Lee SlatonBy Lee Slaton, Vice President of Healthcare; Smart Training

On Aug. 24, the Texas State Board of Dental Examiners (TSBDE) unanimously voted to adopt a new COVID-19 emergency rule (22 Texas Administrative Code §108.7[16]).

This rule was adopted in response to Governor Greg Abbott’s Executive Order (GA-19) dictating the minimum standards for safe dental practice during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Highlights of the new emergency rule include allowing:

  • Dentists to manage patient workflow according to their independent professional judgment—no longer requiring dental health care personnel (DHCP) to complete the full treatment of one patient before leaving the treatment area and moving on to another patient;
  • DHCP to use high-speed instruments (e.g., cavitron) for hygiene services; and
  • DHCP to remove PPE without changing from scrubs before returning home.

The newly amended rule went into effect on August 25, 2020 and will remain in effect until December 23, 2020, unless Governor Abbott’s disaster declaration is terminated.

Texas dentists choosing to fully treat dental patients starting May 1, 2020, must still conduct their dental practices according to Governor Abbott’s Executive Order GA-19 and the TSBDE’s new amended emergency rule.

Some Thoughts

We’re six months into the pandemic, and past tired of dealing with the additional hassles associated with it. Some Texans have lost their livelihoods, their homes, and their lives.

But let’s all be smart and stay safe! A couple weeks ago, I was forced to set up shop for four days in a major Dallas-area hospital due to an accident. I was able to observe the protocols it enacted to deal with the pandemic. I had the “opportunity” to visit with a lot of frontline healthcare providers. And the reports I received were chilling. What I heard time and again was: it’s a huge effort, but we just can’t afford to take our foot off the gas as we go about our daily routine. That’s just as applicable to DHCP as it is to MHCP.

Smart Training is offering free of charge (for the next year) a package of training modules that includes OSHA and HIPPA-related courses and a module on recommendations for the Coronavirus in dentistry. You can sign yourself or your staff up for the free training here. Smart Training has assisted more than 15,000 dental professionals with their compliance needs over the last eight years.