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Tue May 12, 2020, 10:23 AM

Dentists now charging more for PPE?

I received a letter from my dentist saying he's charging more for visits because of the required PPE. What? Haven't they always been using PPE (or should be)? Isn't that a sunk cost?

I called my brother, a dentist in another state, and he said that many colleagues are trying to recoup costs from the shutdown and are telling patients "up front" so they're not surprised when they get the bill, as most insurances won't cover increases due to usual & customary care (U&C) but are using the PPE excuise to force everyone to pay the higher prices. My brother thinks it's ridiculous and unethical and he won't do it but others are.

Is that a thing now?

Thanks

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Arrow 30 replies Author Time Post
Reply Dentists now charging more for PPE? (Original post)
Paula Sims May 2020 OP
Loki Liesmith May 2020 #1
keepthemhonestO May 2020 #2
hlthe2b May 2020 #5
keepthemhonestO May 2020 #9
hlthe2b May 2020 #10
keepthemhonestO May 2020 #13
hlthe2b May 2020 #15
Post removed May 2020 #17
hlthe2b May 2020 #18
keepthemhonestO May 2020 #19
Hekate May 2020 #11
PCIntern May 2020 #12
Hekate May 2020 #20
PCIntern May 2020 #21
rampartc May 2020 #3
hlthe2b May 2020 #4
Baclava May 2020 #6
BadgerKid May 2020 #7
hlthe2b May 2020 #8
Zing Zing Zingbah May 2020 #22
7wo7rees May 2020 #14
Alex4Martinez May 2020 #16
Horse with no Name May 2020 #23
Ms. Toad May 2020 #24
hlthe2b May 2020 #25
Ms. Toad May 2020 #26
Mosby May 2020 #27
Fla Dem May 2020 #28
Mosby May 2020 #30
trof May 2020 #29

Response to Paula Sims (Original post)

Tue May 12, 2020, 10:27 AM

1. They experience PPE shortages too

The market is tight and prices have gone up. I know one ortho who has had to buy his on the black market

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Response to Paula Sims (Original post)

Tue May 12, 2020, 10:27 AM

2. yep

I got the letter too, here in Georgia. Interesting that you point that out, so they aren't going to be needing anything different? It does seem like they are usually in a full get up of PPE, so then why the charge?

Now I am pissed.

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Response to keepthemhonestO (Reply #2)

Tue May 12, 2020, 10:29 AM

5. NO... For gawd's sakes dentists could get by with surgical masks previously; now, they MUST have N95

This is a really inappropriate assumption. I'm not a dentist but a direct care HCW and this level of misunderstanding frustrates me and quite frankly pisses ME off.

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Response to hlthe2b (Reply #5)

Tue May 12, 2020, 11:40 AM

9. really?

oh sorry I didn't memorize the masks they were using all this time, give me a break!
So condescending.

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Response to keepthemhonestO (Reply #9)

Tue May 12, 2020, 11:47 AM

10. Condescending? Dentists now have one of the most at risk professions right now and YOU

accuse them of bilking the public because you haven't bothered to consider how being inches from someone's open mouth and secretions would put them at risk and thus their PPE requirements would have changed every bit as much as for an in-line ER HCW? Really? No, better to assume they are just enriching themselves off of some added charge for PERSONAL PROTECTION.

If I'd seen this promoted on other websites or tv programs I won't mention I would be less surprised, but on DU?

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Response to hlthe2b (Reply #10)

Tue May 12, 2020, 12:05 PM

13. you misunderstood

I meant you are condescending, not they dentists.

Try actually reading what I wrote, I said I never noticed that they use or didn't use n95 before.


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Response to keepthemhonestO (Reply #13)

Tue May 12, 2020, 12:06 PM

15. I did read what you wrote and I was rightfully horrified.

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Response to hlthe2b (Reply #15)


Response to Post removed (Reply #17)

Tue May 12, 2020, 12:18 PM

18. You accuse fellow HCW's of bilking the public over what you consider unnecessary changes in PPE?

SHAME ON YOU. I'd never expect that from DUers, but of course....

As Hekate says, "condescending my ass".

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Response to hlthe2b (Reply #18)

Tue May 12, 2020, 12:24 PM

19. Let's reflect

A poster posted a statement, I responded with a series of questions to his post but according to you I accused a whole slew of health care workers of something? Ok.

