ADA asks Congress to help dental community in next COVID-19 legislation
May 05, 2020
— As Congress works on the next COVID-19 relief package, the ADA is asking lawmakers to include a number of provisions to assist the dental profession in recovery efforts.
The Association is also calling on dentists everywhere to contact their legislators. In a May 5 Issues Alert email sent to dentists nationwide, ADA President Chad P. Gehani urged dentists to visit the ADA Legislative Action Center
to contact their senators and representatives for support.
“As Congress looks to its next legislative package to help our country deal with this extraordinary crisis, we ask you to urge your members of Congress to include the following recommendations aimed at assisting dental practices, dentists, their staffs and patients,” the alert said.
In a letter to leaders of the House and Senate
, Dr. Gehani and ADA Executive Director Kathleen T. O’Loughlin told lawmakers the dental community continues to face additional challenges — both economically and logistically — in the wake of the pandemic.
The ADA is urging Congress to:
• Increase flexibility within the Paycheck Protection Program. This flexibility includes modifying the loan forgiveness provision of the program to allow small businesses to make more appropriate decisions about staffing and payroll based on when they plan to fully reopen. The Association would also like for Congress to allow Paycheck Protection Program loan funds to be used for purchasing additional personal protective equipment and making safety improvements to the office. In addition to flexibility in using these loan funds to pay for this equipment, the ADA is asking that tax credits be provided for personal protective equipment. “This will assist financially stressed practices in providing an additional layer of safety and protection,” Drs. Gehani and O’Loughlin wrote.
• Ensure adequate oversight over the distribution and loan forgiveness provisions in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act for Paycheck Protection Program loans. This will guarantee that only those small businesses that were economically distressed as a result of the pandemic receive the funds and forgiveness. The ADA and Organized Dentistry Coalition are also asking Congress to permit nonprofit dental and medical organizations to utilize the Paycheck Protection Program or future small business loan programs to ensure they can continue to serve as a “trusted resource for their health care professionals and patients.”
• Intensify the production of personal protective equipment and focus its distribution to dentists and health care providers “who are treating emergency cases or near-emergency cases now and in the future without an adequate supply of N95 masks and face shields.”
• Extend the Department of Health and Human Services’ authority to allow licensed dentists to conduct Food and Drug Administration-authorized, point-of-care COVID-19 diagnostic tests until the end of the year. This will alleviate the burden of hospital emergency departments across the country coping with the pandemic.
“With your help, we can lessen the burden of this difficult crisis and restore a more stable and safe environment in the provision of dental care,” the ADA letter concluded.
Dentists are asked to visit the Legislative Action Center
to contact their legislators today on these provisions.
For the latest information on COVID-19, visit ADA.org/virus