Dental Consultant Advice: Staff CE & Pay
In general the answer is YES.
Based on US Department of Labor rules here are the basic guide lines.
1. You can pay your staff a lower rate for events, CE, meetings and such provided it is away from the office and worked out in writing in advance. With the possible exception of hygienists I do not recommend doing so as it has the potential to upset your staff which is counter productive and not the frame of mind you want your staff in while attending such activities. In other words don’t step over dollars to pick up pennies.
Note: In some states if the attendance is outside the employee’s regular hours and if the attendance is voluntary and if it is not directly related to the employee’s job and if the employee does not perform any productive work then you would not need to pay them. That’s a lot of “ifs” and a very unlikely scenario. If there’s any doubt whatsoever you’re much better off to pay the employee as far as I’m concerned.
2. Job related office meetings and any other such activities done in the office must be paid at the employee’s normal pay. And it doesn’t matter whether you are providing lunch or whatever.
3. When a hygienist or anyone else needs to attend some kind of CE or event for their license or credentials, and you are not in anyway in control of the scheduling, you do not need to pay them.
As in all HR matters it is important to check with a local HR pro as rules and regulations are always changing and they vary from state to state.
Kevin Tighe, Cambridge Dental Consultants, Senior Consultant, got bitten hard by the business and marketing bug during long summer days working at his dad's Madison Avenue ad agency. After joining Cambridge as a speaker in the mid-1990s, Kevin went on to become Cambridge’s senior consultant and eventually CEO. Cambridge Dental Consultants is a full-service dental practice management company offering customized dental office manuals. Frustrated? High overhead? Schedule a chat with Kevin at
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There is the good, the bad and the ugly of dental practice management, but many dentists will still tell you the probability is your dental consulting will work if you and your consultant are on the same page. It stands to reason that if a dental consultant had little value, worth or benefit that consultant could not stand up to harsh economic realities for long. A veteran dental consultant is also a "personal coach" who shold bring management wisdom based on "in the trenches" experience along with systems and protocols to that have been successfully implemented in other practices. Top dental consultants talk and network with each other. They pay attention to what systems work and don't across many dental practices.
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What gets monitored, gets managed. It is as simple as that. The only way to monitor what gets done is with daily stats especially for your weak areas. For example, one employee should be specifically responsible for calls to patients who are unscheduled, overdue for re-care or need reactivation. Other staff can and should help in coordination with the accountable employee.
What most practice owners are lack in knowledge is not how to book an appointment, but rather how to be an effective leader. The best systems in the world are useless if the staff do not comply. Good leaders know how to get staff to willingly follow through and comply.
Questions To Ask
Do you and/or your staff have to travel or does the consultant come to you?
Is the program mostly one on one consulting versus seminars or courses with multiple clients in attendance?There are advantages to both.
If the dental consulting is one on one who will actually deliver the consulting? I recommend knowing who your specific dental consultant will be prior to signing on the dotted line.
Is program based on a specific dental practice management system? You want to avoid cookie-cutter programs. Ensure the program will be tailor-made to fit your practice's specific needs.
The cost (including travel expenses and downtime) is certainly not the only factor, everything else being equal, it is still a major factor to consider. It's unwise to pay too much, but it's worse to pay too little.
Top Dental Practice Mangement Consultant
My name is Kevin Tighe. I am Cambridge's CEO and Senior Consultant. Before joining the Cambridge team I was in charge of setting up workshops for large nonprofits throughout the United States and Canada. During that time, I was fortunate to receive mentoring from several world-class business consultants, including a dental practice management guru, which led to a position at Cambridge as their seminar organizer. In time, I began crisscrossing the country delivering seminars myself for the better part of a decade. Subsequently, I moved up to senior consultant and eventually owner. Contributing writer to Dental Economics/DIQ, JADA, AGD Impact and Dental Town Magazine.
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