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Dentists should beware of emails and offers marketing COVID-19 testing

December 08, 2020 1873

Quick Summary:

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not yet granted Emergency Use Authorization to any COVID-19 rapid test for asymptomatic individuals ― the type of COVID-19 test that dentists may eventually be able to administer to patients and staff in the dental setting.

Advertisements and emails that promote rapid and reliable COVID-19 tests are landing more frequently in dentists’ inboxes as the pandemic stretches on, with positive cases and hospitalizations spiking again across much of the U.S. and residents in California facing increasing restrictions on their daily activities.

CDA has learned that dentists have not only received offers for rapid-test products but also for services that, for example, make claims to help dental practices implement successful billing strategies for in-office testing.

For now, dentists should ignore the emails and other outreach selling COVID-19 testing kits and services.

COVID-19 testing in dental office not yet permitted

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not yet granted Emergency Use Authorization to any COVID-19 rapid test for asymptomatic individuals ― the type of COVID-19 test that dentists may eventually be able to administer to patients and staff in the dental setting.

In California, COVID-19 testing is within the scope of practice for dentists when used for screening for COVID-19 rather than providing a formal COVID-19 diagnosis. This means that once dental offices have obtained the appropriate lab licensure, dentists can incorporate rapid COVID-19 testing as part of their patient screening process in order to determine whether the patient is able to safely undergo dental treatment.

However, current state law prohibits dentists from obtaining the requisite lab licensure to perform and process rapid COVID-19 tests in the dental office. CDA is working with the governor’s office, state Legislature and the California Department of Public Health to allow dentists to obtain the licensure required to administer COVID-19 rapid tests once the tests are FDA-approved and on the market. 

CDA COVID-19 Laboratory Testing Toolkit

CDA’s Clinical Care Workgroup on Nov. 24 released the CDA COVID-19 Laboratory Testing Toolkit to prepare dentists once they are eligible to apply for laboratory licensure and also to help dentists determine whether administering rapid COVID-19 tests will be appropriate for their dental practice. 

The toolkit includes easy click-through sections on applying for laboratory testing licensure, testing technology, reporting requirements, billing and reimbursement and regulatory compliance. The resource will be updated regularly to reflect the status of current CDA advocacy efforts on licensure and as more becomes known about general testing technology that is appropriate for both dental settings and asymptomatic individuals.