117030256 © Mccallk69 | Dreamstime.com
dreamstime_xxl_117030256

In brief: Employee or contractor? DOL issues final ruling

Jan. 29, 2024
Learn about a final rule by the Department of Labor to determine if a worker is an employee or independent contractor; a fungal infection "on the move" in the US; and more.

Employee or independent contractor? DOL issues final ruling

The Department of Labor (DOL) has issued a final rule to determine if a worker is an employee or an independent contractor that it contends is “more consistent with judicial precedent and the act’s text and purpose.” The rule, set to go into effect on March 11, replaces the Wage and Hour Division’s previous analysis and uses six factors for determining worker status, including how essential the worker is to the business, a worker’s opportunity for profit or loss, and more. While proponents say the rule “will help protect workers,” some in opposition say the new rule “is the polar opposite of flexibility.”

Updated clinician guidance on patient PFAS exposure

Becker’s reports that the CDC has issued updated guidance for clinicians about exposure to PFAS, urging them to consider a patient's individual history and possible exposure to the chemicals and to order blood tests as needed to detect exposures. Known for their water-resistant and nonstick properties, PFAS have in recent years been found in dangerous concentrations in drinking water, soils, and foods; over time, exposure to high concentrations is linked to chronic health conditions. PFAS have made news in dentistry due to their use in coated floss.

Fungal infections “on the move”

A fungus more typical of areas of the Midwest and parts of the Southeast is on the rise in other areas of the country that had not previously reported it. According to NBC, the infection, called blastomycosis, has made its way to Vermont, with "several papers recently suggesting that fungal infections are on the move across the country and this is one of them."

New bill could help ease dental staffing shortage

Lawmakers and school admins in Wisconsin are hopeful about initiatives that could help ease the shortage of dental professionals in their state. Northcentral Technical College in Wausau has added a spring term for their dental program, with an admin saying that the program was previously offered only in the fall and offering it for an additional term will enable the school "to contribute throughout the year to provide some qualified competent hygienists into the community as well as dental assistants." As well, state lawmakers have proposed a bill to allow the licensure of dental therapists “following completion of a qualifying dental therapy education program and passage of required examinations.”