COVID Positive Team Member: Steps to take

06/12/2020 9:40:06 AM

Practices are re-opening and getting used to new recommended and required safety precautions.  It’s a good time to think about this scenario—when a team member tests positive for COVID-19.  There are procedures in place to prevent potentially sick employees from coming to work or beginning a shift.  But there still exists the unfortunate possibility of an infected team member encountering patients.  The TDA and ADA have released guidelines in the event this happens in your practice.

A summary of steps to take:

  1. Mandate the infected employee quarantine for 14 days and follows all medical recommendations.
  2. Notify all patients who may have had close contact with the infected employee.
    • Recommend a 14-day self-quarantine and that they contact their physician if they experience symptoms.
    • “Close contact” is defined as 6 feet or less.
    • The CDC has provided a sample letter here.
    • Document your communication with the patient.
  3. Notify staff who were working with the infected employee.  Recommend a 14-day self-quarantine for any staff member who may have come into close contact with the infected employee.
  4. Clean and disinfect the facility according to CDC guidelines for Dental Practices.

Click here for an expanded 8-step guide from the ADA.

For more information, this TDA page explains how to handle a team member testing positive for COVID-19.  It includes protocols, helpful resources, and a script for communicating with patients.

Production Survey Part 2

06/11/2020 12:00:28 PM

After reviewing the results of our 6/8/2020 survey, we were pleased and surprised to hear so many of you are back at 100% pre-COVID production levels!  BUT HOW are you accomplishing this?  With all the extra time to comfort patients and sterilize ops we feared production could not reach pre-COVID levels.  But we are thrilled to see the potential full recovery can be achieved for the dental community.  If you would give us just 2 more minutes of your time we would love to dive deeper.

TAKE THE SURVEY

Production Survey Results

06/10/2020 10:28:10 AM

Our practice production survey results are coming in. So far things look promising. 30 days following reopening their practices, most respondents are reporting production levels at 70% and higher of pre-COVID production levels. We know 2020 will go down in history as a very tough year for small business owners, including dentists. However, maybe things aren’t as bad as they once seemed and maybe, just maybe, we can turn 2020 around before the end of the year. If you haven’t taken the survey, please take a minute and tell us about your practice.

SURVEY RESULTS

TAKE THE SURVEY

Recouping the Costs of PPE Supplies

05/20/2020 11:08AM

COVID-19 has caused an increased requirement for PPE and screening patients to protect yourself, your staff and your patients.  And these additional supplies and staffing time are not without cost.  As you dive back into practicing, you are asking, “What are the possibilities of recouping the costs of PPE supplies?”  Can you charge it out to the insurance companies?  How do you code it?

Some insurers are allowing these billings, and reimbursement rates vary by state and type of plan.  Consult your insurance plan contract or contact the insurer directly before implementing, as some do not allow you to bill these separately.  The coding for PPE reimbursement is D1999.  For patient screening use code D0190.  According to PPO Advisors, the average reimbursement for PPE is $7-10, and for screening $10-15.  So, recouping the costs of PPE supplies looks promising!

Click to read the complete informational flyer from PPO Advisors.

PPE Costs Survey Results

05/18/2020 11:01AM

Thanks to each of you who participated in our dental office PPE costs survey! We truly appreciate your experience so we may help the community realize the costs PPE is having on independently owned dental practices.

Please CLICK HERE to read the full results report & see the graphs.

After reading the results of hundreds of dentists nationwide, key PPE trends are:
  • Billing Patients: 61.2% of dentists said they will bill patients for the extra PPE costs. Overall, dentists share they are billing $10-12 per patient; however, one office is billing $30. When adding the up front, fixed costs for PPE to the variable costs per patient seen, the additional invoice amount would need to be higher than $12 per patient for most offices–if trying to recoup 100%.
  • Re-Opening: 81.5% of dentists who responded will re-open by today with only 14% expecting to re-open after June 1.
  • PPE Out of Stock: although offices are reopening, they have very limited supplies and some are staying closed due to this issue. 90.18% of practices have N95 masks on back order and 74.9% state that gowns are on back order.
  • Time Between Patients: 67% of dentists will be adding up to 20 minutes between patients, with 29% of those practices adding only 10 minutes for room turnover. For practices with 45 minute hygiene appointments, this can mean as much as a 40% increase in time needed per patient appointment.
  • N95 Masks: On average, spending has ranged from $4 to $5.30 per mask. 67.5% of dentists are spending more than $4 and 63.5% are spending less than $5.
  • Gowns: 57.76% of dentists are spending more than $5 per gown, due to using reusable gowns. Many offices shared that they are using gown rental services.
  • Face Shields: This PPE expense had the widest response range. 49.28% of practices are spending less than $12 per shield yet 39.56% are spending over $15.

