News

Governor Abbott Establishes Statewide Face Covering Requirement

Today, Governor Abbott issued an Executive Order which requires that a face mask shall be worn inside a commercial entity or when in an outdoor public space, wherever it is not feasible to maintain six feet of social distancing from someone not in your same household.  A person does not have to wear a face mask if: 

1)      a person is younger than 10 years of age;

2)      a person has a medical condition or disability that prevents wearing a face covering;

3)       a person is consuming food or drink, or is seated at a restaurant to eat or drink;

4)      a person is (a) exercising outdoors or engaging in physical activity outdoors, and (b) maintaining a safe distance from other people not in the same household;

5)      a person is driving alone or with passengers who are part of the same household as the driver;

6)      a person is obtaining a service that requires temporary removal of the face covering for security surveillance, screening, or a need for specific access to the face, such as while visiting a bank or while obtaining a personal care service involving the face, but only to the extent necessary for the temporary removal;

7)      a person is in a swimming pool, lake, or similar body of water;

8)      a person  is voting, assisting a voter, serving as a poll watcher, or actively administering an election, but wearing a face covering is strongly encouraged;

9)      a person is actively providing or obtaining access to religious worship, but wearing a face covering is strongly encouraged;

10)   a person is giving a speech for a broadcast or to an audience; or

11)   a person is in a county (a) that meets the requisite criteria the Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) regarding minimal cases of COVID-19, and (b) whose county judge has affirmatively opted-out of this face-covering requirement by filing with TDEM the required face-covering attestation form—provided, however, that wearing a face covering is highly recommended, and every county is strongly encouraged to follow these face-covering standards.

A person in violation of the order can receive up to a $250 fine for each violation, however the first violation shall be issued a warning.  

Governor Abbott Issues Proclamation To Expand Hospital Capacity In Four Additional Texas Counties

Effective at midnight on July 1, the Governor has extended his executive order prohibiting certain non-essential surgeries and procedures to Nueces County, Cameron County, Webb County, and Hidalgo County.  Under this order, the Governor directs all hospitals in these counties to postpone surgeries and procedures that are not immediately, medically necessary to correct a serious medical condition or to preserve the life of a patient who without immediate performance of the surgery or procedure would be at risk for serious adverse medical consequences or death, as determined by the patient’s physician.

Nueces, Cameron, Webb, and Hidalgo counties join Bexar, Dallas, Harris and Travis county in this restriction. 

For Immediate Distribution  |  June 30, 2020  |  (512) 463-1826
Governor Abbott Issues Proclamation To Expand Hospital Capacity In Four Additional Texas Counties

AUSTIN – Governor Greg Abbott today issued a proclamation suspending elective surgeries at hospitals in Cameron, Hidalgo, Nueces, and Webb counties to help ensure hospital bed availability for COVID-19 patients in these communities. This proclamation amends the Governor’s previous Executive Order to include these four counties in addition to Bexar, Dallas, Harris, and Travis counties. 

“As these counties experience a surge in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, we are committed to working alongside hospitals to help ensure that every COVID-19 patient who needs a bed will have access to one,” said Governor Abbott. “We are constantly monitoring the data at the local level and will continue to take precautionary action where it is necessary. I want to remind all Texans that each of us have a responsibility to help slow the spread of this virus, and I urge everyone to wear a mask, wash their hands regularly, practice social distancing, and stay home if possible.” 

Under the Executive Order, the Governor directs all hospitals in these counties to postpone surgeries and procedures that are not immediately, medically necessary to correct a serious medical condition or to preserve the life of a patient who without immediate performance of the surgery or procedure would be at risk for serious adverse medical consequences or death, as determined by the patient’s physician. Through proclamation, the Governor can add or subtract from the list of counties included in the Executive Order to address surges in hospitalizations that may arise in other parts of the state.

