CDA: How to handle the rising cost of PPE

There are several ways dentists can offset the rising cost of maintaining a safe environment, according to the California Dental Association.

How to handle rising costs at dental practices, per the CDA:

1. Communicate with patients. No matter how a dentist decides to address the increased cost of care, patients should be told why it is occurring. For an overall fee increase, dentists can send patients a brief statement about the increasing cost of care, while a straight personal protective equipment charge may require further patient education and messaging to ensure patient retention.

2. Consult dental plans about additional fees. Contracted providers for dental plans will need to review the terms of their agreements to figure out if they're able to charge the plan and how to obtain payment.

3. Maintain ethical practices. It's unethical for providers to only charge uninsured patients or only seek reimbursement for insured patients to address the surge in costs, with the exception of Medicaid enrollees due to federal and state restrictions, according to the ADA Code of Ethics. The fee a provider charges a patient without insurance is considered the dentist's full fee and should be represented to all third-party payers.

4. Understand anti-gouging laws. Most states have laws that prohibit businesses from raising the price of services by more than a certain percent after an emergency is declared.

5. Advocate for third-party reimbursement. The CDA is urging dentists to contact their dental plans to stress the need for financial relief.

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