Over the last few days, throughout the Commonwealth and around the nation there has been a great deal of discussion about the Coronavirus (COVID-19), which recently became a worldwide pandemic. There has also been a good deal of misinformation and misunderstanding regarding what might happen in the coming weeks and how we will all be affected. There are no easy answers to the questions you face. Please know that regulators, policymakers and your patients are depending upon you to use your best professional judgment regarding these issues.
The Kentucky Dental Association serves member dentists and our mission is to help our members succeed and serve. Our leadership recognizes the ideal of service above self and so we have shared information related to this outbreak with all dentists in Kentucky. But, as a professional association, it is our belief that it would be inappropriate to dictate to you how to practice or whether to reschedule elective care or even develop a triage system to ensure an adequate inventory of limited supplies. Instead, we have been working with those individuals and offices charged with regulatory oversight and authority regarding matters of public health in order to represent the interests of the profession and provide clear and honest information upon which you can render your personal and professional judgment.
We have and will continue to inform you of what you need to know as providers when we have the information to share. Whenever possible, we are also here to provide suggestions, solutions, and strategies for you, your practice and your patients.
Here are the facts you need today...
The KDA Board members met last night on a conference call with members of the Kentucky Board of Dentistry to discuss issues related to attempts to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 upon healthcare providers and their patients.
ate yesterday, the Kentucky Board of Dentistry released the following statement:
On March 14, Gov. Andy Beshear announced that non-emergency medical procedures should cease until further notice. The Board of Dentistry has confirmed that he and Commissioner Steven Stack intended for dental procedures to be part of this request. In that light, the Kentucky Board of Dentistry is asking all health care providers (including dentists, dental specialists and hygienists) to reschedule all elective dental care which will not negatively affect the patient. This should begin as soon as possible and continue until advised otherwise by the Department for Public Health.
Due to the nature of this respiratory illness, the Board highly encourages its licensees to utilize rubber dam or similar isolation whenever possible for patients that must be seen. These actions will not only protect our patients but you as a licensee, your employees and their families.
We understand the financial difficulties this decision may cause some of our providers and their staff. However, it is imperative that all health care providers in the state are on the same page in order to "flatten the curve" and beat this disease.
The KDA supports the position expressed by KBOD. KBOD has also expressed that this policy is not directive. It is a "request" and not intended to be an enforcement issue. But it is important to know that this action is important to "flatten the curve" in order to avoid the very real possibility of overtaxing our healthcare system and compromising our ability to care for those infected by the virus. In making this request, KBOD is relying upon your professional judgment and interpretation of what constitutes "elective dental care which will not negatively affect the patient."
Early yesterday evening, the American Dental Association released the following statement that reinforces the notion that the public can rely upon dentists to exercise professional judgment during this crisis:
ADA Calls Upon Dentists to Postpone Elective Procedures
The American Dental Association (ADA) recognizes the unprecedented and extraordinary circumstances dentists and all health care professionals face related to growing concern about COVID-19. The ADA is deeply concerned for the health and well-being of the public and the dental team.
In order for dentistry to do its part to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, the ADA recommends dentists nationwide postpone elective procedures for the next three weeks. Concentrating on emergency dental care will allow us to care for our emergency patients and alleviate the burden that dental emergencies would place on hospital emergency departments.
As health care professionals, it is up to dentists to make well-informed decisions about their patients and practices. The ADA is committed to providing the latest information to the profession in a useful and timely manner.
The ADA is continually evaluating and will update its recommendation on an ongoing basis as new information becomes available. Please visit ADA.org/virus for the latest information.
We also know that this pandemic is affecting your practice in terms of supply chain, management and financial issues. It is important to contact your local public health department for some questions. We have already provided dentists with links to important information from the Center for Disease Control, the Food & Drug Administration, as well as ADA resources for other questions. To address questions related to maintaining your practice through this crisis, the ADA has provided the following information for guidance. It is a summary of the Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program that recently became law.
The SBA will work directly with state Governors to provide targeted, low-interest loans to small businesses and non-profits that have been severely impacted by the Coronavirus (COVID-19). The SBA's Economic Injury Disaster Loan program provides small businesses with working capital loans of up to $2 million that can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing.
- Find more information on the SBA's Economic Injury Disaster Loans at: SBA.gov/Disaster.
Guidance for Businesses and Employers
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers the most up-to-date information on COVID-19. This interim guidance is based on what is currently known
about the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)
. For updates from CDC, please see the following:
The SBA provides low-interest disaster loans to help businesses and homeowners recover from declared disasters.
Finally, the following link from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce may be of interest to you and is provided as a source of guidance.
Please ensure that KDA e-mail is not being routed to your spam or junk file and advise colleagues who tell you they haven't read anything from KDA to do the same. We will continue providing important information you need as we move through the coming weeks. We are the voice of organized dentistry and will continue to be a source of information you on issues affecting dentists and their patients throughout this crisis and beyond.
KDA Executive Director