Preparing for Leaves of Absence from Your Dental Practice

What do you need to have lined up before you take a leave of absence from your dental practice? The most important person to line up is a dentist to cover for you. Many dentists have agreements with friends and colleagues to cover for each other in times of maternity or medical leave. You can also potentially find good candidates by making your dental supply rep aware of the upcoming leave—supply reps are well networked—as well as other colleagues who may know dentists who have availability. Check with retired dentists you may know through your dental society and study club. And, if needed, you can also put an ad out to find the right fit.shutterstock_264737525

Next, get your CPA involved to determine appropriate compensation for the associate dentist. You want the terms of compensation to be very clear from the start. It is also important to contact your attorney to have an associate agreement drafted, which will help protect your interests during the coverage period.

If you participate with PPO plans, have your dental team contact those insurance companies to see if the covering dentist needs credentialing for billing purposes. This credentialing process, if needed, can take 4 – 6 weeks to complete.

If you are concerned about overhead during your leave, see if you can work with your lenders to temporarily lower your loan payments. Work with your dental team to make sure you have proper staffing during your leave.shutterstock_200361152

Finally, designate a go-to person on your team who will keep you updated regarding any important matters during your absence. Make sure the rest of the team and the associate communicate with this go-to person as needed.

Leaves of absence are always stressful times. However, by taking the appropriate steps ahead of time, you can minimize unwanted surprises during your time away.

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