As I reopen my office, why am I so tired?

05/15/2020 2:09PM

This may be why…

You took a mandatory 6 week vacation where you traveled to new and exotic places…like your kitchen, the back yard, and the spare bathroom.  And now it’s back to the routine and grind of a normal work week as you reopen your office.  Do you feel exhausted? 

You’re not alone. 

We’ve heard from many of you this week with this new insight.  It’s not really surprising.  You’ve been on your own preferred schedule at home, maybe staying up too late.  You’ve been spending energy helping your kids learn fractions and algebra—probably now eager to support their “we’ll never use this in real life” position in the hopes of avoiding it entirely.  And you’ve been worrying about the survival of your practice.  Add those all together and throw in a full work week, tons of new policies and procedures to implement, and staff and patients to reassure, and it’s really no wonder you’re tired.  If you haven’t reopened yet, start preparing now both mentally and physically!

A Wall Street Journal article points out the fatigue affect the shelter-at-home orders have had on many and gave that piece of advice regarding transitioning out of confinement.

Transitioning as society reopens

While it’s unlikely that we’ll return to our lives as they once were — at least for some time — some workplaces are beginning to reopen across the nation. We might see different schedules or more opportunities to work from home, but some of us will go back to a set schedule that might be a difficult jump from our current state. If you have enjoyed not having to commute or put in long hours away from home, how can you ready yourself for this shift?

Robbins suggests preparing for your transition as you would an upcoming trip. If you were heading to London, for example, “in the week leading up to that trip, you’d be starting to switch your calendar a little bit closer to your destination.” She says to take small steps each night, such as going to bed 15 minutes earlier, to move in the direction of your new schedule. These incremental adjustments give your body and mind time to adapt.

Besides our sleep schedules, there can be additional stress and exhaustion as we reenter the world. From worrying about whether we’ll be infected to wondering whether we’ll still have a job, some fear of the unknown remains — and that, as we know, is tiresome.

Read the full article here.

Employee Recall Letter

05/15/2020 1:44PM

Here is a good employee recall letter template to help you formalize your employee rehire process.  Remember that your employee count on 6/30/20 compared to 2/15/20 will affect your total forgiveness.  However, an employee who refuses to return will not negatively affect the forgiveness.  For documentation purposes you would want this letter or something similar on file to provide support that the missing employee refused to return to work and thereby should be excluded from the forgiveness calculation. 

Click here to download the letter template.

Free Guide: Answer Questions From Patients

05/14/2020 3:43PM

With the reopening of your practice, everyone will undoubtedly be asking new questions.  How do you ensure that your team is ready to answer questions from patients? Try this free guide.

LionSpeak, a leading communications coaching company, has published a free guide to help practices during this reopening process. Here are some of the topics included in the 11 page guide:

•           Preparing for patient questions
•           Answering safety and infection control questions
•           Addressing financial questions
•           Handling questions about scheduling and/or treatment
•           Patient outreach before and after returning to work

We encourage you to use the free guide to ease the stresses of your patients and staff to help ensure a successful reopening of your practice.

We are not being paid – or even asked – to post this information, we simply find it to be valuable, free information and want to share it with you.

Click here to download the LionSpeak guide.

PPE Costs Survey for Dental Practices

05/13/2020 5:06PM

It is important for as many practices as possible to participate in this PPE Costs Survey to ensure valid results.  If you haven’t participated, please take a couple of minutes now to do so.  We would also welcome you forwarding it to your colleagues for their input as well.

Your Reality Can Help Many Other Dentists

There is a lot of misinformation about the true costs of buying PPE for dental practices.  One of our ADCPA colleagues is hosting a survey for dentists across the country in an effort to gather information related to PPE and its costs and effects on practices as a result of COVID-19 changes. 

With your insights, we can let the dental profession know what is really happening.

