Rehiring Your Employees During the Pandemic

Rehiring Your Employees During the Pandemic

By Jeanine Lehman, Attorney at Law

During the pandemic, dentists face daunting tasks for reopening their practices and continuing operations, including obtaining adequate personal protective equipment, putting safety protocols in place, addressing COVID-19 in the workplace, and navigating the ins and outs of financial options, including the Paycheck Protection Program. One of the most difficult tasks for some practices is rehiring employees, who may receive more money on unemployment than for working.

CARES Act Federal Payment. Under the CARES Act, for pandemic unemployment, the federal government provides an extra $600 of weekly benefits. This is in addition to State of Texas unemployment benefits. This extra amount is last payable the week of July 25, 2020, unless extended. With the extra $600, many unemployed individuals receive more on unemployment than working. For example, a person, who had been working 40 hours a week at $16/hour, receives $933/week on unemployment vs. $640/week from working. 

Rehire Offer. The offer to rehire an employee should be in at least two written formats. For example, by letter, email, and text, as well in person or by phone. The offer should include all the terms, including rate of pay, location, job duties, and schedule. A written notice of how the practice is providing a safe working environment should also be provided. Records should be kept of the two written forms of the offer and the safe working environment notice.

Voluntary Incentives. A dental practice may voluntarily offer incentives to encourage employees to come back to work – for example, raises, re-employment bonuses, training, scheduling changes, or other benefits.

Refusal of Rehire. The Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) on its website states that “If you offered any of your employees a chance to return to work and they refused, TWC needs to know. Please report each individual who refused to return to work on our online Employee Work Refusal documentation.” Here is the link:  A copy of the completed online Employee Work Refusal form should be saved via printing or screenshot. If a rehire offer for a suitable position is refused and there is not an exception to rehire, the employee will most probably become ineligible for unemployment benefits. 

Exceptions to Rehiring. On June 16, 2020, the TWC provided guidance to unemployment claimants concerning continued eligibility for unemployment benefits if they refuse rehire. While each case is evaluated by the TWC on an individual basis, because of the COVID-19 emergency, the following are reasons benefits would be granted if the individual refused suitable work:

  • People 65 years or older, and/or people with medical issues, like heart disease, diabetes, cancer, or a weakened immune system, or who are at a higher risk for getting very sick from COVID-19. (Source: DSHS website)
  • Household member at high risk – People 65 years or older or who are at a higher risk of getting very sick from COVID-19 (source DSHS website).
  • Diagnosed with COVID – the individual has tested positive for COVID-19 by a source authorized by the State of Texas and is not recovered.
  • Family member with COVID – anybody in the household has tested positive for COVID-19 by a source authorized by the State of Texas and has not recovered, and 14 days have not yet passed.
  • Quarantined – individual is currently in 14-day quarantine due to close contact exposure to COVID-19.
  • Child care – Child’s school or daycare is closed, and no reasonable alternatives are available.

Work Search Requirement Reinstatement. Early in the pandemic, the TWC waived the work search requirement for unemployment benefits. On June 16, 2020, the TWC announced that starting July 6, 2020, the work search requirement will be reinstated. This means that unemployment claimants will need to engage in specified amounts of work searches and document the same. The goal is to find suitable employment and to return to work. With late June’s surge in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, the reinstatement of the work search requirement may be reconsidered by the TWC.

Changing Requirements. During the pandemic and its aftermath, considerations for employment and operating a dental practice will be subject to changing laws, orders, rules, and opinions. Therefore, ongoing vigilance and consultation with a knowledgeable attorney concerning changes will be critical.

Jeanine Lehman is an Austin, Texas dental, health and business law attorney with a statewide practice – She can be reached at (512) 918-3435 or © Jeanine Lehman 2020. This article is not legal advice.


