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Helping You Succeed as a Dentist

They gave me an employment contract — now what?

signing a documentThe ADA has a new publication — Dentist Employment Agreements: A Guide to Key Legal Provisions. It’s not a substitute for a lawyer, but can help you know what questions to ask and discussions to have with your legal advisor. Some of the topics covered include:

  • The differences between employees and independent contractors
  • Salary, commission, bonuses and benefits
  • What’s a non-compete clause? And how is it different from non-solicitation?
  • Using mediation and/or arbitration to resolve disputes
  • Points to consider when hiring a lawyer to review an employment agreement

Dentist Employment Agreements is available from the ADA Center for Professional Success, a member-only resource, exclusively for ADA members. And while you are there, check out the other resources including Be a Great Boss, Checklist for Terminating an Employee and Using Flexible Benefit Plans in your Practice

One simple trick to improve your experience at networking events

LeadershipWe are well underway with plans for the ADA 28th New Dentist Conference taking place in Kansas City, Missouri July 17-19, 2014 at Sheraton Kansas City Hotel at Crown Center (registration is open now!)

One of the great benefits of the conference is the ability to network with new dentists from across the country, as well as with key ADA leaders. But we know that not everyone is immediately comfortable in a networking environment.

We came across this great list at The Daily Muse of 21 Ways to Make Networking Less Scary and More Fun. Here’s one tip that stood out for us:

Approach Pairs, Not Singles

“If you see a pair of people talking, the chances are that they arrived together and know they should be mingling. Or else they’ve just met and are, in the back of their minds, worried that they’re going to end up talking to this one person all night. (You’ve just made it easier for one of them to exit.) Either way, they’re relieved to see you. And your chances of having a decent conversation are better, because now you’re talking to two people, not just one.”

What about you — do you have any strategies that work well in a networking event? Leave your answers in the comments.

Procrastinating online? Try this tip

Pocket watches in a bunchEver had the experience of avoiding something you know you should be doing in favor of refreshing your newsfeed or checking your email?

Emily Schwartz, author of The Time Diet: Digestible Time Management, feels your pain. And over at the Fast Company blog she offers a simple suggestion to triumph over those distractions:

Log out of the game/network/email/whatever before you start your important task.

“The extra step of having to enter in your password will buy you enough time to realize that you’re distracting yourself and shouldn’t,” she says. “Distracted work takes far longer than focused work.”

What about you—what’s your secret for keeping yourself focused when it counts? Leave your suggestions in the comments.

Minimize Canceled Appointments

The ADA Center for Professional SuccessCanceled appointments are part of operating a dental practice, but they can be managed to minimize their effect on your bottom line.

The ADA Center for Professional Success has an article about minimizing cancelled appointments that includes:

  • What to say (and avoid saying) when leaving a reminder on a patient’s voicemail
  • How to handle changes to dates or times
  • Providing a constructive response when a patient has changed his mind about treatment

The ADA Center for Professional Success is a member-only resource. While you are there, check out the other resources including Be a Great Boss, Checklist for Terminating an Employee and Using Flexible Benefit Plans in your Practice.

Registration is open for the New Dentist Conference!

Join us for the ADA 28th New Dentist Conference taking place in Kansas City, Missouri July 17-19, 2014 at Sheraton Kansas City Hotel at Crown Center. Registration is now open!

In addition to a full day of leadership development, the Conference includes:

  • Hands-on endodontic and implant CE courses at UMKC School of Dentistry
  • Friday night social event at PBR Big Sky in the city’s Power & Light District
  • Breakfast-and-learn sessions; all-inclusive lunches

…and more! CE courses are available on a first-come, first-served basis so register today to ensure you get the schedule you want. We’ll see you in Kansas City!

In a Time of Change Find out Why Things are Going So Well

Leading a group at a dry erase boardSometimes it seems we’re wired to correct the negative. So when it comes to making a change, we’ll wonder, “What is the problem and how shall I fix it?”

