The guys at Bull Moose Financial give their professional insights into how the dental and financial industries intertwine. Each episode you'll learn something new about how they best advise their clients to control the financial side of their business, leaving the dentistry up to you.
Dental Practices and Banks - Loans, PPP and Financing with Brian McManus
It’s time to talk about your bank. Rob Joyce and Megan Rutkowski are joined by Brian McManus, Senior Vice President of Lending at First Federal Bank of Wisconsin. In today’s episode, you’ll hear how Brian works with dentists regularly. Listen to hear all the questions he gets from clients, along with answers to those questions.
If there is another closure, which we’ve seen people worried about, could you see another round of financing or some way the government opens up financing?
As far as opening up financing, there's always talk about if there is going be another round of PPP or some sort of stimulus. If this happens, we're still trying to close the loop on the first round, so to speak. However, the terms on this EIDL loan are extremely favorable. I think that's helpful if you do qualify, and you can make good sense of it, that that's an attractive product. But understanding what the impact may be in the next round is hard to see. The PPP in general is a moving target, and we are now looking at a case where maybe they do offer up another round, which may be more favorable than EIDL, but you don't qualify before you took this. And you just can't, it's hard to answer because it seems like something that changes every week, and it's hard to look down the road, but it wouldn't surprise me at some point that they're not going to let people take the first round of PPP, EIDL, the second round of PPP and whatever else comes. So if you don't need it, I guess I would be somewhat leery of having to take it.
Have you guys processed any of the forgiveness applications at First Federal Bank of Wisconsin?
Yes, we’ve [probably processed about 10. A lot of those smaller ones that are under the $150,000 threshold, we’ve been having discussions with our borrowers trying to wait on a definitive answer from Congress because it’s a lot easier to submit then. The forgiveness portals opened August 10, we submitted some of our first ones August 11 and still have not received any acknowledgment back from the SBA. They've shot clarifications as to how to properly enter versus correct errors that may be out in some of the stuff and we've checked them. Everything out there says pending validation and we're now 30 some days in. Keep in mind the SBA does have 90 days to decide on these and once you've applied it stalls any repayments you’re having to make on your principal or interest. So just by submitting, it at least stalls that process.
Do you have a recommendation for what you like to see in your customers’ checking accounts on a day-to-day basis? It probably varies from person-to-person, but is there a good rule of thumb?
A long-standing rule we've used is enough to cover at least two cycles of payroll. That's because I think if you’ve at least covered that, you can weather most storms and it gives you time to plan. I want to be very clear on this point - it's two payrolls plus payroll taxes. I find a lot of times when people struggle, that's the first thing. They want to make sure they pay their people, and they say they’ll catch up on the taxes later. I would suggest never making that part of your strategy. With those being essentially trust funds that are forwarded on, really what you want to do is make sure that you can get through about two payroll cycles. Some people like to cover two months of all expenses. That's not always realistic for most clients, but enough to make sure that you can get through one to two payroll cycles at least buys you the comfort of time to whether you need to go out and try to secure an additional loan, whether you need to secure some private money to weather whatever storm you're facing. If you can get through to payroll periods you’re normally in a pretty solid situation.
Your line of credit can kind of shift that a little bit. If you have one full month, or two cycles, of payrol
Employee's Rights and Legal Advice for Your Dental Practice with Robert Driscoll
Mike Bark and Megan Rutkowski talk with Robert Driscoll, Labor and Employment Attorney at Reinhart Law, about how dental practices can open during COVID-19 and implement procedures for employee rights including the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Visit http://www.bullmoosefinancial.com/ for more information.
Do employees have to have documentation for claiming they can’t wear a mask or is it simply their word?
To make the request for the accommodation itself they don't have to use any magic words. They don't have to say, “I need an accommodation because of a disability.” And they don't necessarily have to ask anyone specifically. For example, if they see a frontline supervisor, and say, “I really can't wear this mask, it's really inflaming my skin condition.” That supervisor has to know and is trained to understand that is an accommodation request. Once an employee has done that, the employer is able to go to that employee and ask for information that shows the condition is a disability and that there is a disability-related need for the accommodation that they are requesting and maybe other information about other potential accommodations. The difficulty is usually you're going to get something back on this particular question fairly opaque and maybe not very detailed. It may be an honest dispute over whether the condition is a disability or not. But in most cases, to avoid any sort of dispute or litigation, you're going to assume that it is a disability once you get that information, and then try to accommodate the employee as best you can. I'm not saying in every case, you don't have to wear a mask at all, but there may be some other steps that you might be able to take to accommodate that request.
