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COVID-19 in the News: What You Should Know


Dental Offices Now Allowed to be Open

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ADA Return to Work Interim Toolkit

MDA Addendum to the Interim Toolkit

CDC Guidelines for Dental Settings

LARA Guidance for Dental Offices

OSHA Guidelines for Dentists

 


This page updates when new information becomes available.

Michigan News   MDA News

ADA Resources   Dental Supplies

Financial Relief   Unemployment/Staffing

Practice Management   Webinars

Insurance   COVID-19 Information

 

A Special Note to Non-Member Dentists
For a limited time, to better assist the entire Michigan dental community and serve the public, the MDA has made this important COVID-19 information available to non-members and dental teams as well as MDA-member dentists. Soon, we'll be limiting this information to member dentists and their staff members. Navigating this crisis takes expert guidance, collective action and you. We’re stronger together.

Join Our Dental Team

 

MICHIGAN NEWS

Increased Availability of COVID-19 Testing | Executive Order 2020-103
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer issued Executive Order 2020-104 to expand the availability of COVID-19 testing. Under this executive order, anyone who leaves home for work, or has symptoms of COVID-19 (even mild symptoms), may receive a test at a community testing location without securing a doctor’s order in advance. For a list of testing locations, visit www.michigan.gov/coronavirustest or call the Michigan coronavirus hotline at 1-888-535-6136.

Dentists who are screening patients by phone or at the office may wish to encourage patients with symptoms or potential exposure to the nearest screening site. In addition, staff who have been working outside the home for 10 days are also eligible for testing. However, it has been reported that individuals who are eligible for screening may be turned away if there is a shortage of tests at the site. If you are experiencing a problem contact your local health department.

Workplace Safety | Executive Order 2020-97
All reopened outpatient health-care facilities, including dental offices, must adopt strict protocols to prevent infection. The Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) has developed a guidance for dental offices to aid those facilities in adopting appropriate safeguards. At this time the MDA recommends following the guidance provided in the ADA Return to Work Toolkit and the MDA Addendum to the ADA Toolkit. The governor also amended Michigan’s Stay at Home order to allow individuals to leave their homes to obtain medical and dental care.

CE Requirements Remain in Effect During Pandemic
All licensed dental staff should be aware that Michigan’s mandatory dental continuing education requirements remain in place despite the pandemic and cancellation of many in-person CE courses.

Beware of Scams
Attorney General Dana Nessel is warning everyone to be wary of scammers on social media and email asking for donations to help virus victims, offering vaccinations, or claiming they are from the CDC.

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MDA NEWS

MDA Office Closed but Association Remains in Business
MDA headquarters in Okemos will remain closed with staff members working remotely. The association remains in business, but the main MDA switchboard is closed. You can still reach individual staff members by email or by telephone. A list of staff phone numbers and email addresses appears on page 5 of your March MDA Journal and links to staff extensions appear below.

If you do not know where to direct your question, submit a question and it will be routed to the correct staff member.

Ask a Question

MDA Annual Session Rescheduled for September
The 2020 MDA Annual Session has been rescheduled for Sept. 2-4, with a full-day pres-session course on Tuesday, Sept. 1. Everyone currently registered has been emailed instructions on how to transfer registrations or cancel for a full refund. The MDA appreciates your patience while staff works through the process.

2020 Mission of Mercy Postponed
A rescheduled date for the 2020 Michigan Mission of Mercy program has not been determined. The MDA Foundation will share additional information and updates as they become available. Contact the MDA Foundation at 800-589-2632 with questions or visit the MDA Foundation website.

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ADA RESOURCES

Hazard Assessment and Checklist Available
The Hazard Assessment and Checklist will help you implement COVID-19 assessments in your office as you return to practice. The new document is a companion to the ADA Return to Work Interim Guidance Toolkit — both are available on the ADA Coronavirus (COVID-19) Center.

Additional COVID-19 Resources
The ADA website contains extensive information helpful to you during the COVID-19 outbreak. Information is constantly updated and includes practice information, a letter to patients, COVID-19 coding and billing guidance, COVID-19 and ethics, contract information, webinars, and more.

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DENTAL SUPPLIES

Can You Charge for PPE Expenses?
Many members have questions about charging for the added costs of PPE. Here’s what you need to know:

  • If your office is fee-for-service and does not take insurance, you can charge all your patients a fee for PPE if you wish.
  • You may also charge for PPE for any patient who has no insurance and is fee-for-service.
  • You may charge for PPE for patients who have insurance through a plan with which you do not contract.
  • If you are a Delta, Healthy Kids, or Medicaid provider, you cannot charge Delta, Healthy Kids, or Medicaid patients a fee for PPE.
  • For all other patients with insurance, check with the dental plan provider to determine if a PPE fee is allowed.

In response to the extraordinary circumstances dentists and their patients face due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the skyrocketing cost of infection control procedures, the American Dental Association has issued a COVID-19 Coding and Billing Interim Guidance: PPE, available for download from the ADA website.

