HPI poll: More than 90% of dentists applied for relief during pandemic

More than nine of 10 dentists sought out some sort of financial assistance during the pandemic, according to the ADA Health Policy Institute’s latest data from a poll conducted the week of Sept. 7.

This poll result and other findings were shared in a webinar available on YouTube. The webinar also covered consumer sentiment about visiting the dentist, opinions about point-of-care testing and the willingness to offer vaccinations at dental offices.

The Sept. 7 results included data about:

• Financial relief: Over 90% of dentists have applied for financial relief, most commonly through the Paycheck Protection Program, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Provider Relief Fund and Economic Injury Disaster Loan. The vast majority received funds. Among those who did not apply for the HHS Provider Relief Fund, the most common reasons were not knowing about it or believing they were ineligible.

• Testing: About half of dentists think it is important to have rapid, point-of-care COVID-19 testing for their patients in the office. There is variation by dental service organization affiliation, practice size and dentist age. Dentists in public health settings placed more importance on testing than dentists in private practice.

• Vaccination: Less than half of dentists polled would be willing to administer COVID-19 vaccines to patients in their offices. About a third would maybe consider it, while 25% are unwilling. There was some variation by practice size, with dentists in large group practices more willing. Dentists in public health settings were more willing to administer COVID-19 vaccines than dentists in private practice.

• Consumer sentiment: About 15% of patients will not return to the dentist until a vaccine or proven treatment is available. The public, at least currently, do not rank dental offices high as locations they would be willing to get a COVID-19 vaccine.

The ADA has posted complete results comparing data for the 13 waves over the previous six months, including results broken down by practice size, dental service organization status and at the state level.

Marko Vujicic, Ph.D., HPI’s vice president and the ADA’s chief economist, moderated the YouTube presentation. The panel included Dr. Chelsea Fosse, HPI senior health policy analyst; Ann Battrell, CEO of the American Dental Hygienists Association; Candace Chen, M.D., associate professor of health policy and management at George Washington University; Dr. Roger Levin, CEO of the Levin Group; and Michael Graham, senior vice president of the ADA division of government and public affairs.

All previous webinars are available on the ADA YouTube channel. Subscribe to receive information on new videos as they are released.