Governor Abbott Issues Executive Order Expanding Hospital Capacity

Today, Governor Abbott issued Executive Order GA-27 that will limit elective surgeries at hospitals in Bexar, Dallas, Harris and Travis counties.  Under this order, the Governor directs all hospitals in these counties to postpone all surgeries and procedures that are not immediately, medically necessary to correct a serious medical condition or to preserve the life of a patient who without immediate performance of the surgery or procedure would be at risk for serious adverse medical consequences or death, as determined by the patient’s physician. 

At this time, the Executive Order only applies to four counties, however, additional counties can be added as hospital capacity is needed. 

For Immediate Distribution  |  June 25, 2020 |  (512) 463-1826
Governor Abbott Issues Executive Order Expanding Hospital Capacity
Order Suspends Elective Surgeries in Four Texas Counties 

AUSTIN – Governor Greg Abbott today issued an Executive Order to ensure hospital bed availability for COVID-19 patients as Texas faces an increase in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. The Governor’s order suspends elective surgeries at hospitals in Bexar, Dallas, Harris, and Travis counties. Under this order, the Governor directs all hospitals in these counties to postpone all surgeries and procedures that are not immediately, medically necessary to correct a serious medical condition or to preserve the life of a patient who without immediate performance of the surgery or procedure would be at risk for serious adverse medical consequences or death, as determined by the patient’s physician.  

Through proclamation, the Governor can add or subtract from the list of counties included in the Executive Order to address surges in hospitalizations that may arise in other parts of the state. 

“As Texas faces a rise in COVID-19 cases, we are focused on both slowing the spread of this virus and maintaining sufficient hospital capacity for COVID-19 patients,” said Governor Abbott. “These four counties have experienced significant increases in people being hospitalized due to COVID-19 and today’s action is a precautionary step to help ensure that the hospitals in these counties continue to have ample supply of available beds to treat COVID-19 patients. As we work to contain this virus, I urge all Texans to do their part to help contain the spread by washing their hands regularly, wearing a mask, and practicing social distancing.”

TAPD Officer Spotlight—Benjamin Morgan

Name: Benjamin Morgan

Position: Vice President

Number of years in practice: Seven

Where you went to dental school and completed residency: Baylor and Baylor

Number of years as a TAPD member: Nine total, two as a student member.

What made you decide to get involved as a TAPD officer: Dr. McWhorter, our chair and program director at Baylor, required us to go to meetings in residency and we really enjoyed every meeting. I had a lot of admiration for the people at these meetings and I wanted to have a professional life like theirs.

What is your goal for the year: Support Steven’s big agenda and be a “glue guy” and fill in the voids were I am needed. I am specifically tasked with the Bylaws and Membership committees. We will write and ratify bylaw amendments and likely initiate the TAPD policy manual to help align with AAPD. Membership committee will focus on educating new residents on organized dentistry, making sure our practicing members are heard and their wishes are met, reaching out to dentists who are new to Texas and—most importantly—making sure the membership knows they are welcome at any board meeting. Come join us in person or online!

What have you learned in your time as a TAPD member: If you are not at the table you are on the menu. In the past, we have not been consulted prior to major changes, like slashing our clinical practice purview or our reimbursements. We better be ready to step up and speak up.

What surprised you the most about the legislative process: It is not as adversarial as it appears on the news—there are many on different “sides of the aisle,” but there is a respect for the craft and the call to serve. Also, the young staffers run a lot more of the Capitol than we realize—they work very hard for all of us.

What are you most proud of about TAPD: The ridiculous amount of work these people get done for the practicing community—it is unreal for a volunteer organization. Sealants, coronal polishing, stopping tons of rate cuts, keeping sedation in our offices, and the list goes on and on…

Upcoming State Medicaid Managed Care Advisory Subcommittee Meetings

Several State Medicaid Managed Care Advisory Subcommittees are meeting this week, and it’s critical that pediatric dentists continue to stay informed and involved in this process. Learn more about these subcommittees here: https://hhs.texas.gov/about-hhs/leadership/advisory-committees/state-medicaid-managed-care-advisory-committee/smmcac-subcommittees

Agendas and registration details can be found at each link below.