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Response to keepthemhonestO (Reply #9)

Tue May 12, 2020, 11:57 AM

11. Look up PCIntern's many posts on dentistry here. He's gone out of his way to inform us...

...about the changing nature of dentistry. The same modern equipment that makes procedures faster and less painful also aerosolizes everything being drilled onto every surface in the office.

Condescending, my ass.

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Response to Hekate (Reply #11)

Tue May 12, 2020, 12:04 PM

12. I thanK you for the distinguished honor..

Proper PPE is now very hard to come by. Iím back to work and rationing PPE

That being said, it does not cost an enormous amount of money per patient to provide PPE. The stipulations are widely interpreted, but by and large the patient is extremely well protected with judicious use of PPE. That does not mean that everything has to be fully changed between patients. Believe me, you are much more likely to be infected by The coronavirus when coming up in the elevator to my office then at the office itself. As far as our health and safety, as Iíve said in many posts itís a real crapshoot. However, itís what we do for the community and of course as a living. Iím very happy to be helping many of the people who were in real trouble while I was out. Hospital emergency rooms are incapable for the most part of Managing these cases and short of full-blown facial abscesses there is no treatment available to alleviate dental pain and suffering at the hospital. The exceptions of course, are hospitals affiliated with dental schools which have residency programs. But those are few and far between.

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Response to PCIntern (Reply #12)

Tue May 12, 2020, 12:33 PM

20. Good day to you & hope all goes well

I was due for a routine cleaning in January, then total knee replacement in February. However, was sternly informed by the surgeon's assistant that the knee would have to be postponed for 5 months if I did that. He also said I'd have to take antibiotics before any dental procedures -- forever.

On balance, I am glad I did not postpone the knee, as I was barely able to walk and was one of the last elective surgeries the hospital did.

Even so, my dental history is such that I've been very conscientious about having my teeth seen to, and really appreciate the advances in techniques and equipment over my 72 years. I'm still waiting for that cleaning and X-rays appointment to be allowed.

Stay safe, PCIntern!

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Response to Hekate (Reply #20)

Tue May 12, 2020, 12:42 PM

21. Thank you my friend

And the surgeon IS ABSOLUTELY CORRECT about the premedication.

Stay well!!

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Response to Paula Sims (Original post)

Tue May 12, 2020, 10:27 AM

3. the ppe is now more expensive

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Response to Paula Sims (Original post)

Tue May 12, 2020, 10:27 AM

4. Not N95 masks. In many states, if they had supplies they were rerouted to hospital use

So to replace them has been a real struggle for dentists offices--many which have delayed reopening for that reason alone.

The cost of N95 masks has gone up exorbitantly-- if they can find a supply at all.

This does not strike me as unreasonable. In fact, I'm surprised at the malign implication you make.

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Response to Paula Sims (Original post)

Tue May 12, 2020, 10:30 AM

6. I just cancelled a cleaning, told them I'll wait another month, they have u wait in car before appt

This is the DU member formerly known as Baclava.

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Response to Baclava (Reply #6)

Tue May 12, 2020, 10:44 AM

7. Waiting in the car is part of social distancing.

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Response to BadgerKid (Reply #7)

Tue May 12, 2020, 10:51 AM

8. Yes. You will likely be required to do so at nearly all profesional offices--dentists, veterinarians

and others. As you SHOULD.

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Response to Baclava (Reply #6)

Tue May 12, 2020, 01:06 PM

22. Dentists aren't even allowed to take non-emergency patients in Maine still

It is ridiculous considering how few cases of COVID-19 Maine has and practically all other states have allowed dentists to resume with their regular appointments. Gov. Janet Mills is strictly adhering to the CDC recommendations that have not changed since March. The dentists in Maine are clamoring to open up shop again. Many of the dentists have purchased the necessary safety equipment, but they still aren't allowed to open up. I think this response is short-sided because we can't just indefinitely delay dental work. I don't like how COVID-19 is the only thing anyone cares about anymore. People are suffering with other medical conditions that have been going untreated these past few months. Maybe it is getting a little better in that I believe the regular doctor appointments and non-emergency procedures can now resume, but dentists are excluded. I'm sure the doctors have huge back log now. Also, the hospitals around here have been laying people off. The governor ordered that they do nothing but emergency and COVID-19 procedures and as a result they've had very little business because we have hardly any COVID-19 cases.

