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Third wave of HPI polling shows dentists’ response to COVID-19

79% of practices remain closed except for emergency patients

April 27, 2020

By Matt Carey

How does this week compare to what is typical in practice in terms of volume of total collections?

The third round of results from the ADA Health Policy Institute poll on the impact of COVID-19 on dental practices was released April 27, with 79% of dentists reporting their practices are closed except for emergencies and 17% are closed completely.

The poll, from responses gathered during the week of April 20, was taken by 6,614 dentists in private practice. HPI will continue to track data every two weeks in every state to provide a real time snapshot of how the situation is unfolding.

COVID-19 continues to impact dentists financially. Collections for 77% of dentists last week are less than five percent of what is typical in their practice, an increase from 69% in the second wave of the poll. While 45% of dentists did not pay their staff the week of April 20, there was a slight increase in practices reporting paying staff fully, from 11% the week of April 6 to 13% the week of April 20. 

This week’s poll introduced a question about Small Business Administration loans. Seventy-four percent of dentists applied for an SBA 7(a) PPP loan. Among those, 50% had their application approved, 34% were waiting on a decision and 15% were not approved. Of the dentists whose application was approved, 58% had received funds. Congress passed a The Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act April 23 that provided additional funding for federal loan programs to help businesses. The legislation includes more than $250 billion in unrestricted funds for the Paycheck Protection Program.

SBA Grant/Loans: who has applied and how they applied.

Most dentists (77%) were also able to submit an application for an SBA EIDL grant/loan. Applications has been approved for 35% of those dentists last week, and the great majority of approved applicants had received their grant/loan funds.

The poll also had a question about the use of virtual technology to see patients. One in four dentists said they are conducting remote problem-focused evaluations through video conferencing. Group practices of 10 or more dentists were more likely to be using the technology than smaller group practices or solo dentists.

HPI will continue to track data every two weeks in every state to provide a glimpse into how the pandemic is unfolding. Dentists who wish to participate can access the poll on ADA.org.