On March 26, 2020, the DOH revised its Order on dental emergency procedures in Pennsylvania to make it consistent with the CDC’s recommendations for such procedures. Link to revised Order can be found here: PA DOH Dental Guidance. Previously, the Order effectively forced most dental practices and facilities to close, as it was too restrictive. Now, the DOH is directing all facilities to cease all dental treatment, except for urgent and emergency procedures that the facility can perform in accordance with the DOH’s revised requirements. Please see the Guidance/Order for details.
In short, urgent and emergency dental procedures can be performed on asymptomatic patients who are not suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19, as long as certain screening efforts are taken. For patients who have potential symptoms of COVID-19, the facility is not permitted to perform urgent or emergency dental procedures, unless it meets the additional requirements set forth in this Order.
If you have any questions regarding whether your practice or facility should stay open to perform certain procedures, please feel free to contact us or knowledgeable legal counsel.
Note that the Order continues to permit dentists to conduct teledentistry with patients experiencing “true emergencies related to pain/infection, as they might be treated with antibiotics and pain medication.” PA Gov. Wolf has already authorized the provision of telehealth in Pennsylvania by dentists and other licensed professionals, provided that it is performed in accordance with federal law, including, but not limited to, the guidance from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services regarding HIPAA and telehealth during the Nationwide Public Health Emergency (see HIPAA COVID-19 Telehealth Guidance). Accordingly, a practice with teledentistry capabilities may stay open under this Order to treat emergencies related to pain and infection through teledentistry.
If you have any questions about providing teledentistry in your office for emergencies, please do not hesitate to contact us.