22 Apr IDA President Statement on Dental Offices Re-Opening
April 22, 2020
As many of you know, on Monday, Governor Holcomb issued Executive Order 20-22 to help restore health care services, effectively manage state government, and extend the “stay at home” order for nonessential travel. While this is excellent news for many of our members, it’s important to note that the order may be revisited every seven days and that the governor may require nonessential medical services, dental offices, and other facilities to close again if our state’s COVID-19 cases and mortalities continue to increase. In addition, if the hospitals’ supply of PPE dwindles due to these re-openings, the governor would be within his authority to reorder the closures.
Here at the IDA, we have been working to provide you with accurate and timely information. Just yesterday, the IDA issued a press briefing on the order while also publishing the COVID-19 Task Force Recommended Guidelines. This document—the result of a conjoined effort by all the members of the Task Force—hopes to:
- Ease the transition back into practice
- Provide a collection of resources on recommended PPE
- Give examples of effective office policies to protect your patients and staff
I say ‘patients and staff’ to reemphasize that your employees are also an essential piece of the dental team. As you make plans to reopen your offices, I’d ask that you communicate regularly and hear them out about any safety concerns they might have. During this time of uncertainty, the importance of working as a dental team cannot be understated: Your leadership is needed now, more than ever. Visit this page if you would like more information on managing employee expectations or how to encourage staff to return to the practice. You can also visit the patient safety page for tips and reminders on social distancing in the dental offices and removing potential sources of infection.
The three mains takeaways are this:
- While the governor will allow dental practices to reopen on Monday, April 27, you should not return to practice if you do not have a sufficient supply of appropriate (or recommended) PPE.
- The IDA has taken no formal position on whether your dental practice should reopen on Monday, April 27. Our obligation is to provide you with the information needed to make that decision: You are the leader of the dental team.
- If you choose to reopen your practice immediately (and with sufficient PPE), remember that informed consent between yourself, your patients, and your staff is more than a form or a signature. It is an ever-evolving discussion with one goal in mind: Delivering safe dental care to Hoosiers.
I will keep each of you in my thoughts as we make the long trek to Monday. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to reach out—we will get through this together.
Dr. Steve Ellinwood