free to share this piece with your dental team:

LOOKING FOR THE POSITIVES IN DENTISTRY
WE HAVE A CAREER THAT MAKES A DIFFERENCE.

In their book Creating the High-Performance Team, authors Steve Bucholz and Phillip Roth told of a study conducted across several industries a number of years ago in which people were asked, “If you had plenty of money, would you still work?” Ninety percent of respondents answered, “Yes, I would.” In answer to a second question, “Would you stay in your current job?” just as many said they would not. When asked what kind of work they wanted to do, most said they wanted to work with people, to make a contribution, and to do something meaningful for others.

THE DENTAL PROFESSION SATISFIES ALL SUCH NEEDS.

WE TREAT AN AREA OF THE BODY THAT IS THE SOURCE OF COMMUNICATION, FEELINGS, AND NOURISHMENT.

An often-quoted host of a popular children’s television program once said: “When it comes to our development as human beings, our mouths are one of our most important body parts. Just think: when we’re babies, our mouths bring us nourishment, comfort, information, and the ability to communicate and express affection. Our mouths also bring us one of our first experiences of persistent pain—the pain of teething—and one of our earliest times of lasting anxiety as we try to learn to control the urge to bite. We grow to have strong feelings about our mouths when we’re little, and those feelings stay with us throughout our lives.”

WE DENTAL PROFESSIONALS CAN TEACH PEOPLE TO VALUE GOOD ORAL HEALTH FROM INFANCY THROUGH ADULTHOOD.

DENTISTRY HAS A PROFOUND EFFECT ON TOTAL BODY HEALTH.

For years Dr. Charles Mayo, founder of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota has been quoted: “Preventive dentistry can extend human life 10 years.”

DENTISTRY IS IMPORTANT WORK WITH EXISTENTIAL CONSEQUENCES.

Please scroll back to the beginning of this article to read the title again: CONVINCE YOUR TEAM THAT ALL MEMBERS ARE VITALLY IMPORTANT. The most successful dentists with whom I have worked convince each team member that he or she is key to the viability of their practice. Furthermore, the doctor insists that team members work with rather than for him or her. Suggestion: consider how you can implement such concepts into your practice.