New Care Benefits, Free Premium, and our ADHA Partnership: How onDiem is Changing Dental Staffing for Good

July 12, 2023
Joe Fogg, Founder of onDiem
We already made history by becoming the first dental staffing platform to be W-2 compliant nationwide.

We already made history by becoming the first dental staffing platform to be W-2 compliant nationwide.

This week, we announced our industry-defining partnership with the ADHA, unveiled our new Care Benefits, and made onDiem Premium free for all practices and DSOs—developments that were only possible due to our W-2 hiring model. It’s all in service of caring for those who care—and promoting safe, legal, and rewarding work in our industry. Read on to learn more.

As part of my daily routine, I visit hygienist groups and forums on social media. I do it to ensure I'm always up-to-date on what our dental community cares about, and to jump in with relevant information whenever I can be helpful. Over the years, I’ve noticed one point of confusion remains consistent in the landscape: “As a hygienist, should I work as a W-2 employee, or can I work as a 1099 independent contractor?”

This week, a top legal expert in our community took a stance on the issue. Brian A. Colao, Director of the DSO Industry Group at Dykema, affirmed that hygienists are, in fact, W-2 employees. Here’s his full statement to onDiem:

Brian A. Colao Director, DSO Industry Group at Dykema
Under applicable IRS and department of labor regulations, it is improper to classify most hygienists who work at dental practices as 1099 contractors, even when they are only working part time or as a temp. The regulations are very clear and there can be significant consequences for misclassification of employees as independent contractors. Employers across the country have been investigated and fined for violating these regulations. In my experience many practice owners across the industry are needlessly exposing themselves and their staff to significant legal risk by misclassifying employees as independent contractors.
—Brian A. Colao Director, DSO Industry Group at Dykema


We’ve heard the stories time and again; misclassification is risky business for both the hygienist and employer. Friends and partners in dentistry like Katrina Sanders—who some may know as The Dental WINEgenist—have consistently emphasized the danger of working as a 1099 hygienist. “Any hygienist who works under the supervision of a doctor and has their clinical decision-making and implementation fall under the doctor’s licensure must consider themselves a W-2 employee,” she told us. “It’s not just a matter of legality; it’s also a matter of protecting our livelihoods.”

Hygienists everywhere deserve the W-2 protections and benefits that would help keep them protected and safe. And as the founder of onDiem, the first dental staffing platform to be fully W-2 compliant nationwide, I am proud that our team is actively doing what we can to ensure safe, legal, and rewarding work becomes the status quo. In the last week, we made the following announcements—which were only possible due to our status as a W-2 compliant dental staffing company:

  • New onDiem Care Benefits
    Every working hygienist, dental assistant, and front-office staff on our platform can now earn up to $200 per month in Care Benefits, which cover costs related to health, wellness, fitness, and more. An onDiem pro can use their Care Benefits on anything from childcare to a massage after a particularly grueling day. Think of it as a flexible spending account (FSA), but with even more flexibility!
  • The ADHA-onDiem Partnership
    Our partnership with the country’s foremost advocacy organization for hygienists does a couple key things:
    • It gives onDiem hygienists discounted membership to the ADHA—which means they can better access all the perks and benefits of being an ADHA member.
    • onDiem hygienists who sign up for ADHA membership through our platform receive more than 50% off their dues, and $50 more per month in Care Benefits.

  • FREE onDiem Premium until 2024
    To help solve the staffing shortage in our industry, and to help more practices and DSOs enjoy the peace of mind that comes with compliant and legal staffing, we’ve made onDiem Premium free until the end of the year Practices and DSOs have absolutely nothing to lose by signing up for onDiem Premium, and potentially thousands of dollars to gain in revenue.

As the onDiem family knows, I could talk for years about the risks of working as a 1099 hygienist. I talk to team members every single day about how the IRS is cracking down on misclassification in dentistry and beyond; how state dental practice acts make it crystal clear that hygienists cannot be 1099 independent contractors; and how staffing agencies and companies have been sued or shut down due to misclassification. But beyond the legal ramifications and risks of working as a 1099 hygienist, when workers are misclassified, there are a great deal of missed opportunities for good. 

When a hygienist is properly classified as a W-2 employee, they gain access to paid time off, overtime, family and medical leave, and health benefits. They enjoy corporate and umbrella liability coverage. Ultimately, they will likely take home more in pay, as they no longer have to pay the tax burden of their employer. In my opinion, a hygienist who is cared for in this way—in the way they deserve—is a better care provider. A more fulfilled care provider. A care provider who can operate to their fullest potential, with the fullest possible measure of contentment, with the knowledge that they are adequately cared for themselves. 

In the midst of a serious dental staffing shortage, treating employees well—and properly classifying them as employees in the first place—is the key component of the solution. A dental practice or DSO that properly classifies their employees mitigates legal risk, and arguably gains dental workers who are better cared for and therefore better able to handle the daily grind. Through onDiem’s ClearPay™, our subscribed practices and DSOs also receive unprecedented transparency into the costs of every temp shift. When a dental professional’s threshold has been met for state and federal unemployment taxes, we pass the savings onto them instead of keeping the savings for ourselves. (No other staffing agency offers that.) Dental practices and DSOs on the right side of the law can enjoy peace of mind, knowing that they can focus on maximizing revenue, growing their business, and providing stellar patient care. 

It’s why we introduced these exciting new partnerships and services—because we care for the people who care. We exist precisely to open up pathways for some of our most essential care providers and healthcare professionals to work with dignity, in safe and legal working conditions. With the ADHA announcement, we’re re-energized and even more motivated to expand and improve upon our product and services—which have always existed to provide benefits, protections, and opportunities for the people who care. 

I am excited to share the news of our ADHA partnership, Care Benefits launch, and free onDiem Premium with the dozens of social media groups and forums I visit on a daily basis, through my phone calls with our partners… with everyone. (I encourage others to do the same, for the good of our entire dental community.) 

As Brian Colao, Katrina Sanders, and so many others in our family and community declare so eloquently, our dental community deserves better. I am beyond proud to be part of a team and company that has known it from the start.

Copyright onDiem, 2023 Privacy Policy