November 2019 General Meeting

Successful Management of Acute Dental Pain

Speaker:  Ken M. Hargreaves, DDS, PhD 

Date:  November 19, 2019   

Time:  FREE Happy Hour: 5:30pm – 6:30pm * Meeting starts at 6:30pm  

Austin Country Club – 4408 Long Champ Dr, Austin 78746

           Lecture Course * 2 Hours CE Credit 

Cost: $40 member dentist/$50 members with late registration (if available)

$50 guest of member dentist; $70 nonmember dentist 


To RSVP & PAY with Credit Card, go to

To RSVP & PAY with Check or Cash, call 512.335.1405

If you need a vegetarian, vegan or gluten free meal, tell Nancy 

when making your reservation.  Reservations are released at 6:30pm

Reservations not cancelled by 10:00am Friday, Nov 15 will be billed

This evidence-based course is designed to provide effective and practical strategies for managing acute dental pain emergencies.  The latest information on NSAIDS, acetaminophen-containing analgesics and local anesthetics will be provided with the objective of having immediate application to your next patient emergency.  Want to know how to anesthetize that hot tooth? How to predictably manage severe acute pain after surgical or endodontic treatments? How to combine common medications to improve analgesia? This course will answer these practical tips and more using a lecture style that emphasizes interactions with the audience in answering common pain problems with useful solutions.  

Course Objectives:  At the completion of this course, the practitioner should be able to:

  1. Describe a fast and efficient routine for managing dental pain emergency patients
  2. Select the best combination of analgesics to manage dental pain that avoid or minimize the need for opioids
  3. Provide effective local anesthesia to the classic “hot” molar case

Ken M. Hargreaves, DDS, PhD

Ken Hargreaves received his DDS from Georgetown University, his PhD in physiology from the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, MD, and his certificate in Endodontics from the University of Minnesota.  Ken spent 5 years at the Pain Clinic of the NIDCR and 7 years as an associate professor of Endodontics and Pharmacology at the University of Minnesota. He joined the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio in 1997, as professor and Chair of the Department of Endodontics and is cross-appointed as professor in the Departments of Pharmacology, Physiology and Surgery in the Medical School.  He maintains a private practice limited to endodontics and is a Diplomate of the American Board of Endodontists. Ken has received an NIH MERIT Award for research, two IADR Distinguished Scientist Awards and the Louis I. Grossman Award from the AAE. He has published more than 160 articles and, with Harold Goodis and Frank Tay, co-edited the 2nd edition Seltzer and Bender’s Dental Pulp, and, with Lou Berman, co-edited the 11th edition of Cohen’s Pathways of the Pulp. Ken also serves as editor of the Journal of Endodontics.  


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CADF Golf Classic

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Janitorial Fraud Ring Targets Austin Medical Facilities: Who’s in Your Office?

By Jeanine Lehman, Attorney at Law

Dental offices are targets of thieves.  Thieves have many faces including the front desk person stealing cash, the addict taking controlled substances, and the office manager embezzling funds.  Thieves may also have the faces of your janitors and their confederates. The jackpot is the information comprising the identities of the dental practice’s patients, staff and dentists.  Recently, an Austin-based janitorial fraud ring targeted medical facilities to steal patient identities.

In the multi-million dollar Austin-based “stolen identity refund fraud” scheme, the defendants engaged in a fraudulent scheme to steal the identity of hundreds of US citizens and exploit those identities for financial gain by filing fraudulent income tax returns and by opening credit cards in the names of the victims.  Money laundering was also involved. The intended loss of the fraud conspiracy was approximately $3.9 million. Among the ways that the conspiracy illegally acquired Personal Identification Information (PII) of US victims was through operating cleaning services in the Austin area, cleaning offices, and then looting those offices of PII.  Among the locations the conspiracy victimized were medical facilities, where patient files were stolen. The indictment indicated that one of the defendants and one of the at-large suspects owned cleaning franchises.

On April 27, 2018, U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel sentenced the two apprehended foreign nationals to 8 years and 7 years in federal prison and ordered payment of restitution in the amount of $1,358,489 for these identity theft crimes.  Two additional suspects were still at large at the time of the sentencing. For more information on this identity theft fraud scheme, see the U.S. Attorney’s Office press release at:  While the federal indictment did not list the names of dental practices as victims, dental practices can fall prey to the same identity theft crimes.

