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ADA Urges Senators to Include Dentistry in COVID-19 Relief Packages

As tighter restrictions are placed on oral health professionals during the COVID-19 pandemic, the American Dental Association (ADA) is asking Congress to include dentistry in any COVID-19 relief packages.

In a March 18 letter to lawmakers, ADA leadership explained how the association is doing “its part to mitigate the spread of COVID-19” by asking dentists nationwide to postpone nonemergency procedures, and only treat emergency cases for the next three weeks.

“Unfortunately, many dental practices simply do not have the reserves or cannot accommodate the dramatic reduction of cash flow that is required during this partial shutdown,” the letter reads. “While tax credits are helpful, they will only provide for partial reimbursement, and those would occur months later. With the uncertainty resulting from the outbreak, dental practices now more than ever need adequate cash flow to keep their businesses viable and address staffing issues.”

As of March 17, nine counties in California were required to shelter in place, with Gov. Gavin Newsom issuing a state-wide shelter in place order on March 19. Italy and China have also implemented lockdowns to slow the spread of the virus.

The ADA is asking Congress to include the following measures in any COVID-19 relief packages:

  • Easing and expediting the process for businesses to apply for Economic Injury Disaster Loans through the Small Business Administration.
  • Deferring all monthly payments on federal student loans for all health care professionals, including dentists, without penalty.
  • Deferring or eliminating payroll tax matching and payments, as well as deferring quarterly income tax payments for small business owners.
  • Providing additional tax cuts for small businesses, which could include expanding Section 199A to include all small businesses, regardless of income.
  • Applying all telehealth deregulation to virtual check-ins for dental evaluations (teledentistry) and support payment for these services within both Medicaid, as well as commercial plans.
  • Waiving an Employer’s Annual Federal Unemployment Tax for 2020 for small business employers with less than 50 employees, or freeze the current rate.
  • Requiring all business Interruption Insurance policies to cover national emergencies, including those related to diseases, such as COVID-19.
  • Allowing for a one-time withdrawal without penalty from an individual’s 401k.

The ADA provides an online resource for dental professionals to quickly reach out to senators and representatives to include programs focused on assisting dentistry in COVID-19 relief packages. Take action now by filling out the form on the ADA Action Center’s website: actioncenter.ada.org/urge-your-members-of-congress-to-include-dentistry-in-relief-packages/

 

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