Dental News : DSOs, Dental Providers and Insurance

Henry Schein enhances liquidity position with new credit facility totaling $700M

Henry Schein (Melville, NY) has closed on a new credit facility totaling $700 million with JP Morgan Securities LLC and U.S. Bank NA serving as Joint Lead Arrangers. The new facility represents $700 million in committed financing that increases and replaces $200 million in uncommitted financing from the same lenders. The company’s liquidity position now totals $1.7 billion. “The new financing, along with our amended existing facility, increases our financial flexibility at a critical moment in the global economy,” said Steven Paladino, executive vice president and CFO of Henry Schein. “These facilities support our effort to navigate the emerging challenges related to the COVID-19 outbreak while also helping to position Henry Schein for future growth and success.”

Delta Dental of Massachusetts donates $200,000 to support non-profits during COVID-19

Delta Dental of Massachusetts has announced three contributions totaling $200,000 to support Massachusetts non-profits in their response to community needs during the COVID-19 outbreak. The company is contributing $150,000 to The City of Boston’s Resiliency Fund, which is serving residents most impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. It is supporting non-profits that are providing food for children and seniors, technology for remote learning for students, and support to first responders and healthcare workers in the City of Boston.

Delta Dental of Massachusetts is also contributing $25,000 to the Worcester Together COVID-19 Response and Relief Fund. This fund is distributing grants and other resources to organizations across Worcester County to help residents that have been disproportionately impacted by inequities magnified in this pandemic. Finally, Delta Dental of Massachusetts is contributing $25,000 to the COVID-19 Response Fund for the Pioneer Valley. This fund is providing flexible resources to aid residents who are most vulnerable to the virus and most impacted by inequity across the Pioneer Valley.

Delta Dental of Virginia contributes $1M to support Virginia’s dental practices, patients

Delta Dental of Virginia (Roanoke, VA), the state’s largest dental benefits provider, is responding to the COVID-19 crisis with a $1 million contribution to support Virginia’s dental practices and their patients, provide financial assistance for safety net dental clinics, and support local non-profits working to meet needs in their communities. The $1 million, made available through the Delta Dental of Virginia Foundation, includes:

  • $500,000 in grants to support continued operations for 32 dental safety net clinics that are ineligible to receive federal stimulus funds.
  • $250,000 Dental Practice Relief Fund to support practices impacted by COVID-19 closures and that have minimal or no access to alternative funding sources.
  • $200,000 in one-time grants of up to $25,000 to nine non-profits that are working to meet local community needs relating to oral and overall health.
  • $50,000 to provide toothbrushes to families as part of select bagged lunch programs run by school districts and Boys & Girls Clubs.

Patient Prism provides comeback strategy for dentists

Patient Prism offers a free guide for dentists to learn how to prepare for the massive pent-up demand for their services once they are open post-pandemic. Patients and team members will have more concerns than ever about the “new normal” and this roadmap is set to help dentists address questions about safety protocols, staffing, scheduling, financing and treatment acceptance. Learn how to:

  • Prepare your team
  • Set clear expectations
  • Build your schedule
  • Develop additional financing options
  • Communicate with patients
  • Advertise when you are cash-strapped
  • Identify and remove roadblocks
  • Measure results

Dupont Family Dentistry turns to teledentistry during unprecedented times

Dupont Family Dentistry (Fort Wayne, IN) has transitioned to teledentistry during the COVID-19 outbreak. The office stopped all non-emergency services, but the teledentistry option is available to patients that feel they are having a dental emergency. Dr. Dave Diehl wanted to offer a place a patient could turn to, rather than going to an emergency room. The teledentistry visits cost between $30 to $50 depending on needs and is significantly less than a visit to a dentist office for an emergency.

Dental offices donate PPE to hospitals and first responders for Dental Office Challenge

The Dental Office Challenge began last week to get masks and other PPE to hospitals and first responders fighting COVID-19. Organizers of the challenge say there’s no red tape and no delays, equaling immediate help for healthcare frontlines.

“Dental offices are not open now except for emergencies, so they have supplies in their storage that they’re not using right now, and our first responders and our hospitals really need it, so I’m asking that everybody get involved,” Kelly Levy of Belknap Dental Associates told television station WMUR-9. “Call your dental office. Just ask them: have they heard about this challenge? One box can make a big difference.”

Delta Dental of Kentucky designates millions to help support dental providers

A commitment of up to $6 million from Delta Dental of Kentucky (Louisville, KY), along with the Delta Dental of Kentucky Foundation, will provide financial relief to dental practices and nonprofit organizations whose operations are disrupted due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “Our focus right now is on ensuring that our many partners who help Kentuckians have healthy smiles can weather this storm,” said Jude Thompson, president and CEO of Delta Dental of Kentucky. Delta Dental of Kentucky’s new Provider Advance Payment Program makes approximately $5 million available to help supplement Kentucky dental practices that have lost income following Gov. Andy Beshear’s March 18 executive order stopping all non-emergency medical and dental procedures. The Provider Advance Payment Program offers Delta Dental of Kentucky PPO or Premier Network Providers an interest-free advance payment of up to 60% of their 2019 average monthly claims reimbursement from Delta Dental of Kentucky.

