New PPE charge at every dentist visit

I was in the middle of extensive dental treatment when COVID closed down my dental office. I had my first appointment today since they reopened on Monday and I had to pay a $15 PPE charge and for every visit going forward (I will be going every 2 weeks now) I have to pay this upfront Fee. Is this even legal? Anyone else have this experience?

H-Town Mama H-Town Mama
June 4th

My hair salon is charging an additional $2.50 per service to (partially) cover costs. I could see many businesses charging something to help offset costs. Restaurants are going to be interesting as well.

3wbdwnj 3wbdwnj
June 4th

Yup. I just looked it up and it seems it’s typical to charge a PPE fee at this time.

https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.kansascity.com/news/coronavirus/article243020326.html

Local Gal Local Gal
June 4th

My dentist used PPE before the virus so I hope he doesn’t plan to charge for it! $15 per visit seems ridiculous, as a box is 39.99 at Rite-Aid. I would think they would pay less. IDK

Bentley
June 4th

It probably also covers time for the staff to do extra cleaning and disinfecting. It's disappointing that charge is coming off the backs of customers and the government is not helping to offset.

somechick1 somechick1
June 4th

The problem is that just about every business has extra costs associated with COVID. One way or the other, we'll be paying for it for a long while.

Route 46
June 4th

My dentist has not opened up yet....

Mmadone Mmadone
June 4th

There’s a lot more than some masks and drapes involved to sanitize dental activities. Special suction devices, uv treatments, special drills, not just some clothe masks

Strangerdanger Strangerdanger
June 4th

I believe some dentists, sadly , may never reopen as they are at an age they don't feel the risk is worth the expense to them or their own health.

steven steven
June 6th

How is a hair salon charging extra when they are not allowed to be open yet?


It’s for when they do open, Bug3.

3wbdwnj 3wbdwnj
June 6th

Dentist office’s should have been doing all this sanitizing before Covid even came. The obvious, they are working with your mouth!

Leslie Leslie
June 6th

My dentist hasn't opened yet either. They are opening on the 29th. Do I assume correctly that dental insurance is not covering this additional PPE charge?

Calico696 Calico696
June 6th

Depends on your coverage.

Strangerdanger Strangerdanger
June 6th

That's kind of ridiculous. Dentist's should have already been using PPE. When I've gone, they always wear a mask, goggles and gloves. Maybe they might add in a face shield and gown, but that definitely doesn't justify a 15 dollar upcharge.

melissa123 melissa123
June 6th

Some dentists have bought special equipment for extra protection. Not just PPEs.


+1 pbm. Of course to do it according the cdc guidelines, you need extra equipment as previously noted.

Strangerdanger Strangerdanger
June 6th

15 dollars is reasonable for equipment upcharge. Just get one less pedicure per year.

dodgebaaall dodgebaaall
4 weeks ago

Actually, when I think about it, my dentist all through the years has ALWAYS worn rubber gloves and a face mask and so has the hygienist.

What was your dentist using/wearing this time that would merit everyone having to pay an additional $15 - a gold-plated suit of armor? :-D


Look above Cathy for the new equipment. Basically, imagine, if you will, that they are cleaning your teeth. Stuff from your mouth is being turned into aerosol which can take up to three hours to settle and can settle up to three hours away from your mouth.

Do you think a wet wipe on some surfaces will cure that ill?

Folks, to do this right there is some significant disinfecting going on that costs time and money to do right. Hopefully, the $15 charge will be included in your insurance plan, many of which basically cover a fixed percentage of total costs.

Here's just a sampling from the CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/oralhealth/infectioncontrol/faqs/cleaning-disinfecting-environmental-surfaces.html

strangerdanger strangerdanger
4 weeks ago

This is the new routine my dentist's office is following, I did not see any mention of an additional charge, but it wouldn't surprise me if there is.