This topic is actually front page news today at the Portland Press Herald.
https://www.pressherald.com/2020/05/11/maine-dentists-criticize-mills-administration-for-not-reopening-routine-dental-care/

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Response to Paula Sims (Original post)

Tue May 12, 2020, 12:06 PM

14. Went to see optometrist yesterday. Was charged an extra $5

Before I was allowed inside I was informed.
On the invoice it is itemized as:
PPE/Sterilization Fee

I went this morning to 2nd optometrist for help (been going to this one for 22 years but not for last 3-does not take ins). I recv'd help, saved $310 and set up appointment for 2nd opinion, insurance be damned.

Because of question posed by OP, I just called their office to ask if they were charging a fee. No, they are not. Difference between two offices is night and day.

So no, not everyone is doing it.

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Response to Paula Sims (Original post)

Tue May 12, 2020, 12:09 PM

16. I don't have a problem with this.

However, I feel we need a single payer M4A program that includes dental, such that extra needs by providers would be met.

I like my dentist, if he and staff need extra gear I'm not expecting it to be provided at their own expense.

It just doesn't work that way.

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Response to Paula Sims (Original post)

Tue May 12, 2020, 01:12 PM

23. Well the n95 masks were .70

Now they are over $7
Thatís just the mask. The gloves have gone up. The gowns have gone up. Goggles have gone up.
You are probably looking at something that cost $3 bucks pre-Covid now about $30 when you include the PPE for the Dental Assistant and the Dentist.
Not to mention the risk of dealing with potential Covid infected saliva?
I think the cost is justified although I do believe the insurance company should be covering those costs.

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Response to Paula Sims (Original post)

Tue May 12, 2020, 01:14 PM

24. My dentist has not been using PPE.

They have been using universal precautions - but those are not the same. My dentist and hygienist wears a surgical mask - I'm not sure the assistant who works with the dentist when he fills cavities wears a mask at all (she's out of my line of sight).

PPE costs more.

If you have a dentist with a contract with your insurer, your out of pocket should remain the same per the existing contract between the two - the agreements generally prohibit the dentist from tacking on extra costs. If you are like me (my dentist is not in network), the cost will come out of my pocket.

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Response to Ms. Toad (Reply #24)

Tue May 12, 2020, 02:35 PM

25. If they are using drills, that is insane.

Anyone that close to the mouth of an individual not tested negative is at every bit as much risk as the HCW intubating or suctioning a patient. Prior to COVID-19 one could get by with it even though a minimum of gloves and surgical mask has always been the CDC guideline; now, it is irresponsible as hell not to be wearing N95 and providing further protections to both staff and other patients.

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Response to hlthe2b (Reply #25)

Tue May 12, 2020, 03:45 PM

26. I was responding to someone who asserted dentists were ALREADY using PPE

before COVID 19, but now felt free to add a surcharge for doing something they were already doing.

I was not describing what they are doing now - I was distinguishing pre-COVID universal precautions (including surgical mask, gloves, and more), implemented in the wake of the HIV crisis, from the new - significantly increased requirements for PPE.

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Response to Paula Sims (Original post)


Response to Mosby (Reply #27)

Tue May 12, 2020, 04:11 PM

28. So this stat is 11 years old. Dentist then were making on average $192,680.

I would think that has easily gone up $5,000 to $10,000 in the past 11 years.

According to the American Dental Association, the average net income in 2009 for general dentists in private practice was $192,680. The average for specialists, including orthodontists and dental surgeons, was $305,820.

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/why-a-trip-to-the-dentist_b_4992826

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Response to Fla Dem (Reply #28)


Response to Paula Sims (Original post)

Tue May 12, 2020, 04:30 PM

29. My dentist is making her own.

She told me that under the ADA guidelines she, her partner (other dentist), and their assistants must wear clean/new PPE from head to toe FOR EACH PATIENT.

Head cover, mask, gown, gloves, etc.
All that is now scarce and much more expensive.
She and a couple of others in the office sew, so they had a sewing party last Saturday to make PPE.

I told them about buying gloves at Harbor Freight.

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