If your situation allows you to charge for PPE, the ADA recommends using code D1999. If you do decide to charge your patients a PPE fee, be sure to explain to them the reasoning for your charge. If you have additional questions regarding charging for PPE, contact the MDA’s Josh Kluzak.

N95 Decontamination Service Available
The federal government has set up an N95 decontamination unit (Battelle Critical Care Decontamination System) at the TCF Center, formerly Cobo Hall, to serve Michigan health care providers, including dentists. Upon entering into an agreement with Battelle, health care facilities can ship their contaminated N95 masks to the facility and the Battelle system will decontaminate the masks and return them. There is no cost to use this service. To utilize the service, dental offices will need to enroll and sign a contract with Battelle. According to Battelle, most N95 masks can be decontaminated up to 20 times.

HOW TO UTILIZE THE DECONTAMINATION SERVICE >>

Dental PPE Shortage Affecting Everyone
The Michigan Dental Association understands the concern for getting the necessary PPE. The shortage of PPE, specifically N-95 masks and CDC-accepted alternatives to that product, is being experienced everywhere and is expected to be in limited supply for some time to come. New domestic manufacturing is being dedicated nearly exclusively to hospitals, first responders, and nursing homes. Very little — if any — FDA/CDC authorized product is allocated for dental.

The Dentists Supply Company, the MDA's recommended source of dental supplies for members, has been vetting every N-95 offer it receives and has not yet found one that is providing an approved product. It would be irresponsible to sell a product that has not undergone the appropriate testing and gained approval by authorities to serve the purpose for which it is intended. Industry sources have confirmed that the major dental suppliers also are out of N-95 with little prospect of obtaining them soon, and that Level 3 masks are also becoming unavailable.

There is no short-term solution to this problem. The MDA advises you to be very cautious of ads for N-95s that may hit your inbox. More than one member has reported purchasing such products and found they are "junk."

Optimization of Personal Protective Equipment
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services guidance on how to optimize personal protective equipment during crisis capacity. These are strategies that can be utilized by health care workers to optimize use of PPE during periods of known shortages. They should only be used when there is limited supply that has exceeded the ability to provide conventional standards.


FINANCIAL RELIEF

Financial Relief Resources for Dental Offices
The MDA and ADA are working with government officials and other interest groups to help provide financial relief to dental practice owners impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Below is a list of current and potential financial relief programs. This list will be updated as things develop.

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UNEMPLOYMENT/STAFFING

Clarification Received from Unemployment Insurance Agency on Unemployment Accounts, Benefits
The MDA has received numerous questions from members whose unemployment accounts are being charged for staff laid off due to the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent office closures. One explanation, according to MIWAM Support, is that COVID-19 was not available as a reason for unemployment on the claimant application in early March when applications began coming in. If you are receiving charges on your unemployment account, this could be why your account is being charged.

NOTE: MIWAM recommends disputing all claims that you do not agree with through your MIWAM account.

According to MIWAM Support: “The claimant must select CoVID-19 as the separation reason in order for your account to not be charged for laid-off employees. Businesses who are temporarily closed due to COVID-19 will be granted relief from charges, and your tax rate will not be increased because of COVID-19-related claims. The employee who filed the claim MUST indicate the reason for separation was for COVID-19 reasons, otherwise your account will be charged. The employee claim will need to be amended to reflect the COVID reason. If you are NOT an affected industry, your account will be charged. Either the employer or the claimant may protest the claim.”

The UIA is assuring that every eligible worker in Michigan who applies for unemployment benefits will receive them.

For additional questions, contact Brandy Ryan, MDA director of human resources.

Employee/Labor Ramifications
The Michigan Department of Labor Unemployment Insurance Agency has issued instruction for temporary business closures providing a waiver for employees who are temporarily laid off. Dentists who close their office temporarily need to contact the Unemployment Insurance Web Account Manager and fill out a waiver so employees can receive benefits and will not have to follow the seeking work requirement.

Unemployment Insurance Agency Filing ScheduleTo help manage the call volume, the UIA has released a filing schedule for workers to file for benefits based on the first letter of their last name. The new schedule applies to both the UIA call center and website. The goal of the new filing schedule is to reduce the backups files have experience the past few weeks.

For other HR-related questions, contact Brandy Ryan at MDA headquarters.

Dental Office Closures for Non‐Essential Services (PPE/Exposure)
The MDA has prepared a frequently asked questions document highlighting the top questions staff has received regarding dental practice closure for non-essential services, personal protective equipment, and exposure.

Download the Dental Office Closure FAQS

Critical Infrastructure Worker
The MDA has prepared a letter/email template for doctors to designate certain staff members as critical infrastructure workers allowing them to enter the office during the shutdown. Doctors should fill out the template and provide the completed letter/email to the appropriate staff members. Instruct staff to keep the letter/email in their possession when traveling to and from work to provide proof of their critical infrastructure worker status.

