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BREAKING 3/26/20

New Mexico Department of Health Compliance Reports

The Association has prepared two forms to allow dentists to report compliance with the DOH orders.  The first utlilizes the ADA definitions to report what your office will and won’t do to comply with the order. CLICK HERE to fill that form out. The second is for easy reporting of current stocks of PPE. CLICK HERE to report your PPE.  Offices are free to submit their own forms if they wish.  You can complete these forms on your phone, tablet or computer.  They can then be saved and submitted to the Department of Health by CLICKING HERE.  Fill out the required information.  Then, click on the purple "Add File" link to upload your 2 reports. Then hit "Submit." 
BREAKING: 3/23/2020 

State enacts further restrictions to stop spread, including stay-at-home instruction. CLICK HERE TO READ

Governor Lujan-Grisham issued an executive order on March 23 restricting businesses in the state to “essential” services beginning at 8:00 AM on Tuesday, March 24, and will apply at least through April 10. This was accompanied by a DOH order which provided more details.  Dental facilities while providing care for emergencies are consider essential by the order.  Although that is not further defined by the Governor’s order the Board of Dental Health Care will utilize the American Dental Association guidance for both dentists and patients on what constitutes an emergency.  State government has a variety of means to enforce the act including revocation of licenses, citations from law enforcement and civil actions and injunctions.  The Governor called on all New Mexicans to do the right thing on behalf of all citizens.  Businesses that are not on the essential list may not be opened.  Even essential services were called upon to as much as feasible have personnel work from home. 


The NMDA Board adopted these principles based on recommendations of experts in infectious disease and public policy:

NMDA Principles
Regarding COVID-19 and Dental Care

1.    Patient and practitioner safety are our first concern.  We are committed to doing what is in the best interests of the communities we serve.

2.    Universal precautions substantially reduce the risk of transmission of infectious diseases including the virus that causes COVID-19.

3.    There is much we don’t know about COVID-19 transmission and infection and therefore there may be additional protocols that would enhance prevention in the dental setting.  In the meantime, we must and do rely on the best practices possible to make sure the necessary dental care continues to be provided.

4.    The American Dental Association is devoting considerable resources to developing protocols that are responsive to our constantly evolving understanding of COVID-19.  We remain attentive to the expert recommendations regarding the disease and will implement additional protocols when they are recommended and appropriate.

5.    Dental problems continue at the same rate even at this time of pandemic.  When people cannot get relief from their local dentist, they seek relief at hospitals and urgent care centers.  These problems can much more effectively be prevented and treated at dental offices and leave medical resources available to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

6.    There is a shortage of appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) in the face of the pandemic and the New Mexico Dental Association is recommending that offices conserve PPE’s to make them available in adequate quantities to deal with the increasing number of COVID-19 infections.

7.    Any restrictions on the availability of dental care, whether to conserve PPE’s or mitigate transmission, must assure that essential services are generally accessible, and that lack of care doesn’t increase potential vulnerability to coronavirus infection.

8.    The New Mexico Dental Association recommends that dental offices consider the following proactive methods to conserve PPE’s and prevent coronavirus transmission:

      a.    Dentists practicing in New Mexico voluntarily suspend non-essential or non-urgent dental care   for the next 14 days (and then reevaluate at that time). Dentists must continue to be available to their patients as needed for emergency care and services. When treating emergencies please be extremely careful to follow all appropriate recommended infection control measures. Prioritize treatment of emergent and acute conditions when providing patient care.
       b.    Enact office protocols to prevent aerosol transmission including the use of N95 masks, full facial protection, preventing patient-to-patient contact and promote appropriate social distancing between patients and non-clinical staff.
       c.    Limit inventory of PPE to no more than needed to assure availability for essential services for 2 weeks.
       d.    Collaborate with other offices to ensure that vital dental services are available in a proximal and timely way.

9.    The New Mexico Dental Association urges government and public health officials to consider these principles in developing policies and include the dental profession as a willing partner and respected health care authority in combating this pandemic.

The New Mexico Dental Association does not make these recommendations lightly.  We are well aware of the hardship that following these recommendations will cause practices.  We are aware that there will be questions about insurance coverage and other programs to aid dental practices and will make that information available just as soon as we get it.  Please pay attention to your email and consult the ADA and NMDA website for the latest information.   

Additional suggestions:  We also encourage you to refer to these two PDF's from the ADA (CLICK HERE )  and other sources gathered by the NMDA  (CLICK HERE) for additional protocols.  

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