Governor Abbott Expands Capacity For Certain Services In Texas, Announces Guidance For Nursing Home, Long-Term Care Visitations
Today, Gov. Abbott held a press conference to discuss the status of the COVID-19 pandemic in Texas. He noted the positivity rate continues to decrease across the state because Texans are staying home when they are sick, social distancing, wearing masks and practicing good hand washing hygiene. The governor expects Texas to receive millions of rapid 15 minute COVID tests in the next month, which will play a large role in keeping the spread of COVID-19 down.
Hospital capacity remains the most accurate metric we have in evaluating COVID-19. When hospitalizations are high, the state needs to react and put in place restrictions. When hospitalizations are down, the state can implement reopening policies.
Because hospitalizations are down in most regions in Texas, the governor announced the loosening of some restrictions in 19 out of 22 hospital regions in Texas. In Trauma Service Areas where COVID-19 hospitalizations are less than 15% of all hospitalizations, the region can increase its capacity restrictions from 50% to 75% for retail, restaurants, libraries and office buildings beginning Monday, September 22. In these regions, beginning September 24, nursing home facilities can also allow a primary caregiver to visit a patient. Bars throughout Texas must remain closed.
Effective immediately in regions where hospitalizations for COVID are less than 15% of all hospitalizations, there are no restrictions on elective procedures. All hospitals, however, must reserve at least 10% of their capacity for COVID-19 treatment. Individual hospitals within a hospital system consisting of more than one member hospital may reserve less than 10 percent capacity, so long as the hospital system’s cumulative reserved capacity within the same Trauma Service Area is at least 10%.
Regions with more than 15% COVID hospitalizations, including the Rio Grande Valley, Laredo and Victoria, cannot expand their restrictions. This includes: Calhoun, Cameron, DeWitt, Goliad, Hidalgo, Jackson, Jim Hogg, Lavaca, Starr, Victoria, Webb, Willacy and Zapata counties.
View the Governor’s Executive Order related to expanded capacity of certain services.
View the Governor’s Executive Order related to hospital capacity.
New Human Trafficking CE Required for Dental Providers
New Human Trafficking CE Required for Dental Providers
The Texas State Board of Dental Examiners has posted guidance on the newly required human trafficking prevention training for healthcare providers. This training is required for all dental health care personnel, including dentists, hygienists and dental assistants applying for license renewal on or after September 1, 2020. Licensees must continue to complete an approved course each subsequent renewal cycle.
This new training requirement is a result of House Bill 2059, which passed during the 2019 legislative session. Health care practitioners are in a unique position to intervene in human trafficking. Victims and survivors of human trafficking may be seen at local clinics, emergency departments, or other medical settings and the health care team’s actions can make a life-saving difference. This training is meant to provide you with a variety of resources to inform and support planning for that critical response.
This one hour course is completely free and will apply to the 24 hours of CE required for each biennial renewal cycle.
To read TSBDE’s full memo, please visit: https://tsbde.texas.gov/new-human-trafficking-prevention-training-required/
Provider Relief Fund: Medicaid/CHIP and Dental Deadline Extended
The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) announced that providers participating in state Medicaid programs, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and/or Medicaid/CHIP-managed care programs now have until Aug. 3, 2020, to apply for funding under the approximately $15 billion Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund (Provider Relief Fund) Medicaid and CHIP Distribution (Medicaid and CHIP Distribution).
Similarly, on July 20, 2020, HHS also extended the deadline until Aug. 3, 2020, for dental providers to apply for Provider Relief Fund payments (Dental Distribution).
For more information, please visit: https://www.mcguirewoods.com/client-resources/Alerts/2020/7/provider-relief-fund-medicaid-chip-dental-deadline-extended-more-funds-hard-hit-hospitals
TAPD Officer Spotlight—Angela Lopez-Loverich
Name: Angela Lopez-Loverich
Number of years in practice: Eight: two practicing general dentistry and six as a board certified pediatric dentist.
Where you went to dental school and completed residency: The University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio-Doctorate of Dental Surgery and The University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio-Certificate of Specialty in Pediatric Dentistry.
Number of years as a TAPD member: Eight
What made you decide to get involved as a TAPD officer: I decided to pursue an officer position because I wanted to have a voice and positively impact the future of pediatric dentistry. When I first completed my residency program and was a new member, I learned how much
legislation shapes our profession.
