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The following is a transcript of her remarks:
Hello, I’m Dr. Judee Tippett-Whyte, president of the California Dental Association. Welcome to this week’s Leadership Corner. Today, we’ll be highlighting opportunities that offer financial relief to you and your dental team as we all work to overcome economic setbacks caused by the pandemic.
Many dental practice owners may be eligible to apply for the second round of the Paycheck Protection Program, also known as the “PPP second draw” loan.
This round of new loans is targeted specifically to smaller businesses that have been affected by the pandemic and allows both new and returning borrowers to apply if they meet specific criteria. The deadline to apply for the PPP second draw is Wednesday, March 31.
Practice owners may also be able to seek additional relief through the Economic Injury and Disaster loan which has also reopened with new funds intended for businesses hit hardest by the pandemic.
Eligible dentists and dental students now have more time to apply for the Medi-Cal Physicians and Dentists Loan Repayment Program. CalHealthCares recently extended the application deadline giving prospective applicants until Friday, Feb. 26 to apply for a student loan repayment or a practice support grant — both up to $300,000.
The goal of the program is to increase access to care for underserved Californians by encouraging recent graduates to start treating Medi-Cal patients in their dental office.
CDA is also keeping a spotlight on the dental plan industry and is sponsoring a bill aimed at securing financial relief from dental plans for dental practices during future emergencies. Assembly Bill 454 would require health plans to support providers through various means, including grants, increased rates, forgivable no-interest loans or payments for increased costs of mandatory infection control measures.
The COVID-19 pandemic has shown how medical and dental plans can make record profits during a public health emergency by continuing to collect premiums while having far fewer claims to pay as patients receive less care. All the while, provider practices are suffering due to reduced patient volume and significant cost increases for PPE and new infection control procedures.
This bill can help ensure that health plans support their provider networks and share in these costs when we face emergencies like the current pandemic.
The issue of financial relief from dental plans remains a high priority in our advocacy agenda and CDA will be looking for any opportunities to break down these financial barriers and address it during this year’s legislative session, helping our members build bridges of financial security.
As always, we will keep members updated on any new developments through our newsroom. I look forward to bringing you additional updates throughout the year.
Meanwhile, stay healthy, stay safe, be well and look for your opportunity to build a bridge.