Does that cover employees in a medical setting?
Assuming that the company is at least 15 employees, then yes. And then the Wisconsin act is actually just about every employer in Wisconsin - so it’s very similar principles. I think where the difference is going to come in, is what a reasonable accommodation is in that setting. You could imagine for a dentist's office, where someone is working very closely in the face of someone else that it's not a reasonable accommodation to allow someone not to wear a mask or only a face shield or something like that. But there may be other accommodations available that are just as effective as the mask policy that you would have to consider. If not, the position you take is, “Because of the nature of our work, we can't make an exception to this policy. We've worked with you and unfortunately, we can provide you leave if you're unable to work because of this policy, as long as this policy stays in effect.”
Would that then be covered by the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) or just the employer being generous with an employee and saying they don’t have to work and they’ll hold their job?
It's actually going to be required by the ADA. The ADA does require some extent of leave - how much you'd have to talk with your employment lawyer. Employment councils have figured out that it's not a bright-line rule. It potentially could be covered by the FMLA as well, if the condition is a serious health condition, and you'd have to go through that analysis, assuming you're a big enough employer to be covered by the FMLA, and the employee is at work location 50 employees or more and has been, employed for 1250 hours. If they meet those requirements, then it could potentially be covered, in addition to the ADA, by the FMLA. The ADA and the FMLA kind of run side-by-side with one another. I think everyone is kind of familiar with all the CDC guidelines. I'm sure most people are probably sick about hearing of them, I just note that some of them change from time to time. There's still good guidance for how to run your workplace and how you develop your policies related to COVID
Running Your Dental Practice During a Pandemic with Corinne Jameson-Kuehl and Jill Shue
Hosts Rob Joyce and Mike Bark interview Corinne Jameson-Kuehl and Jill Shue from Custom Dental Solutions
“We serve private practice owners, and we provide them HR solutions to administrative training to culture solutions. And so we have been on the front lines of reopening practices for probably about the last three months. We have been focusing on what the CDC guidelines state and then also what makes sense for each individual practice to open safely.”
I think the biggest question is what do I do if one of my employees just tested positive for COVID. You don't have to get an illegal sense, but what're best practices right then?
This is the question we’ve been encountering so many times - just this week we’ve had this brought to our attention three times, and it’s only Tuesday. What we're advising practices to do is to contact their health department right away and let them know they do have a positive case within the practice. Every health department, every county, every state has different requirements of what to do in the case of a positive test. So they're going to do a little bit more of a more detailed investigation as to what that means - whether that means that the team goes home and quarantines or the practice is shut down or the practice isn't to shut down at all. So the health department will do a little bit more of a bigger investigation when it comes to that, but number one they need to call their health department and get that guideline taken care of first.
How are you suggesting practices handle employees who may have been indirectly exposed to COVID? There’s a lot of factors like sick pay. So for example, a spouse comes in contact with someone who tests positive.
We did have a practice where there was a spouse that was exposed to a COVID positive person in his workplace - and his wife was the dental assistant. So her husband had to quarantine and now he's exposed his wife, a dental assistant, who doesn't want to stop working. What we did was call the health department and they said he's not technically exposed. His company is going to do what they want with him to send him home and he's going to quarantine, but the employee has the right to work. So I think that's something that people are neglecting to understand at this time because you may have been exposed to someone or you know of somebody and you happened to have been at a party with them three weeks ago, you don't just stay home, you do have a right to work. As people were coming back to work, we actually sat down with the team and said, hey, look, this is what's going on. This dental assistant wants to come back into work. Her husband may have been exposed, he's home quarantined. How does the team feel? So we just directly communicated what made sense, the whole team agreed that they were comfortable with her working. And it was business as usual. Here we are two months later, and no one had any positive exposures and nobody had any symptoms or signs or anything like that. So I guess the bottom line for this is that it's really case-by-case.
How are you recommending the communication from dentists to patients? Are you having practices call and talk through the COVID policy or is it more of an email blast?
We are seeing a lot of variety when it comes to how we're communicating with our patients. The website is number one, you've got to have a COVID-19 protocol on your website, patients have to be able to see that. It's not required, but it's wonderful when you as a patient can log on and see, this is what my provider is doing. Again, it's a case by case situation. However, our third-party communication software should be texting our patients, emailing our patients and we should be keeping our patients in the loop of everything that's going on. We just had an office where when the mass mandate passed in Wisconsin, they had not communic