Download the Template

Families First Coronavirus Response Act
Human resources expert Jodi Schafer, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, has compiled an informative frequently asked questions document detailing the Families First Coronavirus Response Act and how it impacts your dental practice.

Download the FFCRA FAQS

NOTE: Employers need to post the requirements of the FFCRA Act model notice. The model notice must be posted "in a conspicuous place on the employer’s premises." For eligible (covered) employees who are unable to come in to work, employers can email or direct mail the notice to them or post the notice on an employee information internal or external website.

Download the FFCRA Notice

Dental Office Staffing/Unemployment
The MDA has developed a Frequently Asked Questions document addressing how the COVID-19 virus outbreak will affect staffing should their dental office temporarily closure.

MDA Dental Staffing/Unemployment FAQs

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PRACTICE MANAGEMENT

MDA Releases Employee Recall Q&A, Sample Letter
The MDA has released two documents to help dental practice owners reopen their offices. The first is an Employee Recall Q&A, which covers a wide-range of questions you may receive from your staff. The second is a sample Employee Recall Letter, which you can download and customize for your specific needs.

Download the FAQs    Download the Sample Letter

Patient Consent
The MDA has prepared a document containing the answer whether a patient should sign a Consent Form outlining the exposure risks to COVID-19.

Download the Emergency Care FAQs

Teledentistry
A covered health care provider may use audio or video communication to provide telehealth to patients during the COVID-19 nationwide public health emergency, according to the ADA and the federal Office for Civil Rights, which enforces HIPAA, and is exercising enforcement discretion. If you choose to use teledentistry refer to the guidance resources below:

Other Dental Benefit Policies
These are policies of dental benefits companies not related to teledentistry.

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WEBINARS

NEW! Calling Employees Back to Work: Setting the Stage for Success and Responding to Resistance
Recorded May 21, 2020 | Jodi Schafer, SPHR-SHRM-SCP; Dan Schulte, JD
This webinar provides practical guidance for calling team members back to work, including advice on how to handle employees who are unable or unwilling to return, employee safety, and more.  NOTE: CE was granted only for live viewing of the webinar.

View the Webinar

Download Webinar Slides
(Includes all templates mentioned in the webinar.)

Reopening the Doors: The Same Place, yet a New Practice
Recorded May 11, 2020 | Marie T. Fluent, DDS
This webinar presented back to work protocol in alignment with CDC, ADA, and OSHA to protect staff and patients while expanding dental care.  NOTE: CE was granted only for live viewing of the webinar.

View the Webinar

COVID-19 and HIPAA
Recorded April 29, 2020 | Jennifer Cosey, of Eagle Associates
This webinar outlines several aspects of HIPAA compliance impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, including an understanding of the temporary, limited waivers.  NOTE: CE was granted only for live viewing of the webinar.

View the Webinar

Emerging from the Hut: Steps to Take Now to Inspire and Engage with Your Team So that Our Dental Offices Are Energized and Productive When We Finally Re-open!
Recorded April 27, 2020 | Ankur Gupta, DDS
This webinar identifies the steps to take NOW to inspire and engage with your team so that dental offices are energized and productive when they finally re-open.  NOTE: CE was granted only for live viewing of the webinar.

View the Webinar

Coping with the Stress of COVID-19
Recorded April 23,2020 | Kit Welchlin
This webinar helps you recognize and respond effectively to the emotional and psychological impacts this pandemic has had on you, your staff, your patients, and the community.  NOTE: CE was granted only for live viewing of the webinar.

View the Webinar

Webinar: COVID-19 and the Impact on Dentistry
Recorded on April 8, 2020 | Marie Fluent, DDS
This webinar reviews the current state of the pandemic and evidence-based strategies to mitigate transmission in dental health care settings and within the community.  NOTE: CE was granted only for live viewing of the webinar.

View the Webinar

Webinar: Next Steps: Your Practice in Post-COVID-19 Michigan
Recorded April 2, 2020 | Joe DiNicola; Dan Peters, DDS; Ted Schumann II
This webinar help dentists navigate the current pandemic crisis and prepare for a successful transition when it is over.  NOTE: CE was granted only for live viewing of the webinar.

View the Webinar

Webinar: The Practice Management Impact of COVID-19
Recorded March 18, 2020 | Speaker Panel
This webinar addresses insurance, human resources, and insurance questions dentists have about managing the business aspects of their practice during the pandemic. NOTE: CE was granted only for live viewing of the webinar.

View the Webinar

Questions from the Webinar:

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INSURANCE INFORMATION

Pandemics and Insurance Ramifications
In general, it is possible property and casualty insurance policies may not treat pandemics such as the coronavirus as covered perils, while life, health and disability policies may provide some coverage depending on policy provisions and normal claims procedures. MDA Insurance offers current updates and resources regarding insurance and services during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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COVID-19 INFORMATION

Get the facts about the COVID-19 pandemic from reliable resources.

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