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Fourth wave of HPI polling shows dental practices in early stages of recovery

May 11, 2020

By Matt Carey

Pay status of associates, employees and independent contractors

More than 30% of dental practices were back open the week of May 4, compared to 3.4% of dental practices the week of April 20, according to the fourth round of results released May 11 from the ADA Health Policy Institute poll on the impact of COVID-19.

Employment in offices of dentists declined by over 500,000 jobs in April, according to the jobs report released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics on May 8. The fourth wave of this poll, collecting data from 6,774 dentists in private practice for the week of May 4, shows early signs of recovery among dental practices.

The week of May 4, 28 states had reopened for elective dental services. According to the fourth wave of polling, 33% of dental practices reported paying their staff fully, compared to 13% in the previous wave of the poll. In states that have reopened, 48% of dentists were fully paying their staff. The patient volume was still lower than usual, with patient volume at 28% of typical levels in the states that reopened.

PPE among dentists in fourth wave of polling

A new question to the poll asked nonowner dentists if they were being paid by their dental practices. The poll showed 56% reported not being paid the week of May 4, and 57% among those were currently receiving unemployment benefits.

Dentists were asked about their available supply of personal protective equipment. Three in 10 dentists reported not having any supply of N95/K95 masks, 17.5% had no face shields, and 25.8% had no supply of gowns.

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 view complete results or sign up to participate in the panel can do so on ADA.org/HPI.