Author Dan Heath suggests that this approach probably works fine most of the time — if your kid has a single F on his report card, by all means focus on that problem. However in a post on the Fast Company blog, Heath suggests it isn’t always wise to focus on problems:

There’s one time in life when this problem-focus backfires on us, and that’s when we’re trying to change things. In times of change, our report card doesn’t look almost-perfect. It looks mixed. Parts of it look like a failure. And if, in those times, we slip into problem-solving mode, we’ll spin our wheels, because there are problems everywhere. That’s a recipe for inaction, for paralysis.

What’s the answer? Instead of focusing on the problems, identify the parts that are going right and try to reproduce those results. Heath calls this a bright spots focus.

Here’s an example — let’s say you set a New Year’s resolution to get more exercise, and that looking back you haven’t been as consistent as you hoped. You probably exercised on some days – what made those days different? If you do some detective work to identify those bright spots (“I woke up earlier on those days,” or “I had my gym bag ready-to-go by the front door,”) you can focus on increasing the number of good days, rather than scolding yourself for having bad days.

Have you found any bright spots? Leave your answers in the comments.

The Sunshine Act: FAQs for Dentists

open mouthA new law called the Sunshine Act requires certain companies that provide payments, gifts, food, education, and other “transfers” to dentists to submit an annual report to the federal government with information about each dentist and what was provided.

The Act is intended to make the financial relationships between industry and providers transparent on a national scale, and to give consumers information so they may ask questions and make more informed decisions about their healthcare providers.

The government will post the information on a searchable public website called “Open Payments.” The companies must also report ownership and investment interests held by dentists and their immediate family members.

If you have questions about the Sunshine Act, you are in luck—the ADA has answers. ADA members may access the Frequently Asked Questions online. This member-only resource addresses twenty questions about the Act, including:
What information will be included in a report?

  • How can a dentist find out that a report has been filed?
  • What can a dentist do if a report is inaccurate?

Find more at ADA.org.

What Happens if you Want out of the Contract?

breaking-a-contractLast week we blogged about the ADA contract analysis service that offers member-dentists assistance in developing a clear understanding of the obligations and expectations for all parties.

On occasion, you may wish to terminate a contract that you feel is not working for you. In many cases, it would be best to fulfill your obligations under the contract and then elect not to renew it at the end of the contract term. But in some cases, you may decide that you would like to get out of the contract before the end date.

The ADA Center for Professional Success has a feature Strategies for an Unwanted Contract in Your Dental Practice. And while the piece is not a substitute for legal advice (you should always discuss your legal options with your own attorney) you’ll find useful information to help you frame your decision.

The ADA Center for Professional Success is a member-only resource, exclusively for ADA members. And while you are there, check out the other resources including Be a Great Boss, Checklist for Terminating an Employee and Using Flexible Benefit Plans in your Practice.

ADA Contract Analysis Service

signing a documentBy the time you’ve navigated your way through the pages of a contract you might have given yourself a headache. It’s important you understand what you’re signing. But it’s also important to understand there is help available.

The ADA Contract Analysis Service provides members with information about a proposed contract to make it easier to analyze its terms. The service analyzes:

  • dental provider contracts with third party payers
  • dental management service organization contracts
  • contracts that offer dental school students scholarships or loans in exchange for a commitment for future employment

The analysis is not a substitute for legal advice.

Utilize this free ADA member benefit by submitting an unsigned copy of the contract and a request for analysis to your state dental society.

Working on the Weekend?

Pocket watches in a bunchWhen it comes to work/life balance, one common piece of advice is to avoid working on the weekends whenever possible. But productivity writer and blogger Laura Vanderkam, writing on the Fast Company blog, suggests that work on the weekends might just be the key to a successful work/life balance.

Working on weekends is the flipside of having flexibility during the week, notes Vanderkam. Taking the time during the week to have dinner with your family or attend a child’s event might create a deficit in your number of working hours, and it makes sense to fill that gap over the weekend.

Of course not everyone uses Saturday and Sunday as days off — we’ve chatted with numerous dentists who see patients on one or both of those days. What about you — do you ever take time on your days off to catch up on paperwork or address other work obligations? Leave your answers in the comments.