Managing other Dentists
When a dentist makes the decision to hire additional practitioners for their office, he/she must have a plan as to how to manage the new employees – even if it is a fellow dentist. With a written plan that both the owner and the employee dentists agree upon a solid base of understanding of expectations is established.
Many different facets are involved when managing other dentists as employees. A few of the most important things the owner dentist must consider for any potential new dentist hire are skill sets and treatment planning trends, salary, patient assignments, and locations expected to work if the owner dentist has more than one office. Some practices also choose to have non-compete clauses as part of the contract, preventing the doctor from establishing their own clientele and then leaving the practice to open one next door.
When managing other dentists as employees, salary must be discussed and negotiated well in advance. The owner dentist must first decide what type of salary his practice can support and what he/she is willing to offer. If the practice can support a full time dentist, then other things to consider might be, will the dentist receive a base pay plus production or will they be paid only on collections?
Some owner dentists wish to offer a partnership and will or an associateship. Terms for these positions need to be stated clearly at time of hire.
Another full time option would be to hire the other dentists as contractors. In this case, the dentist would be an independent employee contracted with the practice.
At other times, the dental practice is only in need of part-time or temporary help in order to cover an overflow of patients or to cover while another dentist is out, for example on maternity leave.
When making patient assignments the lead dentist needs to be sure that all dentists that he/she is managing are treated fairly. Some of the important issues to discuss and come to an agreement on are:
- How will the new patients be assigned?
- When returning patients come will they only be scheduled with primary dentist or whatever dentist is available?
- Will there be collaboration on certain treatment plans?
- What treatments need to be referred out of office?
Other Things to Consider
When managing dentists at several office locations within the practice, the owner dentist needs to evaluate concerns like: How will scheduling work? Will each practitioner be required to rotate offices? Stay in one office? Train as back up in other offices?
It will be important to consider the differences in skill sets among practitioners. Dentists will come with variances in training and certifications. The owner can anticipate that there will be differences in opinions in regards to treatment plans. How will the owner dentist handle these differences? What kind of oversight or supervision will be provided? Giving careful consideration to key elements such as these not only encourages optimal growth of your business, but paves a way for your new dentist to create a successful career.