A dental mutual-aid agreement is like the ejection seat on a fighter plane. It had better work when you need it or you are toast. When a dentist is injured or ill, dental practice continuity is extremely critical. If you cannot work, even for a fews week; your practice has the potential to suffer severe economic and financial losses. Of course, will you really know how long you will be out of work? It is very likely that you will not know if you will be out of work for 6 weeks, 6 months, or even 6 years. Your preparation now for the possibility of missing work for a lengthy period of time is very important.
One of the key steps in preparation is the establishment of a mutual aid agreement. This document provides for the placement of a temporary dentist in your practice while you recover from your injury or illness. It may be an informal agreement among friends or a legal document draw up by an attorney. We recommend that it at least be in written form. This will eliminate confusion and help transition of a temporary dentist in an efficient manner.
The contents of a practice mutual aid agreement are flexible and the document itself should be reviewed annually by the members of the AID GROUP. The agreement itself can be informal and agreed upon by handshakes. The question you need to ask will be if you trust your dental friends and peers to carry out your wishes when you are incapacitated. If you have questions in this area, consider using an attorney. Begin with talking with you peers. Talk to your friends from dental school, study club participants, or dental society members. You all need this agreement, so get together and work up a plan.
When drawing up your plan look to ensure these key components are included. They are only a suggested template, but should get you started.
- Who are members of the AID Group?
- When should the AID Group start to staff your office?
- How many hours per week will they staff your office?
- How long will the AID Group provide staffing before a practice sale is considered?
- What procedures will you allow your replacement dentists to perform?
- Will you pay replacement dentists at some point and how is that to be accomplished?
- What staff decisions and financial decision will you allow them to make?
- What liability and malpractice coverage requirements will you require?
- Will the AID Group provide assistance if you only can work part-time ?
- Will you allow treatment of your patients at other offices?
A mutual aid agreement does not take the place of a practice continuity plan. It may be a component of that plan , but both are required. See our posting on practice continuity plans.Activate your Practice Continuity Plan. For more detailed information on mutual aid agreements review the information posted on the ADA website.
IF YOU ARE DISABLED NOW OR ARE AT RISK FOR DISABILITY, REVIEW OUR SUGGESTIONS ON THE TEN STEPS TO TAKE ONCE DISABILITY STRIKES.TEN STEPS TO SURVIVE DISABILITY.
WE ARE DENTISTS HELPING DENTISTS, WE CARE.