ACP COVID-19 Resource Center
The ACP is committed to supporting our members in this unprecedented time. We have gathered the below resources from reputable agencies and our fellow dental organizations to aid our members in decision making and planning next steps in response to the current pandemic.
Members can also utilize the ACP Communities to ask questions of fellow members, share their stories, and connect with other prosthodontists having to make difficult decisions.
Quick links: ACP Leadership ∙ Seeing Patients ∙ Office Staff ∙ Connecting Virtually ∙ Federal Response ∙ Informative Resources
Last updated: March 26, 2020
From ACP Leadership
"We understand that you may be experiencing stress given the rapidly changing information and status of the coronavirus (COVID-19) both in the U.S. and abroad. We want you to know we are monitoring the situation closely, keeping those affected in our hearts, and are listening carefully to your questions and concerns," said ACP President Dr. Stephen I. Hudis. You can read his full letter to ACP membership here.
The ACP has also been proactively advocating for our members and other dental professionals.
We joined a broad coalition of dental organizations in supporting this letter to the Department of Labor, requesting that dental practices of fewer than 50 employees be granted an exemption to certain conditions outlined in HR 6201, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), as certain provisions could result in significant financial challenges for private practitioners. You can learn more about the letter here, and the FFCRA here.
We will continue to advocate for our members and the specialty through this pandemic and beyond.
The American Dental Association (ADA) has recommended that all dental professionals postpone elective procedures till at least the beginning of April. The ADA instead urges dental care providers to focus on emergency patients who might otherwise visit the ER.
Elective vs. Non-Elective Procedures
To help determine if a procedure is elective, the ADA put together this informative document: What Constitutes a Dental Emergency? (PDF)
If a patient does need immediate treatment, the ADA recommends taking the following steps:
- Ask patients to arrive on time for their appointments, rather than too early, since that will minimize the amount of time they spend in your waiting room or reception area.
- Remove magazines, reading materials, toys and other objects that may be touched by others and which are not easily disinfected.
- Schedule appointments to minimize possible contact with other patients in the waiting room.
- Include temperature readings as part of your routine assessment of the patient prior to performing dental procedures.
- Use a rubber dam whenever possible to decrease possible exposure to infectious agents.
- Use high speed evacuation for all dental procedures producing an aerosol.
- Autoclave your handpieces after each patient. Have your patient rinse with 1% hydrogen peroxide before each appointment. Coronavirus is vulnerable to oxidation; this will reduce the salivary load of oral microbes.
Many ACP members own their own practices and/or are in charge of a staff.
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) requires private sector employers with fewer than 500 employees* and certain public sector employers to provide their employees with paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave for specified reasons related to COVID-19. These provisions will apply from April 1, 2020 through December 31, 2020.
*There might be some exceptions made for employers with less than 50 employees if the employer files a hardship exemptions with the Secretary of Labor.
More information, including the mandatory posting, can be found at the Department of Labor’s webpage on COVID-19.
The ACP recommends that business owners consult with their legal and/or human resources specialists for more detailed information regarding their specific situation.
The National Law Review has written a digestible overview of the FFCRA that is available here.
Additionally, here are some Frequently Asked Questions and Answers from the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM):
Would I need to pay workers’ compensation for employees who contract coronavirus?
Perhaps, if the employees contracted the disease in the course of their employment.
Does the employees’ work require them to be exposed to persons who are infected?
Typically, health care workers fall into this category. If an employee incidentally contracts the disease from a co-worker, there likely will be no workers’ compensation liability. If there is workers’ compensation liability, employers are responsible for covering the costs of reasonable and necessary medical care, temporary total disability benefits, and permanent disability (if any). Employers should engage a competent medical professional on infectious diseases for advice to determine whether the disease is work-related.
Is there an obligation to accommodate employees who do not want to work in public-facing positions due to risk of infection?
There may be an obligation to accommodate such employees if there is some objective evidence that they could potentially be exposed to individuals who may have returned from China—for example, airport employees who deal with travelers from China. Employees should not be disciplined for refusing to work if they believe that there is a risk of infection because making such a complaint may be a protected activity. If the employer can establish that there is no basis for any exposure to the disease, the employee does not have to be paid during the time period the employee refuses to work.
Whether you’re an educator having to adapt lesson plans quickly, or a private practitioner wanting to keep in contact with your staff and patients, there are several programs you can use to connect virtually. The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) gathered this list of resources, all of which have free package options:
- Zoom – This easy, reliable cloud platform can be used for video and audio conferencing, chat and webinars. Host up to 100 participants, have unlimited 1-to-1 meetings and more.
- GoToMeeting – The GoToMeeting Free plan is a great way to get started with quick and easy online meetings. The free plan allows you and your coworkers or friends to collaborate with high-quality screen sharing, webcams, VoIP audio and chat messaging in one session – no download needed.
- UberConference – Chat with up to 10 participants on this rich interface that makes it easy to do things like mute a noisy caller, dial-in and share your screen, use voice intelligence to transcribe your meetings and employ custom hold music.
- Skype – Access easy video meetings with no sign ups or downloads. Generate your free unique link with one click, share it with participants and enjoy effortless meetings with Skype. Have a full set of features at your disposal. Free conference calls, no sign ups, no downloads required.
- Google Hangouts – Connect with your team from anywhere. With easy-to-join video calls, you can meet face-to-face without having to be in the office.
The federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) was recently enacted which includes the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act and the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act. More information is available at the Department of Labor (DOL).
A digestible overview of FFCRA was written by the National Law Review. Here is an excerpt from the article:
Small Business Exemption for School/Child Care Closure-Related Leave
Under the FFCRA, small businesses with fewer than 50 employees may qualify for an exemption from providing paid sick leave and/or expanded family and medical leave due to the closure of a child’s school or place of care due to a public health emergency if doing so would jeopardize the viability of the business. The Department of Labor will further specify the criteria to meet the small business exemption in forthcoming regulations. However, the guidance states that small employers wishing to elect this exemption should document why their business meets the criteria to be set forth by the Department.
The White House, along with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), have issued the following guidelines as part of their '15 Days to Slow the Spread' effort:
- Listen to and follow the directions of your state and local authorities.
- If you feel sick, stay home. Do not go to work. Contact your medical provider.
- If your children are sick, keep them at home. Contact your medical provider.
- If someone in your household has tested positive for the Coronavirus, keep the entire household at home.
- If you are an older American, stay home and away from other people.
- If you are a person with a serious underlying health condition—such as a significant heart or lung problem—stay home and away from other people.
More information is available here. Additionally, the CDC has created this page of Information for Healthcare Professionals.