U.S. Government and Regulatory News

U.S. Department of Labor data says dentists face the greatest coronavirus risks

The New York Times used U.S. Department of Labor data to report on the workers who face the greatest coronavirus risk and dentists topped the list. National dentist boards updated best practice recommendations for protective equipment, urging dentists to use surgical-grade N95 masks while performing emergency procedures that cannot be rescheduled. In Vermont, Vaughn Collins, the executive director of the Vermont State Dental Society, has been in frequent contact with the Department of Health to ensure that at least some oral surgeons across the state have access to proper equipment so that emergency procedures can be completed for Vermont residents in need.

ADA wants HHS to supply COVID-19 testing kits to dentists so they can swab patients

The ADA is calling on the Trump administration to provide dentists with coronavirus tests before reopening, arguing that conditions in dental offices make patients and staff more susceptible to exposure. The high-speed instruments used by dental practices create aerosol clouds that can hold germs for up to three hours, increasing the odds of exposure if patient has COVID-19. OSHA has identified dental professionals as at risk for exposure due to various workplace hazards. Dentists have been advised to use either a negative pressure room or high input suction devices to remove the germs and reduce exposure once they reopen. Many offices lack those tools and facial protections.

Virginia Dental Association responds to governor’s call to join Medical Reserve Corps

The Virginia Dental Association has responded to Gov. Ralph Northam’s second call to action for medical and non-medical workers to join the Virginia Department of Health’s Medical Reserve Corps in the fight against the coronavirus. “Virginia dentists have the training to be able to support our communities during this public health crisis and I applaud the many who have already stepped up,” said VDA President Dr. Elizabeth Reynolds. “I encourage those who haven’t yet to consider volunteering with the Virginia Medical Reserve Corps to apply their medical training to the massive effort it will take to fight this virus.”

ADA warns ongoing pandemic impact likely to slash dental spending into 2021

The ADA has warned that the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic impact is likely to slash dental spending into 2021. More than 80% of dental practices reported that patient volume for the week of April 6 was less than 5% of normal. The ADA estimates that COVID-19 could lead to a two-thirds reduction in U.S. dental spending for the year, with 2021 expected to face a 32% reduction. The ADA report says, “Even when restrictions on elective procedures are lifted, the availability of PPE for dentists could be a major constraining factor in the re-opening of dental offices.”

ADA Advisory Task Force on Dental Practice Recovery seek to address PPE shortage

As dentists and staff begin plans to reopen beyond emergency procedures, substantial inventory of PPE is currently diverted to medical operations on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic. “The task force is well aware of the PPE shortages nationwide at this point,” said Dr. Kirk Norbo, 16th District trustee and task force co-chair. “The face mask guidelines we have provided illustrate low and moderate risk scenarios accounting for limited access to PPE and allowing professional judgement of the dentist.” The ADA is working with reliable domestic manufacturers, key dental distributors and others to increase access to PPE for dental professionals, but according to distributors, access to masks and face shields, along with disposable gowns, are currently the hardest to procure.

ADA president appoints task force for dental practice recovery after COVID-19 pandemic

ADA President Chad Gehani has assembled an advisory task force to oversee the ADA’s development of tools for dentists as they bounce back from the effects of practice restrictions and closures caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The COVID-19 crisis has had a challenging impact on our dental community. Yet, the strength of our profession has never been more evident — for now, we may be distant, but we are not disconnected,” Dr. Gehani said in an April 14 letter to ADA councils and committees and dental society executive directors. “While we guide dentistry through these trying times, the American Dental Association also has its eye on what will come next.”

The ADA’s Advisory Task Force on Dental Practice Recovery, which began meeting in April, has the overall goal of helping dentists get back to serving their communities while protecting patients, office staff and themselves.

Market Research

RDH survey says 47% of dental hygienists wish infection control procedures would improve

An RDH magazine survey from November 2019 to March 2020 asked 770 hygienists about infection control (IC) practices in their clinics. RDH explored two main findings and their significance.

1. 47% of dental hygienists wish that IC procedures in their office would improve – The CDC provides a recommended solution: an infection control coordinator – someone accountable for a feasible and sustainable infection prevention program that is dedicated to championing healthcare safety.

2. 43% of dental hygienists don’t have enough time after each appointment to complete infection control procedures – Proper cleaning, disinfecting and sterilizing take time, but many hygienists don’t work with assistants, so they often have to set aside appointment time for IC activities.