Worker’s Compensation Insurance
Dentists must address not only their patients’ oral health, but also their employees’ safety. Their employees may get hurt on the job. If this occurs, worker’s compensation insurance “provides employees with financial compensation for lost wages due to harm or injury resulting from performing their duties at your dental office” (Samaras 2008). Dentists need to get and research different worker’s compensation insurance policies, but they should still reduce the risks of injuries for their employees.
Dentists should learn important details and benefits of worker’s compensation insurance policies. By law, dentists not only need them, but inform their insurance company about any employee injury (Samaras 2008; Twigg and Crane 2013). Afterwards, they must “authorize appropriate medical treatment and make medical care available to injured employees” (“Dentists should report employee injuries immediately” 2015). According to the California Dental Association’s article, “Dentists should report employee injuries immediately,” regardless of whether “the employer thinks the injury was caused by employee behavior,” “[generally], workers’ compensation in all states provides coverage for medical bills and lost wages for workers who are injured on the job, regardless of fault. In exchange, workers are not able to sue an employer for a work-related injury” (2015). Insurance companies determine their policies’ premiums “on the basis of payroll paid by the employer for the services of individuals who could receive workers’ comp benefits for work-related injuries” (Quezada 2017). They also consider “the exposure to losses common” to a group of “employers with similar operations,” such as dentists in this case (Quezada 2017). Experience rating, “which recognizes the differences between individual insureds with regard to safety and loss prevention,” could also affect premiums (Quezada 2017). Depending on how the individual dentist’s experience with “safety and loss prevention” compares with the average dentist’s, insurance companies could give “an increase, decrease, or no change in premium” to the individual dentist (Quezada 2017). Policies could have other benefits, “such as loss control resources, a dedicated fraud investigation unit, return to work program support, and flexible payment plans” (Quezada 2017).
Alongside insurance, clinics should ensure their employees’ safety. Since worker’s compensation insurance can be expensive, clinics should “ensure a safe work environment and full compliance with OSHA [Occupational Safety and Health Administration] regulations,” in order “to minimize workers’ compensation claims” (Twigg and Boartfield 2014). David Quezada, “vice president of loss control for EMPLOYERS,” states that a “workers’ comp insurance agent can help design or refresh [the employer’s] safety plan so that it addresses risks [his or her] employees may be exposed to during the workday” (2017). In addition, employers should “[provide] regular safety training on proper use of equipment and how to identify and address potential hazards – post safety requirements” and “[promptly] investigate accidents and establish preventive measures” (Twigg and Boartfield 2014). According to OSHA, “a good safety and health program can save $4 to $6 for every $1 invested” (Quezada 2017).
While clinics need worker’s compensation insurance, dentists must make sure their employees are safe from injuries.