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Dentists Now Eligible for COVID-19 HHS Provider Relief Funds

For the first time, dentists who provide services to patients enrolled in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) can apply for relief funding.

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The United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will award more than $4 billion of provider relief funds to healthcare providers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. For the first time, dentists who provide services to patients enrolled in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) can apply for relief funding.

On July 10, HHS announced the availability of relief funds to eligible dental providers. The $4 billion of provider relief funds will be available to hospitals serving vulnerable populations, and those located in rural and small metropolitan areas, and those rural hospitals with specific Medicare designations. Dentists who treat patients covered by Medicaid, Medicaid managed care, and CHIP can now report their annual patient revenue information for funding through the Enhanced Provider Relief Fund Payment Portal Dentists have until August 28, 2020 to apply for funding through the portal. Approved dental providers will receive a reimbursement of 2% of their annual reported patient revenue.

The HHS is currently working with P&R Dental Strategies to identify and quickly distribute stimulus money to dental providers to offset the economic impact of COVID-19 on their practices through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, Paycheck Protection Program, and Health Care Enhancement Act.

We’ve been distributing the Provider Relief Funds as quickly as possible to those providers who have been hardest hit by the pandemic,” HHS Secretary Alex Azar stated in in the July 10 HHS release.

Relief funding comes at a time when dental offices are experiencing a slow down in rebounding, according to data from June 29 provided by the American Dental Association’s (ADA) Health Policy Institute.1 While patient volume has recovered to an average of 70% of pre-COVID-19 levels, patient volumes are now growing at slower rates than previous weeks and re-hiring of employee dentists is behind the pace of dental staff re-hiring. Dental clinics in rural areas that serve patients who rely on medical assistance are also expected to be impacted by the pandemic due to low medical reimbursement rates.

Dental offices and clinics have only recently started providing elective treatments after closing their doors to patients during statewide shutdowns. At that time, dental providers were only able to provide emergency dental services.

Dental providers can apply for funding at cares.linkhealth.com

The Art of Dental Finance & Dental Management podcast hosted by Art Wiedermanprovides valuable and timely information for dentists on the HHS Provider Relief Fund. Listen to the podcast at:  decisionsindentistry.com

REFERENCE

  1. ADA Health Policy Institute COVID-19: Economic Impact on Dental Practices Week of June 29 Results. Available at: surveys.ada.org.reports. Accessed July 15, 2020. 

 

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