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  04.21.05 Issue #163

Sally's Mail Bag

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Dear Sally

I have been frustrated for years trying to define a good functional vacation policy that is acceptable to the staff. We have two dentists and four hygienists. If one of us is on vacation the other cannot check all four hygienist's patients. We currently allow two weeks vacation time. One must be taken at the same time as one of the dentists, the other anytime. We have four assistants also. We lose production if we don't have enough help when we are working and it is wasteful if there are four assistants working with only one dentist. Any suggestions?

Dr. Frustrated in Fresno

Dear Dr.

Here are some options for you:

1. Locate a retired dentist in the area that can work on a temporary basis doing hygiene exams during Dr. vacation time.

2. When one dentist is out with his two assistants still working, options are:
a. The assistants are responsible for securing temporary assisting assignments with a dental temp agency.
b. The assistants have the option of taking the time off without pay.
c. The assistants are assigned yearly or bi-yearly tasks such as purging patient charts, cleaning projects.
d. The assistants are assigned to colleague's offices for further education.

3. When you have one doctor and 4 hygienists, options are:
a. only do one exam in that year (verify with state law).
b. Reappoint the patient
c. When you have a natural occurring break in one of your procedures, check all 4 hygienists at one time.
d.Schedule longer appointments during that week.

Hope these ideas help.


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