COVID-19 RESOURCES

With the global outbreak of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), the AAP has been diligently monitoring information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), World Health Organization (WHO), the American Dental Association (ADA), and state and local agencies, and will continue to share relevant news with the membership as expeditiously as possible.

The AAP recommends that periodontists refer to all appropriate state and federal recommendations and mandates and should regularly consult state dental boards or other regulating agencies for information and rules specific to their jurisdictions.

The CDC has provided guidance specifically for dental professionals, interim infection prevention and control guidance for dental settings, and a framework for healthcare systems providing non-COVID-19 clinical care.

Continue to use evidence-based decision making in your practice to ensure your staff, your patients, and you remain healthy. Members are encouraged to visit the WHO's rolling updates page and the CDC’s COVID-19 page for the most up-to-date global and national information regarding the virus. The ADA also has a robust coronavirus resource center with on-demand webinars, return to work toolkit, and practice resources.

AAP COVID-19 Webinar Recordings

Click here to view the AAP's upcoming and pre-recorded COVID-19 webinars. Please note pre-recorded webinars are only accessible by AAP members.

For an up-to-date view on Congressional legislation related to coronavirus relief, please visit www.congress.gov. Links to recent legislation can be found below:

 

ADA Return to Work Toolkit
The American Dental Association (ADA) released a Return to Work Interim Guidance toolkit to help dental professionals during the transition back to practice.

COVID-19 Informed Consent Forms
The AAP recently developed customizable informed consent forms for members to use when returning to practice. The Assumption of Risk, Release, and Waiver of Liability Agreement (the “Agreement”) and the accompanying Explanation of Purpose (“Explanation”) are provided for informational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice to our members or their patients. Furthermore, the American Academy of Periodontology makes no guarantees of, and assumes no responsibility for, the accuracy, efficacy, or timeliness of the Agreement or the Explanation. Law varies by jurisdiction, and while the Agreement and Explanation are intended to provide generic templates, they may not be legally compliant or enforceable in your jurisdiction. You are encouraged to consult with legal counsel prior to any use of the Agreement or Explanation. The forms should not be a substitute for taking all reasonable precautions to limit the spread of COVID-19 in your office or clinic. Members must review the disclaimer in advance of use.

 

According to the CDC, COVID-19 is spread person-to person through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. All healthcare facilities are urged to take necessary steps to prepare their practices for COVID-19. The WHO has also created a comprehensive COVID-19 Risk Communication Package For Healthcare Facilities.

Visit the ADA’s Coronavirus Center for Dentists for the latest updates and COVID-19 Resources for Dentists for information on small business interruption loans, renegotiating contracts, contract obligations, COVID-19 safety and clinical resources, coding guidance, guidance on continuing to practice ethically during COVID-19, an extensive FAQ, and more.

Steps from the CDC to protect your workforce:

  • Screen patients and visitors for symptoms of acute respiratory illness (e.g., fever, cough, difficulty breathing) before entering your healthcare facility. Keep up to date on the recommendations for preventing spread of COVID-19 on CDC’s website.
  • Ensure proper use of personal protection equipment (PPE). Healthcare personnel who come in close contact with confirmed or possible patients with COVID-19 should wear the appropriate personal protective equipment.
  • Conduct an inventory of available PPE. Consider conducting an inventory of available PPE supplies. Explore strategies to optimize PPE supplies.
  • Encourage sick employees to stay home. Personnel who develop respiratory symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath) should be instructed not to report to work. Ensure that your sick leave policies are flexible and consistent with public health guidance and that employees are aware of these policies.

Steps from the CDC to protect your patients:

  • Separate patients with respiratory symptoms so they are not waiting among other patients seeking care. Identify a separate, well-ventilated space that allows waiting patients and visitors to be separated.
  • Consider the strategies to prevent patients who can be cared for at home from coming to your facility potentially exposing themselves or others to germs, like:
    • Using your telephone system to deliver messages to incoming callers about when to seek medical care at your facility, when to seek emergency care, and where to go for information about caring for a person with COVID at home.
    • Adjusting your hours of operation to include telephone triage and follow-up of patients during a community outbreak.
    • Leveraging telemedicine technologies and self-assessment tools.
  • Communicate with your patients and provide updates about changes to your policies regarding appointments, providing non-urgent patient care by telephone, and visitors. Consider using your facility’s website or social media pages to share updates.

Below are some additional helpful resources for members in private practice.

 

Several carriers are offering financial assistance and programs for providers.

CDT Codes
Two new CDT codes for COVID-19 testing are currently being developed and will be available soon. See the ADA’s COVID-19 Coding and Billing Interim Guidance and Statement on Reimbursement for PPE for more information.

CPT Codes
New Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) codes have been created and revised to accommodate COVID-19 related testing. The AMA has provided special coding guidance, a Fact Sheet for Reporting COVID-19 Laboratory Testing, and a flowchart for reporting COVID-19 testing to provide guidance on these new codes, which are all effective as of April 10, 2020.

ICD-10-CM Code
The CDC has developed an ICD-10-CM code for COVID-19, effective April 1. See ICD-10-CM Official Coding and Reporting Guidelines for more information.

Teledentistry Codes
For practices utilizing teledentistry services, two CDT codes can be used:

  • D9995 – teledentistry – synchronous; real-time encounter
    Reported in addition to other procedures (e.g., diagnostic) delivered to the patient on the date of service.
  • D9996 – teledentistry – asynchronous; information stored and forwarded to dentist for subsequent review
    Reported in addition to other procedures (e.g., diagnostic) delivered to the patient on the date of service.

Note that these procedure codes are in the adjunctive area in the code set and may not be a covered benefit in some dental plans.

The ADA has more information about coding for teledentistry during the COVID-19 pandemic. Contact the AAP’s third party specialist, Pam Throw, at (312) 573-3241 or pamela@perio.org, for further assistance.

 

Look to your state dental society for recommendations specific to your area.

For the most current information specific to your state, visit the CDC’s State & Territorial Health Department Websites, consult the Directory of Local Health Departments or contact your local dental association, state dental board, or local government office.

 

 

Misinformation about COVID-19 is spreading rapidly, and patients may look to you for guidance during this time. The CDC has developed a number of free communication resources that include handouts, factsheets, posters, and videos to provide to staff and patients. You can also direct them to the CDC’s FAQ Page for more detailed information.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, patients should be advised to practice the following habits:

  • Wash your hands frequently
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash
  • If possible, keep a distance of three feet between yourself and someone who is coughing, sneezing or has a fever.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
  • Stay home when you are sick
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe
  • Phone ahead and inform the health center when you will visit if you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing.
     

 

The Academy is closely monitoring the current situation of COVID-19 via the CDC and WHO. The AAP currently plans to move forward with the 106th Annual Meeting in Honolulu. Visit our Annual Meeting website for more information about registration and the current schedule of events.

The Hawaii Tourism Authority has provided helpful information regarding COVID-19: www.hawaiitourismauthority.org/news/alerts/covid-19-novel-coronavirus/

Consult the CDC’s updated travel notices based on the assessment of potential health risks.

Please direct questions about the Annual Meeting to meetingsinfo@perio.org.

 

 

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