Our office goes above and beyond infection control recommendations made by the American
Dental Association (ADA), the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the
Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). We follow the activities of these
agencies so that we are up-to-date on any new rulings or guidance that may be issued. We do
this to make sure our infection control procedures are current and adhere to each agencies’
recommendations.
You will see some changes when it’s time for your next appointment. These changes were
made to help protect our patients and staff. For example:

• Our office will communicate with you beforehand to ask some screening questions. You
will be asked the same questions when you arrive to our office.

• We will ask that patients minimize the number of companions that accompany them for
their visit to minimize the number of people in the reception area.

• You will be given instructions on what to do when you arrive to the building prior to
coming upstairs for your appointment.

• Anyone entering the office will be required to wear a mask that covers their mouth and
nose and will be asked to clean their hands at our sanitization station upon entry.

• We will be using a touchless thermometer to check each patient’s and guest’s
temperature. Anyone with a temperature of 100.4 or higher will be asked to reschedule
their appointment.

• We will be using a finger tip pulse oximeter to measure each patient’s and guest’s
oxygen saturation. Anyone with an oxygen saturation below 92 will be asked to
reschedule their appointment.

• We will be oxygen and temperature screening all team members upon their arrival to
the office daily to rule out any signs of illness,

• We have installed a protective acrylic barrier at the reception desk, and our
administrative team will be wearing surgical masks.

• We will have Hepa UVC air purifiers in all of the treatment rooms and the reception
area.

• Our clinical team will be wearing gowns, head coverings, masks (N95, KN95, surgical or a
combination of all) and goggles or face shield depending on the procedure scheduled.

• In addition to our usual disinfection procedures, the treatment rooms after every
patient, and the common areas of our practice, will be disinfected using a ULV fogger
and a Hypochlorous Acid (HOCl) solution.

• Extra oral suction will be utilized to augment our usual suction practices during any
procedures which create aerosol.

We look forward to seeing you again and are happy to answer any questions you may have
about the steps we take to keep you, and every patient, safe in our practice


Sounds like a disaster.

• We will ask that patients minimize the number of companions that accompany them for
their visit to minimize the number of people in the reception area.

Do people usually go to the dentist with a group of people?

Calico696 Calico696
4 weeks ago

I guess you never had kids calico


Why is it a disaster? What would you suggest?

Strangerdanger Strangerdanger
4 weeks ago

Nope. No human kids, just furry ones. I don't remember my mother hanging out at the dentist with me. She may have when I was very young and I don't remember. I do remember her dropping me off and picking my up at least from 3rd grade on.

Calico696 Calico696
4 weeks ago

"Do people usually go to the dentist with a group of people?"

You don't tailgate before getting a tooth pulled? :)


I haven't really seen patients bring many others with them. The office building is located in the parking lot of a large shopping area. Occasionally, I have brought my mother with me if she wanted to do some shopping, since it's an area she doesn't drive to.


"You don't tailgate before getting a tooth pulled? :)"

That right there, is very funny!

Calico696 Calico696
4 weeks ago

I didn’t notice anything different other than an air purifier machine when I went to my oral surgeon last week. They told me about this charge when I called to make my appointment. They said it’s for the additional sanitizing they must do after each person leaves the room before another person comes in and the additional cleaning person they need to have on staff just to clean after each patient.
It’s not included in insurance as cash was only accepted for this charge Which I must pay every 2 weeks since that is what my treatment plan entails that I do at this stage due to my procedure. And any possible emergency that might arise in between that will require me to be seen I will have to pay. This procedure that I’m having is not covered by insurance and I have already spent my life savings prior to COVID getting this done.

H-Town Mama H-Town Mama
4 weeks ago

This charge is absurd. These offices have to chalk this one up as “the cost of doing business.” My oral surgeons office recently purchased some sort of 3d X-ray machine which I asked about around a year ago (I’m always interested in new tech) and was told the machine cost the office $480,000. Funny that they didn’t institute a new charge to pay for equipment that costs nearly a half million dollars.

