April 7, 2020
There are still many questions out there regarding COVID-19 and it seems the answers are changing all the time. I want to share this up-to-date information from the ADA on topics concerning your practice in an unedited format. Please review and refer to this information as a guide. I recommend you continue to watch for information from KDA, as well as the Kentucky Board of Dentistry, ADA, CDC, etc.
Stay safe & well!
Updated COVID-19 Talking Points
- We know that dentists and all health care professionals are facing unprecedented and extraordinary circumstances related to COVID-19.
- In a statement issued April 1, the ADA called on dentists nationwide to postpone non-urgent dental procedures through April 30 in order to help slow the spread of COVID-19.
- 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.
- The new interim ADA recommendation is in keeping with the recent CDC recommendation to perform only emergency or urgent dental care until April 30.
- As health care professionals, it is up to dentists to make well-informed decisions about their patients and practices.
- Dentists should exercise professional judgment and carefully consider the risks outlined in the ADA's interim guidance and weigh those risks against any possible benefit to the patient, the practice employees, the community at large, and the practitioner.
- Critically important is the availability of appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) to minimize any risk of transmission during emergency and urgent care.
- Based on an ADA Health Policy Institute survey of more than 19,000 U.S. dentists, 95 percent of dental practices are either closed entirely or only open for emergency care.
- The ADA is continually evaluating the situation and our recommendation and guidance on an ongoing basis as new information becomes available.
- We are working on resources to help dentists during this time, and continually updating information and Frequently Asked Questions at ADA.org/virus.
What is emergency vs. non-emergency care?
- When in doubt, patients should contact their dental professional for an assessment of whether or not a dental procedure is an emergency. Dentists will use their professional judgment in determining need for care.
- Dental care you can reschedule for another time:
- Regular visits for exams, cleanings and x-rays
- Regular visits for braces
- Removal of teeth that aren't painful
- Treatment of cavities that aren't painful
- Tooth whitening
- Emergency or urgent dental care: Dental care that should be taken care of by a dentist immediately.
- Bleeding that doesn't stop
- Painful swelling in or around your mouth
- Pain in a tooth, teeth or jaw bone
- Gum infection with pain or swelling
- After surgery treatment (dressing change, stitch removal)
- Broken or knocked out tooth
- Denture adjustment for people receiving radiation or other treatment for cancer
- Snipping or adjusting wire of braces that hurts your cheek or gums
- Biopsy of abnormal tissue
- In March, Congress developed three legislative packages in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the ADA has asked lawmakers to include multiple provisions to assist dental practices and other small businesses facing economic burdens.
- Families First Coronavirus Response Act (2nd legislative package) passed Congress March 18 and was signed into law. It focuses on short-term issues such as child and elderly nutrition programs, COVID-19 testing, unemployment benefits, and family medical and sick leave.
- Congress passed a third legislative package called the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) on March 27. It includes provisions that will assist small businesses, including dental practices, facing economic burdens as a result of COVID-19 and among many provisions provides federal funding to provide immediate help to small businesses through Small Business Administration loan programs.
- Guidance and interim rules have come swiftly after the passage of these new laws. Both lenders and borrowers have experienced some confusion and the ADA has been working hard to clarify the guidance and rules in order to advise dentists on the best options available to them to assist with the economic hardships that the dental profession is facing.
Small business assistance
- Dentist owners care deeply about the welfare of their employees, the majority of private dental practices are small businesses with only 5-10 people on staff. (78% of dentists own their own practice per HPI.)
- The Small Business Administration's (SBA) Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) 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.
- The Paycheck Protection Program/7(a) loan will be provided by SBA approved banks and will be on first come, first served basis. Congress provided $349 billion for these loans to help cover monthly payroll costs (wages, health insurance, PTO, retirement benefits, and state/local payroll taxes on employee compensation) but does not include federal payroll taxes.
- The 7(a) loan program also includes generous loan forgiveness provisions if dental practices can bring their payroll levels up to as close as pre-crisis levels as possible.
- There are multiple SBA loan options available for employers. There has been a lot of confusion recently about not being eligible for the new Paycheck Protection Program Loan/7(a) if you already have an EIDL loan. That is not correct, small businesses can apply for both and have both, but cannot use the proceeds for the same purpose.
- Dentists need to contact the SBA disaster assistance customer service center at 1-800-659-2955 or email email@example.com. To apply for the loans, visit DisasterLoan.SBA.gov.