What is your goal for the year: My goal for this year is to learn as much as I can from my fellow executive board members, Dr. Ben Morgan and Dr. Steve Siedow, to prepare myself for the future. I will also be working on navigating our CE committee during this pandemic in order to continue to provide quality CE from a distance.
What have you learned in your time as a TAPD member: I have learned how important organized dentistry is for the welfare of our profession—without it, our profession would be in the hands of others who do not fully understand patient care.
What surprised you the most about the legislative process: While the amount of organization and persistence needed to bring about real change for our profession is daunting, we are fortunate to have such a dedicated group representing Texas pediatric dentists.
What are you most proud of about TAPD: We continue to grow our numbers and strengthen TAPD, which indicates that our members see a value in what we do for them. We are on the frontline of decision making in our state and help control the direction of pediatric dentistry. We gain so much knowledge from one another as active pediatric dentists working in different climates. Our leadership and board members donate their time to better our future as pediatric dentists. We have also started to create CE of great value to our members while still having fun.
UnitedHealthcare Dental Touch-base Webinar on June 28
UnitedHealthcare Dental is hosting a “touch-base” webinar on Tuesday, July 28, 2020 at 6:00 p.m. CDT.
The United team will cover important updates, including the dental plan’s:
• Response to the COVID-19 pandemic;
• Medicaid and CHIP program readiness review and operational activities;
• Member enrollment; and
• Marketing and outreach efforts.
Please help spread the word. Dental providers can register for the webinar at:
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.
Feel free to contact me if you have questions.
Elizabeth LaMair | Deputy Managing Director | Austin, TX | Sellers Dorsey | Cell 512.796.6009
Reminder: Applications for Medicaid/CHIP Relief Fund Due July 20th
The deadline for Medicaid and CHIP providers to apply for the Medicaid/CHIP Provider Relief Fund is July 20, 2020.
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 see the flyer below or visit: https://www.hhs.gov/coronavirus/cares-act-provider-relief-fund/for-providers/index.html
Governor Issues Proclamation to Expand Hospital Capacity
Today, Governor Abbott amended Executive Order GA-27 to increase hospital capacity throughout the state. Effective at 11:59 p.m. on Friday, July 10, 2020, Abbott directs all hospitals in the following 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:
Austin, Andrews, Aransas, Atascosa, Bandera, Bastrop, Bee, Blanco, Bosque, Brazoria, Brewster, Brooks, Burnet, Caldwell, Calhoun, Chambers, Coke, Colorado, Comal, Concho, Crane, Crockett, DeWitt, Dimmit, Duval, Ector, Edwards, Falls, Fayette, Fort Bend, Frio, Galveston, Gillespie, Glasscock, Goliad, Gonzales, Guadalupe, Hardin, Hays, Hill, Howard, Irion, Jackson, Jasper, Jeff Davis, Jefferson, Jim Hogg, Jim Wells, Karnes, Kendall, Kenedy, Kerr, Kimble, Kinney, Kleberg, La Salle, Lavaca, Lee, Liberty, Limestone, Live Oak, Llano, Loving, Martin, Mason, Matagorda, Maverick, McCulloch, McLennan, McMullen, Medina, Menard, Midland, Montgomery, Newton, Orange, Pecos, Presidio, Reagan, Real, Reeves, Refugio, Runnels, San Patricio, San Saba, Schleicher, Starr Sterling, Sutton, Terrell, Tom Green, Uvalde, Upton, Val Verde, Victoria, Walker, Waller, Ward, Wharton, Willacy, Williamson, Wilson, Winkler, Zapata, and Zavala counties.
These counties join Bexar, Cameron, Dallas, Harris, Hidalgo, Nueces, Travis, and Webb counties that are already included in the order.
N95s Available For Texas Dentists
Texas dentists are now eligible to order up to 5 boxes of N95 respirators, while supplies last. Shipments of the N95 respirators will be in allotments of 20 per package/order. This is a result of the way the manufacturer, BYD, packaged the N95 respirators for the State of Texas. There will be a nominal fee of $20.60 per box to cover costs associated with processing, handling, and shipping plus credit card fees. The total fee charged will not surpass the fees assumed. Please be patient with the ordering process as demand will likely be high.
To order N95’s, please visit: https://www.summitppe.com/
This offer is extended to all dentists –not just TDA members.
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.