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The LaMaster Law Firm Blog

Monday, June 12, 2017

Why Your Dental Practice Needs an Employee Handbook

Starting a dental practice involves a number of considerations, not the least of which is attracting and retaining patients. More than this, though, a successful practice depends on having a capable staff of dental hygienists, assistants and administrators. Because employment issues are essential to how the practice will operate, it is important to establish a formal employee handbook.

In short, an employee handbook clarifies the responsibilities of a dental staff and what benefits they can expect from the owner. While the details of the handbook depend on the size of the practice, it should open with a description of the practice and a mission statement that clarifies the objectives of the practice: putting patient care first.

Read more . . .

Monday, May 29, 2017

How to Optimize the Value of Your Dental Practice

If you are considering retiring and selling your dental practice, it is important to make sure you receive top value for your life's work. Before putting your practice on the market, the following steps can help to optimize its value and secure your financial security.

Upgrade Your Office

While the bottom line is profitability, the appearance of your office and the technology in use are important factors in assessing the value of a dental practice.

Read more . . .

Sunday, April 16, 2017

The Evolving Landscape of Dental Technology

How can technology improve dental treatment?

Technological innovation has had a dramatic impact on the quality of dental care, particularly digital dentistry which allows traditional treatments to be administered more expediently and gently. The latter part of that equation is crucial since many patients do not go to the dentist out of fear. By some estimates, nearly one-third of American adults do not go to the dentist.

Today, digital dentistry encompasses an array of technologies or devices that are digitally or computer controlled.  In particular, dentists are using CAD/CAM components in computer-aided dental implants, shade matching of replacement crowns, and even the administration of nitrous oxide.

Read more . . .

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Why New Dentists Should Consider Becoming Associates

What is a dental associateship?

For recent graduates of dental school, it is crucial to get hands on experience, and earn a living, especially given the fact the student loans will need to be paid off. While some new dentists may have the business savvy and access to financing needed to launch their own practice, another option is to become a dental associate.

What is a dental associate?

As the name implies, dental associates are dentists who work in a dental practice but are not owners. Instead, they either work as an employee of an established practice or, in the alternative, as an independent contractor.

In an employee arrangement, it is common to enter into an employment contract that clarifies the dentist's relationship with the practice and the rights and responsibilities of both parties.

Read more . . .

Sunday, February 12, 2017

The Benefits of Owning a Dental Practice

Today, there are a number of challenges related to owning a dental practice not the least of which is lower reimbursements from managed care. In addition, dentists must also contend with significant regulation and fierce competition from the corporate dental industry. Nonetheless, there are still opportunities for independent dentists to operate successful businesses.

While it is critical to be a well educated and trained clinician, running a successful practice also requires having a fundamental understanding of business. Of course, most dental schools don't teach these skills, and dentists who are new to the profession are prone to making mistakes that could lead to profit losses.

Read more . . .

Monday, August 31, 2015

Do you have a Death or Disability Clause in your Office Lease?

This past week I negotiated a lease on behalf of an ophthalmologist and I wanted to share an essential but often overlooked lease provision, “Termination upon Death or Disability.”  If a closely-held company is entering into a lease, the company needs to consider whether it can continue to operate if a critical owner or employee dies or becomes disabled and cannot work.  Examples include physicians, dentists, veterinarians, attorneys, architects, chiropractors and other types of unique personal services where another person cannot easily step in and run the company.  The company must have the ability to terminate the lease if it loses its critical person.

Without protective language in the lease, the company will remain bound to the lease despite the absence of the critical person.
Read more . . .

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Beware of the "Bundled" Loan and Mortgage If You're Buying a Practice

Here's some information for those dentists who are looking to finance their practice acquisition. 


I was recently working with a dentist that was purchasing a practice and the accompanying real estate.  The practice was in a medical condominium complex with other dental and medical providers.  Originally, I was just asked to help the client clear up and obtain declination's of first rights of refusal that the other co-owners of the condominium association were given in the original condominium documents.  After that, my client asked me to review and help with the financing and closing of the real estate.
Read more . . .

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Working Interviews: To Pay or Not to Pay?

I’ve heard the term “working interview” used often with dental and veterinarian practices.  A “working interview” is when the practice/employer wants to observe the clinical or clerical skills of job applicants (dentists, dental hygienists, veterinarians, assistants) or their clerical staff (front office and billing staff) by actually seeing the applicant perform essential job duties before they hire the applicant as an employee. 

The question is often raised, “do I need to pay wages for working interviews?”

The answer….it depends.  I know, that’s the typical lawyer answer.
Read more . . .

Thursday, May 14, 2015

What Is HIPAA – A Brief History Lesson

Are you like a lot of other practices that are trying to figure out what HIPAA really is and how to be compliant? Or, are you just looking to avoid fines for non-compliance?

If you answered yes to one of those questions, you definitely want to continue reading.

What is HIPAA?

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) was enacted to address several major healthcare issues, including:

  • Health insurers denying new applicants because of pre-existing conditions and medical histories. This made it difficult for those people that wanted to change jobs and maintain health insurance.
  • Each insurance company used to maintain its own list of treatment billing codes, making it confusing for providers and resulting in denials and payment delays. Could you imagine if each insurance company all had different codes for the exact same procedure?
  • Providers and payers had control of medical records, and patients had no protection against the unauthorized release of their personal information.
    Read more . . .

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Importance of Dental Graduates’ Associate Agreement

Graduating dental school is a great accomplishment.  With graduation comes excitement, new beginnings, and potential for making money.  Yet, it also comes with some anxiety, large student loans, and often starting out working for someone else.  Those are things that new graduates tell me they’re thinking as graduation approaches. 

If one of the things on your mind is working for another doctor when you graduate, of great importance for you will be your Associate Agreement.
Read more . . .

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