June 29, 2020
by Neil M. Abramson
In merely a few short months, life as we know it has changed dramatically. Since the beginning of the COVID‑19 pandemic, the way in which we do virtually everything has changed. It is hardly surprising, then, that the same is true of the practice of dentistry.
At the outset of the pandemic, dental offices were effectively closed, save and except for those practices which remained open to treat urgent and emergent cases. Even then, only a limited number of offices were in operation and only when they implemented very specific protocols. However, as the economy begins to open and society adapts to a new normal, dental practices, under strict controls, are once again being permitted to resume regular patient care.
The questions that then emerge are how it is that dental treatment can be provided safely for staff and patients alike, how the practice can still maintain some degree of profitability under these conditions, and how the practitioner may be best positioned to withstand the College investigations and new patient complaints regarding COVID‑safety compliance which will inevitably follow.
Short of permanently closing one’s office, there is obviously no guarantee that regulatory scrutiny can be either avoided or result in a favourable outcome for the dentist.
However, there are a number of steps which dentists and the profession as a whole can take in order to mitigate these risks:
As dentists and dental specialists navigate the pandemic, they must now learn to practise their profession within the confines of society’s new “normal”. Patient, staff and personal safety will be paramount. The above suggestions may go a long way toward promoting safety, ensuring practice profitability, and reducing the likelihood of regulatory complaints and investigations.
About the Author
Neil M. Abramson is the Head of the Litigation Department at Torkin Manes LLP. He is double certified as a specialist in health law and civil litigation and he routinely represents dentists and other health professionals before their professional Colleges and in hospital privilege disputes. If you have any questions about rights and obligations as a dentist during the COVID-19 pandemic, we encourage you to contact Neil M. Abramson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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