Also, if the charge is to offset the cost to purchase new equipment, at what point will the offices stop charging? A year? 6 months? 18 months? Eventually that new equipment will be paid for by all the $15 charges. Now, If these charges are the new norm and we are charged in perpetuity, we will know this was just a money-grab for the already well-compensated dentists.

Consigliere
3 weeks ago

I asked my dentist if there will be any additional fees, they said no. I will see what we get charged and if the fees go up, then there is my answer.


In the scheme of things, C19 is increasing many prices a great deal more than $15. At $100 per week for food, you pay $16 more or even more a month.

Before one becomes unglued, check your dentist, check your plan, etc. There’s coding to include it in current charges, my plan covers 80% so the $15 becomes $3.

But fact is, sooner or later extra cost = increased price. That $480 machine was already covered by the price for the work it would do. If that price jumped to $500,000, you can bet your price would jump too. So, sure, in a competitive world, they may suck up the charge. But only for so ling and only for so far.

Check your insurance.

Strangerdanger Strangerdanger
3 weeks ago

I went to dentist yesterday. No PPE charge.

CraftBeerBob CraftBeerBob
3 weeks ago

"as cash was only accepted for this charge"
Off the books payment does not sound legal to me.

OnTheEdge OnTheEdge
3 weeks ago

OMGoodness, if we keep going, flippin dentist will be Bernie Madoff....

She was paying cash already, as in not covered, not as in off the books.

PPE’s are being added all over, so unless a grand in-your-face conspiracy....

ADA is coding them ASAP; check your insurance as to coverage, mine covers like any other charge, at the normal rate, just like it’s a dental charge.

$3 to me, big whippydo, sigh. Like I said, the C19 uplift on food is a heck of a lot higher than this chump change. Sigh.

Strangerdanger Strangerdanger
3 weeks ago

I am ok if there are transparent extra charges, but for those with insurance I expect all of it to go through insurance and then the client is charged the approved additional costs.


I don’t ever get a medical charge that doesn’t go through insurance, sigh. Every one. Otherwise, you just pay extra. I have even had out-of-network charges covered when I thought no way. Turned out that dr was oon but billing wasn’t so I got some money back. Go figure on that one! No matter what, everything goes through insurance, if you have it. Even ppe charges. Nothing gets paid until insurance review, that’s one thing you pay them for, to police the doctors.

Strangerdanger Strangerdanger
3 weeks ago

I agree SD, but a lot of older dentists are just going to retire than potentially expose themselves; just not worth it for them. Hope we don't see a dentist shortage, it is not something we can churn out overnight...


"but a lot of older dentists are just going to retire than potentially expose themselves; just not worth it for them."

Do you have any evidence of this, or are you just assuming?

Calico696 Calico696
3 weeks ago

Not in the Hackettstown area but in NJ. There are dentists that were going to retire soon anyway and this is the nail in the coffin, this is my experience among my extended network.


I'm curious about opinions. Is it worth it to go to the dentist for a 6 month cleaning right now if there are no issues?


Dental problems can cause a lot of serious health problems, do not postpone is my opinion unless you are immune compromised (such as a person on chemo). I have an appointment next week finally.


maja - Go to the dentist. You never know if something is going on in your mouth that you aren't aware of.

Calico696 Calico696
1 week ago

I went today....all appropriate measures were taken for the protection of all...I was completely comfortable....

4catmom 4catmom
1 week ago

I'm 6 months pregnant and I went to the dentist for a cleaning last week. I was over 6 months overdue for a cleaning because I was thinking about a finding a new dentist before the pandemic started. They were very careful. Call when you arrive, mask on, temperature and oxygen levels at the door, Covid questionnaire. Hygienist wore a mask plus a face shield, had me rinse with a peroxide solution before starting. They didn't use a water pick, only dry suction. Didn't even let patients pass each other in the lobby, they made sure to move the next person to a room before letting me leave.


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