FMLA - dental procedures

I have been reading what ever I could find relating to FMLA and dental procedures and still have questions. In a situation where some one initially goes in for tooth pain and has a wisdom tooth removed, I would not typically find that to be FMLA qualifying - missed 1/12 work days plus weekend. The person then also missed Monday to have an additional root canal and returned to work Tuesday but left 1 hour early due to pain. They then ended up missing all day Wed due to developing dry socket from wisdom tooth removal the previous week. Since what was initally a wisdom tooth removal then also required a root canal and then developed into dry socket ... I am thinking this has become FMLA qualifying but wondering how any of you would handle this?


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  • Personally, I would think that while the original procedure wouldn't rise to the level of FMLA-qualifying, the complications do.

    I just had my first experience with FMLA for dental issues, although it was much worse than a dry socket. One of our employees had her wisdom teeth pulled and developed a life-threatening infection that spread up into her jaw. She wound up hospitalized and had to have surgery to help clear out the infection. I didn't know about it until after she got back after missing almost a month of work. She still has bruises on her face from the surgery, but as I understand it she's just lucky to be alive at this point. Pretty scary.
  • I think small illnesses/incidents like what you are describing are the hardest part of administering FMLA! At least, for me they are! When in doubt, look back to the regs. The dental issues will have to pass two "tests:" one for qualification as a "serious health condition," one for qualification as "continuing treatment."

    I think the serious health condition test is pretty easy - this incident involves an inpairment that requires continuing treatment by a health care provider for a condition that prevents the employee from performing the functions of his/her job.

    Continuing treatment is a little harder - the regs state that in general, continuing treatment means a period of incapacity of more than 3 consecutive calendar days [B]combined with [/B]:
    (a) at least 2 visits to a health care provider or
    (b) one visit and a regimen of continuing treatment or
    (c) incapacity due to a chronic condition.

    So in your situation, they may have met the 3 consecutive calendar day requirement if they were incapacitated over the weekend, but have they also had a, b, or c? Hope that helps. FMLA is NEVER fun!
  • That does help ... thanks for the input!
  • I know I'm late chiming in here but just curious if you were basing this off pre or post completion of the physician certification? Based on the details you've given - I would give them the certification form and my decision would be more based on how the physician/dentist completed them.
  • That is exactly what I decided to do - provide forms and see what they come back with. Thanks for your response.
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