Jeanine Lehman is an Austin, Texas dental, health and business law attorney with a statewide practice – She can be reached at (512) 918-3435 or © Jeanine Lehman 2018. This article is not legal advice.

CADF 2016-2017 Annual Report

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Editor’s Report October 2016


Sunset Review – Part III

The latest info to come out of the Sunset Advisory Commission regarding our state Dental Board is the “Sunset Staff Report with Commission Decisions.”  This report contains the final decisions of the Commission which will form the basis of the agency’s Sunset Bill during Legislative Session, which begins January 10, 2017.

Issue 1 – The Unusually Large Dental Board Inappropriately Focuses on Issues Unrelated to Its Public Safety Mission.

The original recommendations were for a reduction in the total size of the board from 15 to nine, with a reduction in the number of dentist board members from eight to four.  The final recommendation was somewhat of a compromise, recommending a reduction to a total size of 11 members, including six dentists, three hygienists, and two public members.

The Board will also be directed to create a more detailed system for stakeholder input as well as informal settlement hearings, both of which aim at increasing the Boards concentration on public safety

Issue 2 – State Regulation of Dental Assistants Is Unnecessary to Ensure Public Protection and Is an Inefficient Use of Resources.

Again a compromise between current regulation and the original recommendation.  The final decision, in lieu of the original recommendation to discontinue the licensure of dental assistants, is to combine the board’s four dental assistant certificate programs into one registration for dental assistants.  This one registration will cover radiology, nitrous monitoring, sealants, and coronal polishing.  Whether or not current dental assisting licensees with be grandfathered in or will be required to show proof of CE or take a new examination remains unclear.  Dental assistant registrations will be renewed biennially.

Issue 3 – The Board Lacks Key Enforcement Tools to Ensure Dentists Are Prepared to Respond to Increasing Anesthesia Concerns.

The Board will be authorized to conduct inspections of dentists administering parenteral sedation in office settings.  The Board will also establish four levels of sedation permits, with appropriate education and standards for each, with an additional limitation to be placed on pediatric and high-risk patients.

Dentists with one or more anesthesia permits will also be required to maintain adequate written emergency plans, and will have requirements for necessary equipment and drugs prior to administering sedation/anesthesia.

A nine-member board-appointed standing Advisory Committee on Dental Anesthesia will be created to advise the Board on the development and revision of rules related to dental sedation and anesthesia.  The board will track and report anesthesia-related data and to make publicly available on its website aggregate enforcement data by fiscal year and type of license.

The Board is directed to define portability, methods to obtain a portability permit, and establish advanced didactic and clinical training requirements for the permit.

Issue 4 – Key Elements of the State Board of Dental Examiners’ Licensing and Regulatory Functions Do Not Conform to Common Licensing Standards.

The Board will be required to monitor licensees for adverse licensure actions, and be allowed (i.e. encouraged) to deny applications to renew a license if an applicant is not compliant with a board order, be allowed to require evaluations of licensees suspected of being impaired, and be allowed to remove unnecessary qualifications required of applicants for licensure or registration.

There is also a recommendation to stagger registration renewals, but the details have not been given yet.  Maybe every two years?

Previous recommendation didn’t address any prescription drug issues, but the final decisions do contain a Prescription Monitoring Program.

As of September 1, 2018, dentists will be required to search the Prescription Monitoring Program and review a patient’s prescription history before prescribing opioids, benzodiazepines, barbiturates, or carisoprodol.  A dentist who does not check the program before prescribing these drugs will be subject to disciplinary action by the Dental Board.

The Board will be required to query the Prescription Monitoring Program on a periodic basis for potentially harmful prescribing patterns among its licensees.  The Board will work with the Pharmacy Board to establish potentially harmful prescribing patterns that the Board should monitor by querying the database for dentists who meet those prescribing patterns.  Based on the information obtained from the Prescription Monitoring Program, the Board will be authorized to open a complaint for possible non-therapeutic prescribing.