Many of you have started reopening or have plans to reopen soon. We know one of your biggest concerns—and, for many, a hindrance to opening—is having access to the PPE you need to meet the new safety standards.

Your participation is invaluable in helping provide accurate results for you and your colleagues.

All results will be shared with the dental profession online and to anyone entering their email address in the survey.

Click HERE to participate in the 5 minute survey.

Survey: What is PPE Costing You? Share the Effect on Your Practice – Monday, May 11, 2020 9:53AM

Your Reality Can Help Many Other Dentists

There is a lot of misinformation about the true costs of buying PPE for dental practices.  One of our ADCPA colleagues is hosting a survey for dentists across the country in an effort to gather information related to PPE and its costs and effects on practices as a result of COVID-19 changes. 

With your insights, we can let the dental profession know what is really happening.

Many of you have started reopening or have plans to reopen soon. We know one of your biggest concerns—and, for many, a hindrance to opening—is having access to the PPE you need to meet the new safety standards.

Your participation is invaluable in helping provide accurate results for you and your colleagues.

All results will be shared with the dental profession online and to anyone entering their email address in the survey.

Click here to participate in the 5 min. survey.

Tips to Reduce Patient Contact During Checkout – Tuesday, May 5, 2020 2:28PM

The following was provided to us via our friends at MiCamp Solutions in response to the many requests they have received from practice owners and managers to help provide strategies to reduce contact between patients and staff during the checkout/payment process.  There is an understandable desire at this time to implement new processes to reduce customer contact, eliminate waiting room traffic and expedite the overall process.  Whether you are a MiCamp client or not, these are good strategies.  [Please note this post is not intended to be a sales pitch platform.  But when we have relationships with good companies our clients typically want to know about them.  So  if your current provider doesn’t offer these options, consider MiCamp a professional and reputable referral.  Additionally their rates are unbeatable and they would be happy to give you a comparison to see if they can save you some money in addition to improving your processes.]

Texas Practice Reopen Survey Results – Tuesday, May 5, 2020 9:45AM

Yesterday, Edwards & Associates issued a short survey to our Texas clients asking about staffing during this reopening period following Covid-19 closures. Below is a link to the real time results. If you own/operate a Texas practice and you would like to take the survey, please follow the appropriate link below. To those of you who took/will take time to respond, thank you!

Click here for RESULTS of the survey.

Click here to TAKE THE SURVEY.

Hygienist Concerns – Thursday, April 30, 2020 1:45PM

The news of the day is that while many practices are working toward reopening in the near future, the hygienist community is pushing back amidst virus fears.  We’re hearing that the hygiene association is meeting today with the likely goal of extending their return date.  While searching the internet to try to confirm that fact, a much more useful article surfaced.  The article linked below from the Practice Whisperer contains calm, reasonable analysis.  Maybe it will be of some help to you. Here is an excerpt:

“What we must do during such an uncertain period is to step back and understand / weigh the competing risks, then forge a path forward.  Seems to me there are three “health risks” we must assess and balance:

  1. Dental Health of our patients and the community we serve (our oath as providers) 
  2. Team Health (our oath to each other)
  3. Office Health (source of our jobs)

You can think of these things like the heart, brain, and lungs of our professional life.  When all 3 are healthy and in alignment, life is good.  When one is suffering, the whole body suffers.  If one dies, they all die.  And this is the part we need to remember, it does not matter how healthy you keep two of the parts if you let one part die, all 3 die.

So, let’s suspend a focus on either the hygienist or the dentist, and instead look at each part of the overall system we are all part of.”

Read the full article here.  https://practicewhisper.com/hygienists-vs-dentists-take-a-step-back-instead/

TSBDE Covid 19 guidance – Wednesday, April 29, 2020 12:06PM

TSBDE GUIDANCE FOR MINIMIZING RISK OF COVID-19 TRANSMISSION

Last Updated 4/28/2020

Governor Abbott’s Executive Order (GA-19): Beginning at 12:01 a.m. on May 1, 2020, all licensed health care professionals shall be limited in their practice by, and must comply with, any emergency rules promulgated by their respective licensing agencies dictating minimum standards for safe practice during the COVID- 19 disaster.  See full release here: http://tsbde.texas.gov/78i8ljhbj/TSBDE-Guidance-OPEN-TEXAS-COVID-19-4.28.20.pdf