HPI poll: Dentists see ‘substantial’ increase in PPE prices

Prices for personal protective equipment have increased substantially since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the ADA Health Policy Institute’s latest data from its COVID-19 economic impact tracking poll conducted the week of Nov. 30.
The poll found that on average, across all categories of PPE, nearly one-third of dentists reported that prices have tripled or more. The increased prices have led to dentists relying on a greater variety of PPE distributors, including turning to Amazon and smaller distributors, compared to before the pandemic.
These poll results and other findings were shared in a short webinar available on YouTube, which covered issues related to recovery and renewal, Medicaid disenrollment and patient capacity.
The Nov. 30 poll found:
• One-third of dental practices reported “business as usual” in terms of patient volume. Patient volume was estimated at 76% of pre-COVID-19 levels. Recovery has been slower in public health settings, where only 20% reported “business as usual” and patient volume was estimated at 66% of pre-COVID-19 levels.
• The COVID-19 pandemic has caused 8% of Medicaid providers to disenroll from the program. An additional 15% are considering disenrolling in the coming months, and 14% remain unsure about their intentions to disenroll from Medicaid. Roughly 20% of Medicaid providers have decreased the number of Medicaid patients they can accommodate in their practices since the onset of the pandemic.
• Nearly all practices and health centers have the capacity to accommodate more patients than they are currently seeing. Similar to private practices, the majority of health centers are operating below 75% of their current maximum capacity, with the greatest share seeing 50-75% of the patients they could accommodate. Roughly one in six health centers/clinics are operating at less than 25% of their current maximum capacity.

HPI launched its COVID-19 economic impact tracking poll on March 23. Dentists were also asked to join a panel in which they complete a biweekly poll. In this latest wave, a nationally representative sample of over 2,500 dentists responded.

The ADA Health Policy Institute is seeking to expand its panel of dentists for its ongoing COVID-19 economic poll in an effort to continue to monitor the impact of the pandemic on dental practices and ensure the panel’s representativeness.

Dentists working in all practicing settings and of all specialties and backgrounds are encouraged to sign up to participate through Dec. 31 using the simple HPI form.

Webinars on previous data are available on the ADA YouTube channel

Links to reports and and interactive data dashboard are available at ADA.org/HPI.