COVID-19 UPDATE AND RESOURCE CENTER

If you are a patient looking for information, please visit our Patient Resource Page.
As events rapidly develop, the NMDA ​is working to provide you the latest updates and resources for dentists on this page. The New Mexico Dental Association continues to be in touch with the American Dental Association, our Board of Trustees, our members, the public we serve, the state board,  and other stakeholders on how we move forward: safely, financially and legislatively.   We remain dedicated, vigilant and stand ready to provide the best information in the timeliest fashion.

DISCLAIMER:  The content contained herein is informational only and should NOT be construed as legal, professional, financial, tax, insurance, or business advice.

NEWS UPDATES AND PRACTICE INFORMATION

NMDA COVID-19 Q&A Town Hall

If you missed the 3/31 NMDA COVID-19 Q&A Town Hall with Executive Director Tom Schripsema, President Jennifer Thompson and ADA Trustee Brett Kessler, you can watch it on demand HERE. The panel discussed COVID-19 activities in the state, as well as what resources may be available for dentists and practices.  

ADA "What Constitutes a Dental Emergency" (updated 3/31/20)

The ADA has released revised guidelines on what constitutes a dental emergency.  You can read that HERE.
New Mexico Department of Health Compliance Reports  3/26/20
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." 

DOH Orders Affect Dental Offices 3/25

On 3/25, two new orders came from the Department of Health that very directly impact dental offices.  
The first provides more specific directions about the kinds of services dental offices may perform and creates a penalty for not complying.  Although there are provisions of this bill that require actions by dental offices, at this point dental offices should continue to treat urgent and emergent problems while taking appropriate precautions.  The order clarifies that treatment that cannot be postponed for three months without serious health or dental consequences should be treated, but all other treatment should be delayed until the restrictions are lifted.  (The current order expires on April 10).    CLICK HERE to read the order.

The second order requires offices to inventory certain types of PPE’s and report that to the Department of Health.  CLICK HERE to read the order.

The NMDA is in touch with the Governors office seeking clarification on each order and how to move forward.

Governor Issues Restrictions Including Dental Care 3/23

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. 

New Mexico Board of Dental Health Care Issues Advisory
The New Mexico Board of Dental Health Care has issued an advisory message, CLICK HERE to read.

Considerations for Treatment

We know that making decisions for your practice in these trying times is difficult.  We are doing our best to identify information and resources that will be helpful.  We’ve had many questions about what treatment can or cannot be done.  This video is an excellent discussion of how to approach these questions.  Watch the video HERE.  Here are also some considerations:

Dentists have two really important roles to play.  First, we need to use our dental expertise to keep people out of the medical system.  That means taking care of urgent and emergent problems while taking the extra precautions necessary.  Second, our patients and the public need to hear from us in words and action that they need to stay home.  Isolation is the only method of addressing this pandemic and we need to do our part to get it over with as soon as we can.  The health of our economy and our society depend on it.
  1. When determining whether to see a patient as an emergency, ask yourself a few questions:
    1. Could this condition end up in an emergency room after-hours if nothing is done?
    2. If this procedure was delayed 2-3 weeks would it likely cause further problems?
    3. Could I manage this problem for a period of time without direct contact with the patient?
    4. Do I have the necessary PPE’s for myself and staff to safely manage this problem?
    5. Which risk is greater for the patient: contracting the virus by interaction with others or exacerbating a health condition which makes that patient more vulnerable to serious COVID-19 complications?
  2. Current OSHA guidelines treat the risk of COVID-19 spread from any individual the same as that for active Tuberculosis.  If a procedure will produce infectious aerosols you should probably follow enhanced protocols including the use of N95 respirators and negative pressure rooms.  You must either take recommended steps to avoid or eliminate aerosols, use appropriate protective protocols for the aerosol environment or refer to somewhere that can.
  3. Insurers have been encouraged to, and many will accept, the use of DO140 Limited examination for remote encounters during this crisis (more on coding remote visits).  You can help patients manage their problems by gathering as much data as possible remotely and relying on your records to offer good advice for self-management or pharmacological solutions.
  4. Screen patients for active disease over the phone before having a patient come to the office.  An evaluation tool is available on the NMDA website.
NMDA Issues COVID-19 Recommendations
Please read these recommendations, issued March 16, on our home page.

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.  