June 25, 2020

June 26, 2020

Letter to Gov. Abbott on Medicaid

TAPD Signs on to Medicaid Safety Net Letter

TAPD has joined eight other organizations in endorsing a letter sent by the Texas Senate Democratic Caucus calling on Gov. Greg Abbott to support the state’s Medicaid and CHIP programs through a variety of measures. Read the full text of the letter here:

Medicaid/CHIP Provider Relief Fund Payment

HHS has announced it will distribute approximately $15 billion in  COVID-19 disaster relief to Medicaid and CHIP providers that were excluded from prior distributions.   HHS has launched a Provider Relief Fund Payment Portal that will allow Medicaid and CHIP providers to report their annual patient revenue. The portal can be found here:  https://www.hhs.gov/coronavirus/cares-act-provider-relief-fund/for-providers/index.html

Payment to each eligible provider will be at least 2% of reported gross revenue from patient care. Dentists are eligible for this funding, but you must have billed Medicaid/CHIP for services between January 1, 2018 and May 31, 2020 and you must not have received payments from the Provider Relief Fund General Distribution. 

For more information on eligibility and the application process, please visit https://www.hhs.gov/coronavirus/cares-act-provider-relief-fund/general-information/index.html

TAPD Officer Spotlight—Steve Siedow

Name: Steve Siedow

Position: President

Number of years in practice: Four

Where you went to dental school and completed residency: The University of Texas at San Antonio / Texas A&M College of Dentistry

Number of years as a TAPD member: Four

What made you decide to get involved as a TAPD officer: Organized dentistry was emphasized throughout my dental education, and I felt it was important to incorporate that into my professional life. I feel a responsibility to give back. I believe it was the late, great, Dr. Paul Taylor who once said “there’s more to pediatric dentistry than just drilling and filling holes.” Our practice in McAllen has followed that motto.

What is your goal for the year: My goal is to continue to push forward our legislative agenda and continue to provide guidance to the managed care organizations.

What have you learned in your time as a TAPD member: Every decision that is made is done as a group. Everything we publish has been discussed at length by both local and nationally recognized providers. The caliber of individuals involved at TAPD is phenomenal and I love learning from them each and every time we get together.

What surprised you the most about the legislative process: I am always surprised how fragile the legislative process is and how massive decisions are influenced by people who have no clear picture of dentistry in general. We have taken great strides to become patient advocates and more integrated in the state’s legislative process.

What are you most proud of about TAPD: We are one of the nation’s premier pediatric dental organizations. Other states look to us for guidance. Our position has been built by the work of few, yet many benefit. It is imperative that we keep expanding our efforts to help not only the kids, but also the wonderful providers who have the privilege to treat them.

SAVE THE DATE: Important TSBDE and HHSC Meetings

The Texas State Board of Dental Examiners (TSBDE) will meet via telephone at 8:30 a.m. on June 5.  The agenda can be found here:  https://tsbde.texas.gov/78i8ljhbj/Board-Meeting-Agenda-6.5.2020.pdf

The following TSBDE committees will meet on June 4: 

Licensing Committee: 10:00 a.m. https://tsbde.texas.gov/78i8ljhbj/Licensing-Committee-Agenda.pdf

Dental Practice Committee: 1:00 p.m. https://tsbde.texas.gov/78i8ljhbj/Dental-Practice-Committee-Agenda.pdf

Anesthesia Committee: 2:00 p.m. https://tsbde.texas.gov/78i8ljhbj/Anesthesia-Committee-Agenda.pdf

The State Medicaid Managed Care Advisory Committee will meet on June 26. Agenda is forthcoming: https://hhs.texas.gov/about-hhs/leadership/advisory-committees/state-medicaid-managed-care-advisory-committee