UPDATE: TSBDE Rule Adopted This Afternoon For Opening Dental Offices May 1

UPDATE, May 1:  TDA added a release to their website last night.  This is now below.

After having their proposed rule and guidelines rejected yesterday by the Governor, the TSDBE adopted a revised rule late this afternoon, which is available to download below, which includes changes proposed by the Governor’s Office that will allow dental offices to open tomorrow, provided they can meet the requirements for minimum standards of care.

Link to actual rule in the Texas Register.

The Texas Society of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons has written the following:

TSBDE Adopts Revised Emergency Rule 108.7 During Late Afternoon Emergency Meeting
Responding to Governor Abbott’s rejection of the Texas State Board of Dental Examiner’s proposed amendment to 22 TAC §108.7 Minimum Standard of Care, General and its accompanying TSBDE Guidance for Minimizing Risk of COVID-19 Transmission, the TSBDE held an emergency meeting at 4:00 pm, Thursday, April 30, and approved a revised version of the emergency rule.

The new rule will become effective at 12:01 am, Friday, May 1, 2020, and will remain in effect for 120 days unless it is renewed by the TSBDE for an additional 60 days.

A key provision in the newly incorporated in the revised emergency rule that is of concern to oral and maxillofacial surgeons is:

§108.7 Minimum Standard of Care, (16)(B)(iii)
implementation of Transmission-Based Precautions, including N-95 respirator masks, KN-95 masks, or their substantial equivalent for all DHCP [Dental Health Care Personnel] who will be within six (6) feet of any and all procedures likely to involve aerosols;

OMS and other dental practices unable to comply with this requirement may not open Friday, May 1, 2020.

The TDA issues a release as well.

TSBDE Adopts Emergency Rule to Reopen Dental Practices

A short time ago after round-the-clock work from TDA fueled by your input, Governor Abbott approved the Texas State Board of Dental Examiners (TSBDE) emergency rule that dentists—that choose to open—must follow to safely reopen their dental practices tomorrow, May 1, 2020, at 12:01 AM. The rule may be read HERE.

We are grateful that TDA advocacy efforts resulted in a direct impact on the Governor’s decision to permit certain hygiene procedures to be performed in your practices while achieving the safety goals both the Governor and the TDA remain focused upon. Your membership and input were invaluable in this process.

Dentists must now conduct their practices according to the modified emergency rule that dictates the minimum standards for safely practices dentistry during the COVID-19 pandemic. TDA will be working to provide community and patient-facing messaging to provide both clarity and confidence in the measures. Now more than ever, our solidarity is key to our ability to serve Texans.

Highlights of the emergency rule that all Texas dental practices must strictly adhere to include:

Implementing transmission based precautions, including N95 respirator masks, KN-95 masks, or their substantial equivalent for all Dental Health Care Personnel (DHCP) who will be within 6 feet of any and all procedures likely to involve aerosols.

DHCP can only use hand instruments and low speed tools for hygiene services and procedures.

Reduce aerosol production as much as possible.

DHCP may prioritize the use of hand instruments; should use dental isolation if an aerosol-producing procedure is being performed to help minimize aerosol or splatter.

It is important to know and share with your staffs that neither Governor Abbott’s GA-19 order nor the TSBDE’s emergency rule require dentists to fully reopen. Dentists must use their professional judgement to determine if they can fully comply with the TSBDE’s COVID-19 guidelines. This means having and utilizing all required personal protective equipment such as N95 respirator masks, KN-95 masks, or their substantial equivalent.

Click here for details on N95 respirator masks, KN-95 masks, or their substantial equivalent.

TDA is actively working to secure leads and resources on masks that meet these requirements for dental practices. The TDA advocacy team is working directly with Governor Abbott’s office and Nim Kidd, Chief of the Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) regarding this issue. We will share information as it becomes available.

Check TDA’s “Reopening Your Practice” on tda.org/COVID19-Resources for help creating your COVID-19 office procedures required by the TSBDE’s emergency rule.

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