COVID Positive Team Member: Steps to take

06/12/2020 9:40:06 AM

Practices are re-opening and getting used to new recommended and required safety precautions.  It’s a good time to think about this scenario—when a team member tests positive for COVID-19.  There are procedures in place to prevent potentially sick employees from coming to work or beginning a shift.  But there still exists the unfortunate possibility of an infected team member encountering patients.  The TDA and ADA have released guidelines in the event this happens in your practice.

A summary of steps to take:

  1. Mandate the infected employee quarantine for 14 days and follows all medical recommendations.
  2. Notify all patients who may have had close contact with the infected employee.
    • Recommend a 14-day self-quarantine and that they contact their physician if they experience symptoms.
    • “Close contact” is defined as 6 feet or less.
    • The CDC has provided a sample letter here.
    • Document your communication with the patient.
  3. Notify staff who were working with the infected employee.  Recommend a 14-day self-quarantine for any staff member who may have come into close contact with the infected employee.
  4. Clean and disinfect the facility according to CDC guidelines for Dental Practices.

Click here for an expanded 8-step guide from the ADA.

For more information, this TDA page explains how to handle a team member testing positive for COVID-19.  It includes protocols, helpful resources, and a script for communicating with patients.

Paying COVID Employees

06/10/2020 2:35:06 PM

A few of you have contacted us with employees who either have COVID, or have been exposed to COVID and are unable to work. Paying COVID employees involves following unique rules. Under the H.R.6201 – Families First Coronavirus Response Act, they are entitled to 10 days of federally mandated and subsidized Sick Pay.  

Here’s how paying COVID employees works:

  1. Pay them their normal hourly rate up to a maximum of $511 per day.
  2. Pay them for the hours they would be working according to the amount the practice is currently open.  For instance, if they previously worked 30 hours per week and the practice is now open only 20 hours per week, you must pay them 20 hours per week for 2 weeks.  If the practice is open as much as pre-COVID, pay them for their their normal working hours up to 40 hours per week.
  3. If you use a payroll provider (always recommended) be sure to enter this as Emergency Paid Sick Leave (or something to that affect—your payroll provider can help you identify the correct coding if needed).  Correct coding is important in this case.
  4. You are entitled to a credit for the total sick wages paid against your payroll tax deposits.  Example: If the employee is paid $2500 for the 10 days, you can short your payroll tax deposits for the remainder of 2nd quarter until you have recouped your $2500.  Your payroll provider may do this for you automatically.  If not, there is a form that can be filed to receive the refund back from the IRS for the amount of credit you are due.  In addition to wages paid, the credit should include any health insurance premiums the practice pays on their behalf.  (Note: Insurance deducted from the employees’ pay is not includable in the credit.) 
  5. No specific paperwork needs to be filed with any government agency to track this.