- EOP: Improving Rural Health and Telehealth Access
- HHS Awards Over $101 Million to Combat the Opioid Crisis
- Research Brief: Rural Areas Have Higher Individual Health Insurance Premiums and Fewer Plan Choices
- 'Like a Horror Movie': A Small Border Hospital Battles the Coronavirus
- Trump Administration Proposes to Expand Telehealth Benefits Permanently for Medicare Beneficiaries Beyond the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency and Advances Access to Care in Rural Areas
- President Trump Signs Executive Order on Improving Rural Health and Telehealth Access
- Using Pharmacists to Provide Care in Rural Areas
- Rural Counties Playing Catch-up with 2020 Census Response
- FCC Extends 2.5 GHz Rural Tribal Priority Window
- HHS Extends Application Deadline for Medicaid Providers and Plans to Reopen Portal to Certain Medicare Providers
- Rural and Community Hospitals – Disappearing Before Our Eyes
- Helping America's "Forgotten Places" Amid a Pandemic
- Study Examines Telehealth, Rural Disparities in Pandemic
- Research Brief: Rural Nurse Practitioners Work with More Autonomy than Urban Nurse Practitioners
- Native Americans Feel Devastated by the Virus Yet Overlooked in the Data
As a reminder, PCOH is partnering with the Northwest PA Tobacco Control Program to offer “Nicotine Dependence Strategies for Oral Health Professionals.” While we prefer you complete the “Every Smoker, Every Time (ESET)” training prior to tomorrow’s live webinar, we understand that you might not have time. You can complete the training after tomorrow’s live webinar if this is an obstacle. Upon successful completion of both parts, Medicaid providers can complete a Tobacco Registry application and submit to DHS to be authorized to bill for tobacco counseling. If you are unable to attend tomorrow’s live webinar, the recording will be available on PCOH’s webinar portal in the coming weeks.
This two-part course is free of charge with 2.0 CEUs available.
The CDC Foundation COVID-19 Corps has posted positions for health care professionals on their website. The available positions in Pennsylvania include: infection preventionist, research associate, contact tracing coordinator, regional coordinator, informatics epidemiologist, and clinical supervisor.
PCOH and the Pennsylvania Department of Health (DOH) have released their newest patient guidance document which has been added to the list of resources from DOH. It is important for all Pennsylvanians with acute dental needs to get proper treatment and feel comfortable doing so.
Campaign for Dental Health released four new fluoridation videos from the trusted voices of pediatricians. The videos are now live on their website and YouTube channel. Preventing unnecessary dental disease is more important now than ever. Please share these videos with providers and the community.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) released “Guidance for Dentistry Workers and Employers” last week. It provides guidance for dentistry workers and employers at increased risk of occupational exposure to COVID-19. Dental offices should look to the Department of Health’s guidance from March 26th for the current treatment guidelines in PA; though OSHA and CDC recommendations may be a helpful resource for offices once they return to clinical treatment.
The Chief Dental Officer for the U.S. Public Health Service recently released the latest issue of the USPHS Chief Dental Officer Newsletter. This issue has further information on COVID-19 as it relates to dentistry, as well as women’s health and oral health in recognition of National Women’s Health Week next week.
The American Dental Association (ADA) Health Policy Institute has been tracking the economic impact of COVID-19 on dental practices through a bi-weekly panel survey of thousands of dentists in private practice. They are now expanding the data collection to include dentists working in FQHCs, health centers, and public health settings. Survey results are anonymous and published on the Health Polity Institute webpage.
The Pennsylvania Coalition for Oral Health (PCOH) created “Information for Dental Patients During COVID-19.” The resourceful document highlights information that dental patients should be aware of prior, during, and after dental appointments. The list is not intended to be comprehensive and is subject to change. Dental providers should expect questions from patients.
May 8, 2020
The Pennsylvania Department of Health (Department) is revising healthcare community guidance to reflect Governor Wolf’s strategic phased reopening plan, particularly related to performing non-urgent procedures. There is still no data available to assess the risk of COVID-19 transmission during dental procedures; however, there is a better understanding of which procedures have increased risk of transmission and how to utilize Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to reduce the risk. Therefore, the Governor and the Secretary of Health have revised their business closure orders issued on March 19, 2020, as subsequently amended, to remove the prohibition on “elective,” i.e., non-urgent and non-emergent, dental procedures.
All providers licensed by the Pennsylvania State Board of Dentistry should adhere to the following operating protocols state-wide.
Each dental provider should apply their clinical judgment along with their knowledge of the incidences of COVID-19 cases in their area, the needs of their patients and staff, and the availability of necessary supplies to assess whether to re-engage in the provision of non-urgent and non-emergent dental care. For example, if a clinician determines that lack of treatment will result in irreversible damage to a patient, the clinician should pursue treatment with the appropriate level of PPE per Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) and CDC Interim Infection Prevention and Control Guidance for Dental Settings During the COVID-19 Response guidance relative to PPE. Providers should routinely consult the CDC guidance when providing care, noting that recommendations and guidance could change frequently.
Providers may perform non-aerosolizing, non-urgent and non-emergent care only if proper PPE, per OSHA guidance, is available for all dental care practitioners, including dental hygienists. Procedures that create a visible spray that contain large particle droplets of water should not be performed because they are considered aerosol generating; however, as a last resort when clinically necessary, aerosol generating procedures are allowed, only if proper PPE, per OSHA guidance, is available for all dental care practitioners including dental hygienists, since not all patients who have COVID-19 are symptomatic, i.e., they could be asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic. The Department of Health and the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency are not currently prioritizing dental practices for PPE distribution, so proper PPE must be secured by the practice.
If infection control protocols outlined by the CDC and OSHA cannot be followed, the procedure should not be done.
All patients should be screened for symptoms of COVID-19, such as temperature over 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit, cough or other symptoms, before arriving at the practice, social distancing should be maintained while in the practice, and patients should wash or sanitize hands frequently and wear a mask when not undergoing treatment. Tele-dentistry should continue to be employed when possible as patients might be able to be treated virtually with antibiotics and pain medication. Please remember to continue to use proper opioid guidelines in the dental practice, per clinical judgment.
PATIENTS SUSPECTED OF CONFIRMED TO HAVE COVID-19
The Department is aware that many dental practices will not be able meet the stringent infection prevention and control requirements for treating patients suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19. If emergency dental care is medically necessary for a patient who has, or is suspected of having, COVID-19, airborne precautions (an isolation room with negative pressure relative to the surrounding area and use of an N95 filtering disposable respirator for persons entering the room) should be followed. In these cases, dental treatment should be provided in a hospital or other facility that can treat the patient using the appropriate precautions.
- Check the CDC and the Pennsylvania Department of Health websites regularly for updates.
- Visit the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry website for valuable information regarding unemployment compensation for DHCP staff.
- In order to stay up-to-date with this and other public health issues, please sign up for the Pennsylvania Health Alert Network (PA-HAN) at https://han.pa.gov
Access the press release here: Guidance on COVID-19 for Dental Health Care Personnel in Pennsylvania
HRSA has released their health workforce projections for dentists and dental hygienists in the U.S., 2017–2030. These projections inform policy decisions about workforce education, training, and delivery of care. Will there be an increase in the number of dentists in the U.S. by 2030? Will there be a decrease in the demand for full time dental hygienists?