As practice owners, many dentists are wondering what impact the coronavirus on small business. Unlike larger corporations, small businesses, such as a dental office, may not have the revenue reserves to deal with the long term impact if the business faces a closure. Outside of the concern for patient safety, is the safety and ongoing employment of the dental team. Being prepared for closure and developing a plan should be top of mind for dental offices when dealing with unprecedented events.
Information in this post is current as of March 13th, 2020. Please consult the Centers for Disease Control for the most up to date information regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19).
Listen to the full podcast now: COVID-19 and Your Team with Paul Edwards of CEDR
When dealing with employment laws it is important to understand that each state sets regulations in regards to what is legal with employment. Different states may treat each situation differently with regard to the laws that apply. It is recommended that dentists seek out advice from the appropriate professionals to ensure the laws of each state are followed.
Check out your state’s Labor Laws.
Managing Employee’s Safety
The potential coronavirus impact on small businesses can be scary as a business owner, but it is just as concerning to the employees of a dental office. Many people may depend on the reliability of a paycheck, and without being able to work for potentially two weeks due to illness, and unpaid leave could have an impact on their financial situation. Keeping the dental team healthy can be achieved by a proactive approach. A proactive rather than reactive approach can reassure staff that the owner has the safety and financial well-being of the employees in mind. We recommend following the Guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), American Dental Association (ADA), and your local Department of Public Health.
What is the employment impact of the coronavirus on small businesses if we close?
Closing the dental office is not a decision to be taken lightly. It will likely have a huge financial impact on the practice, and the employees. The majority of office staff depend on a paycheck to pay rent, bills, and purchase food. Employers are not obligated to pay employees if they are not working. It is up to the employer to decide if they would like to continue to pay their staff a normal rate, or a reduced rate during the time the office is closed. Employees may also take paid time off if it is available. Alternatively, a per diem or stipend can be issued to employees during the closure to assist them financially. While employees are not able to work at the office’s physical location, one may want to consider remote work.
Remote Work for the Dental Office
While it is difficult to care for patients without being physically present at the dental office, there are many tasks staff can assist with if they are able to work from home. Staff may be able to take a work-authorized computer or phone home to allow them to assist in day to day activities. Some tasks include:
- Telephone Support
- Appointment Reminder Calls
- Insurance Verification
- Entering of Explanation of Benefits
- Recall Re-Activation (if office remains open)
- Treatment Plan Reminders (if office remains open)
- Inactivation of Patients
- Marketing Tasks
- Accounts Receivable
- Insurance Aging Report
- Creating Standard Work
- Development of Scripts and Patient Care Documents
- Evaluation of Vendor Pricing on Dental Supplies
- Online Continuing Education Courses (HIPPA, OSHA, Industry Trends)
Find a Human Resource Consultant for your Dental Office
Paul Edwards is CEO and Co-Founder of CEDR Solutions. He has over 25 years of HR experience advising dental and medical offices and works with offices to provide employee handbooks, human resource support, and employee management software specifically for the medical and dental industry. Check out these free, helpful resources provided by CEDR: