Ask most practice owners what they think the biggest legal threat facing their practice is, and they’ll probably site the massive changes associated with the Affordable Care Act or aggressive malpractice litigation. Most practice owners would be wrong.
While the Affordable Care Act is having a considerable impact on practices, and malpractice cases are always on the radar, the most significant legal challenge facing practices is one that’s been with them the whole time—their own employees.
There are studies out there that show how employment lawsuits have outpaced malpractice suits in the dental and orthodontic fields for five years running. The simple truth is that employee compliance is one of the single biggest challenges facing practices.
“What’s really a shame is that a practice owner doesn’t have to act maliciously to run afoul of the law,” stated Ali Oromchian, a medical lawyer who represents a number of dental practices in the United States.
“The owner of the practice can go out of their way to insure themselves against litigation from patients, only to have a current or former employee blindside them with legal action. What’s worse, the punitive value of the cases is often life-changing. Even when the practice owner wins the case, the time and cost of defending their practice can have a serious impact on the financial health of their business,” added Oromchian.
He should know. Not only does Oromchian own a firm that specializes in the legal considerations facing dental professionals, but his wife and sister are both pediatric dentists. It’s a familiarity that helps explain HR for Health, a cloud based program created to help practices meet the modern challenges of managing employees.
Founded in 2011 and beta tested for a year, Oromchian says that HR for Health is the direct result of seeing practices suffer from what he considered needless lawsuits. The company—HR for Health—is an all encompassing, human-resources solution for practices.
Unlike one-size-fits-all solutions or companies that just provide legal documents, HR for Health delivers Fortune 1000 technology to practices of all sizes by unifying an employment management system, time clock interface and communication tools in a paperless environment.
“With the guidance of HR for Health, practices can optimize interactions, managing collaborative employee relationships, increasing revenues and reducing costs. And, as an UOBG Preferred Partner we are able to offer members access to additional savings,” says Oromchian.
“I would be contacted by practices who were being sued by a former employee. When I would ask the practice owner for their employee handbook, I’d get a document that still said ‘Insert Employee Name Here’. I tell them this is like the difference between owning a toothbrush…and actually using it. HR for Health is cost effective, easy to use and secure.”
Oromchian founded HR for Health with the knowledge that there’s so much for the modern practice owner to remain up-to-date on long before you get into employee management.
Whether it is incidental overtime (which can be accrued for daily work over 8 hours or weekly over 40 hours…think about those days when lunch just isn’t an option), or not providing a final paycheck in a timely manner or the always challenging severance laws. What most practice owners are shocked to learn is that most states provide a look-back window of three to four years for these types of claims and more.
Not only did Oromchian use his own background to create the program, but he also went out and spoke to the lawyers who are filing suits against practices. Using HR for Health means one less thing for practice owners to worry about. It lets them focus on their core competency while allowing their employees to know that everything the practice owner is doing is not just legal, but on the record. If a problem ever does pop up, technical and legal support is never more than a phone call away.
For more information about protecting your practice visit HRforHealth.com.
Ali Oromchian will be speaking at the 2016 Orthodontic World Congress in January 2016, in his lecture “Avoiding Legal Minefields in Your Practice”. For more info click 2016 Orthodontic World Congress
This article was first published in OrthoWorld 2013