The California Dental Association (CDA) has issued a call to action for its members to contact state government and urge action for COVID-19–related assistance.1 The CDA asked members to reach out to lawmakers and the governor's office for financial relief, assistance with the procurement of personal protective equipment (PPE), and the ability to test all patients for COVID-19 once rapid-testing technology becomes available.
The call to action coincided with an update on May 7, 2020, to the California Department of Public Health's guidance on the resuming of deferred and preventive dental care.2
As of May 8, 2020, California became one of 35 states where dental practices are either reopened for elective procedures or deemed essential businesses for nonemergency procedures.3
Of note, the call to action advocates for the ability of dentists to test all patients for COVID-19 prior to the receiving of dental care. The CDA statement reads, "Once reliable rapid testing technology is available, dentists must be able to test all patients for COVID-19 to identify asymptomatic patients who will produce aerosols that can be transmitted to dental staff and other patients while undergoing dental treatments. Dentists must also be able to receive reasonable reimbursement for administering tests."
At the time of publication, California has recorded 64,561 cases of COVID-19 and 2,678 COVID-19–related deaths.4 The case count represents 4.9% of the total in the US, while the death total represents 3.4%.4
The CDA's financial assistance request asks for the "[r]equiring or providing incentives for dental plans and insurers to support the dental provider networks by offering supplemental financial assistance or stabilization grants to their network providers" and the funding of Medi-Cal, California's Medicaid health-care program.
- Call to action: Dentists need PPE and relief now. California Dental Association. Published May 7, 2019. Accessed May 10, 2020. https://www.cda.org/Home/News-and-Events/Newsroom/Article-Details/cda-call-to-action-dentists-need-ppe-and-relief-now
- Guidance for Resuming Deferred and Preventive Dental Care. State of California—Health and Human Services AgencyCalifornia Department of Public Health. Published May 7, 2020. Accessed May 10, 2020. https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/Pages/Guidance-for-Resuming-Deferred-and-Preventive-Dental-Care--.aspx
- American Dental Association Center for Professional Success. COVID-19 State Mandates and Recommendations. Updated May 8, 2020. Accessed May 10, 2020. https://success.ada.org/en/practice-management/patients/covid-19-state-mandates-and-recommendations
- Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). Cases in the U.S. Updated May 10, 2020. Accessed May 10, 2020. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/cases-updates/cases-in-us.html
Zachary Kulsrud is the group editorial director for Endeavor Business Media's dental group, publishers of Dental Economics, DentistryIQ, Perio-Implant Advisory, and RDH magazine.
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Editor's note: To view DentistryIQ's full coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic, including original news articles, video interviews, and downloadable forms, visit the DentistryIQ COVID-19 Resource Center.