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Dental practices have seen a consistent decrease in patient volume over the last two months. Why business has plateuaded after a strong recovery in June and how practice owners can take advantage of this time.
The American Dental Association has released a COVID-19 & Lab Testing Requirements Toolkit to aid dentists who are interested in incorporating rapid point-of-care testing in their practice. To assist members with California-specific requirements, CDA’s Clinical Care Workgroup will release additional POC testing guidance next month.
Dental teams should consider what steps to take if a patient refuses to comply with the practice's increased safety precautions. These recommendations can help practice owners and their teams prepare for difficult conversations and effectively de-escalate tension with uncooperative patients.
Although dental practices in California have suspended routine care to help prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus in accordance with the state directive and CDC recommendation, dentists must either remain available to patients of record who require emergency dental treatment or have arranged coverage for emergencies with another dentist.
Gov. Gavin Newsom signed legislation that revises language in the written informed consent form that dentists must provide to patients prior to administering general anesthesia and deep or moderate sedation. Although the new law does not impact the practice of dentistry, dentists should ensure that beginning Jan. 1, 2020, they are using a consent form that is compliant with the new law.
A dentist who writes controlled substance prescriptions can now review CURES (Controlled Substance Utilization Review and Evaluation System) for patients for whom the dentist is listed as a prescriber. This ability to review the list is useful when a dentist has misplaced a prescription pad or has had a prescription pad stolen or when a dentist suspects someone is misusing their DEA number.
CDA members are typically unfamiliar with the peer review process unless they have gone through it themselves or have served on a local peer review committee. Even those who are aware of peer review might not know that the program was recently enhanced to include informal mediation. The purpose of the peer review program is to resolve disputes between patients and dentists, focusing on disputes about the quality or appropriateness of dental treatment.
The August issue of the Journal of the California Dental Association reviews the persistent problem of dental anxiety in dentistry. Articles discuss ways to communicate effectively with fearful patients, the use of virtual reality exposure therapy in treating dental anxiety, and the assessment, diagnosis and management of dental phobia in children and adults.
The July issue of the Journal of the California Dental Association highlights the importance of dental practice safety and risk management. Articles discuss the legal ramifications of practicing unsafe dentistry, the proper choice and use of emergency medications and the use of checklists to improve patient safety.