26 May May 26 IDA President Update
Memorial Day weekend certainly felt different this year. What was once filled with parades, cookouts and fireworks has been replaced with masks, hesitancy and awkward elbow hugs. I can only hope that your return to practice didn’t feel as strange as this. Below are some important updates on the CDC’s recently released guidance and the SBA Paycheck Protection Program—a lot can happen in a week!
CDC Updated Regulations
On May 21, the CDC released updated CDC’s Interim Infection Prevention and Control Guidance for Dental Settings During the COVID-19 Response with additional direction for resuming non-emergency dental care during the COVID-19 pandemic. Topics covered in these recommendations include patient management, PPE optimization strategies, sterilization and disinfection, and work practice controls. In the May 26 ADA “Power of Three” Discussion, President Dr. Chad Gehani indicated that a webinar explaining the updated guidance will be released as soon as possible.
The IDA COVID-19 Task Force has reviewed the new recommendations carefully and believes the CDC has provided valuable guidance for dentists nationwide. That being said, the recommendations are just that: recommendations. Where appropriate, healthcare practitioners should defer to the direction of their public health officials, state law and individual judgement. There is no “one size fits all” recommendation that the CDC (or any higher authority) could draft; when determining what is best for your staff and patients, a practitioner should take all variables into account and provide as safe of a work and treatment environment as is feasible.
Click here to read the updated CDC guidance.
The CDC also has a helpful risk assessment chart for health care professionals who have been exposed to COVID-19. The chart is below, and you can view the original version online by clicking on the image.
Insurance Coverage: PPE
We have had many members call in asking whether insurance companies will be bearing the cost of additional PPE or whether that charge should be passed to the patient. At this time, the IDA has heard of no insurance provider releasing or covering a PPE code but we will continue to update you as the situation progresses.
SBA Paycheck Protection Program Updates
Many IDA members and dentists nationwide enrolled in the Small Business Administration’s “Paycheck Protection Program” at the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The program, hoping to bolster small businesses affected by the crisis, provides potentially forgivable loans to business owners who use the funds for qualified expenses. On May 22, the SBA released updated guidance on fund usage and information about the application for forgiveness. Critical updates include:
- Establishment of an alternative method for determining when the eight-week period starts for businesses with biweekly pay schedules. As of the date of publication, borrowers can elect an alternative payroll covered period, which begins period the first day of the pay period after they received the funds. For more information on this, speak with your loan provider.
- Expansion of the period for when non-payroll costs must be incurred or be paid to qualify for loan forgiveness. Specifically, the costs must be paid or incurred during the period and paid on or before then next regular billing date, even if that date is after the eight weeks. Meaning that expenses incurred during the qualifying period may be paid off using PPP funds after the end of the period.
As your lender will tell you, the importance of keeping detailed records during this time cannot be overstated. While this diligence may be more difficult for providers as you transition back into practice, please remember that billing statements, invoices, payroll records, and several other financial documents may be requested by the SBA during the application for loan forgiveness—a few minutes of document retention now can save you days of headaches later. Congress is expected to debate a few PPP-related bills over the next few weeks, and we will continue to update you as new information becomes available.
Click here to view the updated rule.
As always, we thank you for your membership and hope that is has proven to be a productive asset during this unprecedented time.
Dr. Steve Ellinwood