By Jonathon R. Kimes, DDS
Editor, CADS






The Louisiana Dental Association is in need of support for the Louisiana Mission of Mercy on Sept 30 – Oct 1

* Updated Information from the Louisiana Dental Association – Timeframe for Temporary License Extended (In Bold Face, below) * 

Dear Colleagues:
You are all no doubt well aware of the flooding disaster affecting much of South Louisiana.  Thankfully, the LDA office was not affected and the impact on staff has been minimal and generally indirect. (Not that it was fun to be without power in my home for two days in August in Louisiana, but I feel SO blessed compared to many others.)
As you may have heard, 20 parishes (counties) were declared federal disaster areas.  So far, we have reports of about 40 dentists who had flooding in their practice, home or both. (The attached photos were included with dentists’ disaster grant applications.) But, the latest official estimates are that as many as 80,000 homes in the Greater Baton Rouge area were flooded.  That figure does not include areas around Lafayette, LA and New Iberia (home of Tabasco sauce) that also had significant flooding.  So, we are quite sure that the number of dentists with flooding in their homes or practices will climb significantly higher as our outreach efforts result in contact with more and more dentists in the flooded areas.
Moreover, the number of members that have been indirectly impacted by the flood is likely to be huge.  Many of our members in South Louisiana have friends and family that were flooded and are helping them out by providing housing, help with clean up and more. (The same is true for most of the LDA staff.)
This has led to concern on the LDA Foundation board that we will have so many dentists still preoccupied with flood recovery, either for themselves or for their family and friends, that it will be especially difficult to entice those members to volunteer to work at our MOM (LaMOM) in the New Orleans area that is now just five weeks away (Sept. 30-Oct. 1).  We are well short of having the volunteers needed at this point and very concerned that the usual last minute rush to sign up will simply not materialize with so many people fatigued from the stresses of flood recovery.
So, I am asking for a favor from all of you. (For the record, we normally, say “y’all” down here, not “all of you.” 
J)  Would you be willing to let your members know that LaMOM is facing a potentially significant shortage of volunteers and ask if some of them will sign up?  The attached Word document includes the basic information they would need; the rest can be obtained by following the link in the attachment to our web site.
Please note that there is a time factor here. The LDA handles everything with the Louisiana State Board of Dentistry (LSBD) as far as obtaining temporary licensure in Louisiana for out of state volunteers. Ordinarily, it can take up to 30 days to process the temporary license application. LSBD staff has assured the LDA that the processing will be expedited in recognition of the unusual circumstances.  Out of state volunteers will need to register no later than Sept. 22 (i.e., one week prior to LaMOM) to be assured of being licensed in time for the event. (Dentists and hygienists who sign up less than one week prior to LaMOM may still be able to get licensed, but if not, could still work at LaMOM in other areas that don’t involve actual treatment.)
I realize this is a lot to ask in many ways.  Many of you likely have challenges getting sufficient volunteers for your own MOMs and don’t want to burn out your own supply of volunteers.  So, I COMPLETELY understand if you feel as though you have to decline my request for help.  But thanks in advance to those of you who may be able and willing to give us a hand.
Ward Blackwell,
Executive Director/CEO
Louisiana Dental Association/Louisiana Dental Services, Inc.
7833 Office Park Blvd.
Baton Rouge, LA 70809
(225) 926-1986 <tel:%28225%29%20926-1986
FAX (225) 926-1886 <tel:%28225%29%20926-1886 < <
ADA 12th District Caucus Meeting
, August 28, 2016, Embassy Suites DFW Airport North, Grapevine, TX.
LDA Board of Directors Meeting, September 9, 2016, LDA Office, Baton Rouge, LA.
ADA Annual Session, October 20–24, 2016, Denver, CO. 
LDA Last Chance Seminar, December 9, 2016, Baton Rouge, La. 
For more information or to register for any LDA event, go to <> .
Step 3) OPT-IN as an Ordering\Referring Provider… Here’s why

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