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11.30.07 Issue #299 Forward This Newsletter To A Colleague

Belle DuCharme CDPMA
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Take the “worry” out of employee management.

Craft fairs this time of year are fun and a way to obtain one of a kind item from local artists.  I could not resist and bought a small plaque with the quote “Worry is a useless emotion.”  It reminded me of the many times I have worried over important and silly things at the same time.  Without action or resolve, worry is a waste of time and can be costly in time, money and relationships.

Employee management is the biggest challenge most dentists will face in their careers yet this area is where most dentists are ill equipped.  Addressing the employment laws from state to state to put together a template for an acceptable employment policy is a huge undertaking and the cost too prohibitive to pursue.  As senior trainer for the Dentist Start-up Program and the Advanced Business Training I could give an outline and suggestions on the contents but not the legal side.  The ADA has a “fill in the blanks” employee policy manual advising legal counsel for some areas.  Many dentists still did not take the time to “fill in the blanks” because they needed more guidance as to what to write.  For those reasons and more McKenzie Management is pleased with the new Employee Policy Manual written by attorney, Michael Moore.  It is easy to understand and covers most areas of potential conflict and miscommunication encountered in dental practices.  With Mr. Moore’s professional expertise and “hands-on” help, this policy can be customized easily for each dentist’s unique practice.  With the “worry” taken out of whether you have fair and equitable policies for all employees, you can concentrate on building positive relationships that enhance the practice.

The following are issues taken from actual case files of McKenzie Management relating to the absence of an Employment Policy Manual.

Dear Belle,
I started my practice six years ago with one person and myself.  I did not see the need to create any kind of “policy” at the time.  I now have four employees and need to hire another hygienist.  I still don’t have an office policy.  The new hygienist I am thinking of hiring wants more benefits and I want to give them to her, however I am not offering this to my other hygienist.  I worry that my first hygienist will find out and leave or demand the same.  What should I do?  Dr. Dave in SF

Dear Dr. Dave in SF,
Now is the time to draw up that policy.  It is never too late.  Right now you have “crisis driven” policies.  This means that policies are created when an employee makes a demand.  I suspect that each of your employees has asked for benefits at hire and there is an absence of uniformity.  It is getting more complex and impossible to control spending. Your total employee costs (salaries and benefits) should not be more than 22 to 27% of collections. A dental hygienist salary and benefits should be no more that 33% of her/his production. This does not include doctor exam fees.

Dear Belle,
Our office has updated to new computers in every operatory and three at the front desk.  There is a mad dash at lunch hour to check e-mail and some employees are at the computer surfing the net all lunch hour.  I don’t want the staff to get mad at me but I am annoyed with this behavior and as harmless as it seems… is unprofessional.  I don’t have anything in writing to state how the Internet is to be used.  Should I?  Dr. Sharon B

Dear Dr. Sharon B,
It is time to update your Employee Policy Manual to include the use of the Internet.  Due to HIPAA regulations, access on a “need to know” basis of patient records needs to be protected.  Password protected entry to certain levels should be mandatory.  In the policy manual it needs to be stated that the Internet is intended for the dental practice business only.  The office computers should be off limits to all staff for surfing the net or checking e-mail.  Lunchtime is their time but the computers and other business machines belong to the practice. 

Want to take the “worry” out of your practice, call McKenzie Management today for information about The Advanced Business Course, Dentist Start-up Program and our practice enhancement products.

For more information about the Advanced Business Training and Dentist Start-up Programs for your educational benefit,  email, call 1-877-777-6151 or visit our web-site at

Interested in having Belle speak to your dental society or study club? Click Here

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