May 29, 2020 | Issue 53
10 Ways IDA Has Served Dentistry During the Pandemic
When the IDA leadership and staff adjourned the board meeting on Friday, March 13, no one imagined the turn of events that have taken place since then. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, IDA has been providing services to all dentists, hygienists, assistants, and support staff in Iowa regardless of membership status. The value of organized dentistry has never been more apparent. Here are the top 10 things IDA has done to serve the profession of dentistry in Iowa:

  1. Led the COVID-19 Reopening Task Force – IDA organized and chaired the reopening task force that had representation from the Iowa Dental Board (IDB), Iowa Dental Hygienists’ Association (IDHA), UI College of Dentistry, Iowa Department of Public Health, and Delta Dental of Iowa to develop recommendations for reopening dental practices.
  2. Advocated for Offices to Open on May 8 – When the IDB submitted the Guidelines for the Safe Transition Back to Practice to the governor, they included a joint letter of support from IDA and IDHA to demonstrate that dental professionals were united. On May 6, Governor Reynolds announced that dental offices could reopen on May 8, 10 days earlier than the previous proclamation would have allowed. 
  3. Iowa Small Business Relief Grants – When dentists were not included in the first round for the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) grants, IDA wrote a letter to the IEDA and held a call with IEDA staff to discuss this gross oversight. As of May 26, more than $2.8 million has been awarded to 122 dental offices in 45 Iowa counties. 
  4. Online Resources – An entire section of the IDA website is devoted to providing resources for dental offices to help navigate the fluid environment you now practice in. Information on PPE suppliers, FAQs on employment, resources to assist in opening offices, and more is available in one place.
  5. Online CEUs – When IDEAS20 was canceled, IDA moved many of those educational sessions online, including mandatory education. The free infection control webinar is available for all.
  6. COVID-19 Update – Today marks the 53rd edition of the daily e-newsletter designed to be a single source of information for Iowa dentists. Each day this e-newsletter is sent to all Iowa dentists, hygienists, dental assistants, office managers, and others within our database.
  7. Legislative Efforts – The Iowa Legislature suspended the current session in March, but that did not stop IDA’s legislative work. The IDA Legislative Committee met this afternoon to discuss advocacy strategies on behalf of dentists for increased Medicaid reimbursement, liability relief, and other IDA legislative priorities for when the legislature reconvenes on June 3.

IDA members have had exclusive access to additional services during this time, including:

  1. Virtual Townhalls – To keep IDA members current and to provide the opportunity to ask questions, IDA offered four virtual townhalls. Recordings of those townhalls are available on the IDA website.
  2. Free Webinars on PPP Loans and Practice Recovery – IDA members were given exclusive access to these live and on-demand webinars. A follow-up live webinar on the PPP Loan with Allen Schiff will be available exclusively to IDA members on Friday, June 5 at 1:00 PM. 
  3. District Meetings – Many district dental societies canceled their spring meetings due to COVID-19. IDA worked with leaders from the Dubuque, Southwest, and Waterloo Districts to hold virtual meetings for district members. These district meetings were very well attended and allowed dentists to connect with their peers and hear valuable information.

The most impactful service that IDA leadership and staff have offered during this time is availability: availability to answer questions, listen to concerns, and direct you to resources. The IDA staff is presently working from their homes but may be reached at 515.331.2298 or  info@iowadental.org .
Allen Schiff to Host Second PPP Webinar - Friday, June 5
The IDA is excited to bring Allen Schiff, CPA, back for another members-only live webinar providing updates to the Paycheck Protection Program at 1:00 PM on Friday, June 5 . As Schiff stated in his first webinar , the rules and guidelines for the PPP loan are ever-changing, so this is an opportunity for members to receive the latest information from an expert. If you missed the first webinar, you can view it now on-demand for free.
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Dentists Making Changes for Reopening
IDA President-Elect Dr. Zach Kouri of Des Moines is one of the dentists featured in a Washington Post article regarding changes to their practices while reopening during COVID-19. The article explains, “reopening meant a week or so of 15-hour days, unplanned construction on his office, time spent hunting for affordable personal protective equipment, and the painstaking work of rewriting office safety protocols.”

IDA President Dr. Nathan Hehr of Mason City also shared changes he has implemented at his practice in an article for Fox News, including "[putting] up shower curtains across patient doorways to create a barrier to limit the exposure in the office. Patients have been required to wear face masks and sanitize hands before they can enter his office," according to the article.
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Reminder: Dental Amalgam Deadline July 14
All dental offices must comply with the Environmental Protection Agency's dental amalgam rule aiming to minimize the amount of mercury discharge from dental practices as of this summer. All offices must install an amalgam separator by July 14, 2020 and refrain from discharging scrap amalgam and using line cleaners containing corrosive material. Offices must also submit a compliance report by October 12, 2020. The Iowa Waste Reduction Center has created a website with information regarding this new rule, including the applicable form you will need to meet these requirements.