As non-essential healthcare services have opened back up around the country, dental offices have reopened to find they don’t have adequate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to comply with the additional PPE needed to meet COVID-19 requirements. Whether offices donated excess PPE to frontline hospital workers or just didn’t have extra PPE stockpiled before they closed their doors, they are now struggling to get the PPE they need to keep their patients and their staff safe. The cost for PPE has inflated greatly, and providers are having to ask some difficult questions. Some dentists have even had to start charging their patients a PPE fee to combat these costs. While dentists navigate this issue, it can be an additional challenge to stay up to date on the news and resources addressing this issue. To help, here are three updates you should monitor that might affect your practice as the PPE shortage progresses.
- Main Street Enhancement and Safety Act: The Organized Dentistry Coalition (ODC), consisting of the American Dental Association, the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, and other industry organizations, have written a letter in support of the Main Street Enhancement and Safety Act (S 3716). The Main Street Enhancement and Safety Act seeks to amend the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) to include loan forgiveness for “costs related to health and safety supplies, personal protective equipment, needed to prepare for reopening, and for other purposes.” The bill was introduced to the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee on May 13th and has the potential to bring dental offices financial relief to ease the burden of PPE costs. You can view the bill and track updates here.
- ADA Guidelines for PPE Cost Reimbursement: The American Dental Association (ADA) has already released initial guidelines for how dental office’s should approach reimbursement for additional PPE costs with third party payers. This includes the use of ADA code D1999 (unspecified dental preventive procedure, by report) to catalog and report the use of additional PPE. To make sure you are staying up to date with reporting your PPE costs, monitor the ADA’s website for updates here.
- PPE Shortage Support: If you are facing a shortage of PPE and worried you won’t have enough to treat all of your patients, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) has standing guidelines to help you approach these situations. Per the CDC, if PPE supply is limited, “prioritize dental care for the highest need, most vulnerable patients first.” The CDC also has guidance for the use of stockpiled N95 respirators, decontamination and reuse of PPE, purchasing PPE internationally, and calculating your PPE burnout rate.
Of course, these are just three places that might have helpful information for your practice. For more updates on the PPE shortage and dentistry overall, make sure to check out the ADA’s news updates. And to learn more about how to protect your patients, check out our Reception Area Protection Checklist below!