Best Practices with COVID-19
On March 20, 2020, the American Dental Association (ADA) teamed up with leading infection control experts from the Organization for Safety, Asepsis, and Prevention (OSAP) to provide the dental community with practical guidance and education as we navigate the challenges COVID-19 is presenting to our profession.  The complete webinar is available to watch and earn 1 free CE credit. You will also find short clips from the discussion for quick answers to your questions. PLEASE CLICK HERE to go to the seminar and resource page. 

ADA Coding and Billing Interim Guidance (3/31/20)
The ADA has developed evolving guidance for coding and billing which will be updated as more information becomes available.  CLICK HERE to read. 

Screening and Referrals
One aspect to providing any care during these outbreak is providing appropriate screening and referrals. Here is a tool that has been prepared for various sources to aid you.  CLICK HERE

Ethics Guidelines
While there are many steps to follow in order to be able to ethically continue to see patients during the Covid-19 pandemic, these principles of autonomy, nonmaleficence, beneficence, justice and veracity are necessary always. HERE to read the ADA's guidelines.

Notifying Patients of Practice Restrictions

As practices begin to restrict the scope of care they will provide it is important to communicate the reasons to patients appropriately and not fuel fears about the virus or the delivery of dental care.  Here are some communications templates that have been shared with us.
 

FINANCIAL AND INSURANCE RESOURCES

"Withstanding the Financial Implications of COVID-19" Town Hall
The NMDA held a special financial town hall  Dan Wicker, CPA, and Partner at Cain Watters & Associates.  He shared the CWA Advisory Board’s collective thoughts on maintaining cash flow, the implications on your personal finances,  preparing your practice and staff for closure, and what recently passed legislation means to you.  You can watch this presentation on demand by CLICKING HERE.  

Below is a series of PDFs answering questions on financial and practice issues:

ADA ADCPA SBA Loan Information Update 4/1/20

CARES Act Small Business Interruption Loans

Financial Obligations to Staff during COVID-19

Vendor Payment Disputes and Access to Stored Patient Data

Renegotiating Payment Terms on Existing Contracts

Contract Obligations during COVID-19 and “Force Majeure”

The Small Business Owner’s Guide to the CARES Act

ADA Summary document on COVID-19 relief loans

Financial Considerations for Practices
Restricting patient care will have a major financial impact on dentists and their staffs.  We have prepared a FAQ page to assist with decision making and available resources, CLICK HERE.

New Mexico Economic Development Department Resources
NMEDD has put together a resource page for businesses impacted by COVID-19.  Please CLICK HERE to visit the page.
 
Insurance Coverage
The New York State Dental Association shared some tips on business insurance coverage issues.  Read the PDF HERE.

SBA Loan Assistance

The Small Business Administration (SBA) has disaster loan assistance programs available for most counties in New Mexico (CLICK HERE). 

Financial Assistance for New Mexico Businesses
We have been in touch with the governors office to emphasize the importance of dental care in fighting the epidemic and supporting dentists during practice restrictions.  They have asked us to share the following resource with our members for businesses that been affected by the pandemic.  Please CLICK HERE to visit the states COVID-19 "Jobs and Economy Page." 


ADDITIONAL LINKS

Managing Stress
CDC guidelines on managing stress and anxiety for individuals and families can be found HERE

CDC Resources 

CDC Resources for Clinics and Healthcare Facilities covering, among other issues: An interim guide for healthcare facilities, steps facilities can take, steps to get your practice ready, and return to work criteria for healthcare workers. 

COVID ACT NOW Web Resource
A team of a team of data scientists, engineers, and designers in partnership with epidemiologists, public health officials, and political leaders, created the website COVID ACT NOW to help understand how the COVID-19 pandemic will affect states.  This tool helps visualize what the impact may be for New Mexico, how much pressure will be placed on our hospitals, and how the various means of intervention could play out over time.  To see New Mexico’s outlook, please CLICK HERE.




 

On March 20, 2020, the American Dental Association (ADA) teamed up with leading infection control experts from the Organization for Safety, Asepsis, and Prevention (OSAP) to provide the dental community with practical guidance and education as we navigate the challenges COVID-19 is presenting to our profession.

The complete webinar is available to watch and earn 1 free CE credit. Below, you will also find short clips from the discussion for quick answers to your questions.

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