UPDATE: May 1: KXAN Austin has done a story on the petition drive. There are now over 3,200 signatures on the petition.
“We have never prevented dentist triaging on the phone,” explained Dr. Boyd Bush, Executive Director of the Texas State Board of Dental Examiners. “It’s up to dentists if they want to charge for it. We don’t set perimeters of what they can and can’t charge.”
Dr. Bush says the problem is there needs to be legislation that can define teledentistry. Last session, Senate Bill 792 could have helped with that, but it didn’t pass. The bill would have allowed dentists to communicate, collaborate, and share patient information through telehealth especially for those who are underserved.
Dr. Bush says only Governor Greg Abbott has the authority to make that happen during this pandemic. KXAN investigator Arezow Doost has asked Gov. Abbott’s office about expanding teledentistry and is waiting on a response.
UPDATE: April 16: There are now over 1,500 signatures. The TSBDE is having a virtual meeting tomorrow open to the public and you can leave a comment or ask to speak.
Register for public access here
To submit a comment here
If you wish to address the Board verbally during the Board Meeting, please click here.
San Antonio dentist Leanne Tessandori has started a petition on Change.org to Governor Greg Abbott to allow dentists to use teledentistry to triage patients during the COVID 19 crisis. The petition started on April 1, currently has 1,200 signatures.
The petition states:
Dear Governor Abbott,
During the current crisis and mandates many dental offices have had to close entirely or limit their office locations and/or times for emergency services only. For those dentists who are still serving patients, the risk of exposure to Covid 19 is real for them and the patients as well as over burdening the resources of fewer amount of offices and PPE. For some patients who are immunocompromised, the risk for them may be too great to visit a dental office with an urgent dental concern.
There is also a concern that patients with a NTDC (Non Traumatic Dental Condition) may present to an ED, thereby further taxing a system and possibly exposing themselves and others to Covid 19. As research has shown, please see below, the large majority of patients who present to an ED with a dental urgency are stabilized with a prescription(s) and sent home.
With today’s technology, there are highly reputable platforms available for telehealth, both secure and HIPPA compliant, even some used by NASA, GE Healthcare, and Cleveland Clinic. With these platforms, dentists would be able to video screen and triage patients, who either need to present for treatment or can be stabilized with a prescription, if necessary, and scheduled for a next possible date. In addition, several major dental insurance companies are allowing the codes D0140 (limited screening problem focused) and D0170 (problem focused established patient) to be covered with telehealth. This would help in prioritizing patients who absolutely need to be seen in office and also allow patients with a dental concern to remain in their home and given an Rx, if necessary, especially forthose with an immunodeficiency.
Leanne Tessandori, DDS
Emergency Department Referral Programs for Non-Traumatic Dental Conditions, 2015, astdd
National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey 2009-2010
National Emergency Department 2006
If you would like to sign the petition, click the button below.