California Wildfires | TDIC (The Dentists Insurance Company)
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California Wildfires

WildfiresThe loss of life and devastating damage caused by the Northern and Southern California area wildfires are heartbreaking to say the least. Thousands have been affected as the fires ravage their lives — destroying homes, businesses, schools and entire communities. Several dentists and their staff members have already lost their homes.

The CDA Foundation has established a disaster relief grant for dental professionals.  

  • To help dental professionals in need, the CDA Foundation has established a Disaster Relief Grant for individuals — a one-time, single-installment grant that provides financial assistance of up to $5,000 per California dentist, dental staff member currently employed in the dental field or CDA component dental society staff member. The grant is for immediate and emergency needs (food, shelter, clothing, etc.) as a direct result of the 2018 California wildfires.

If you are a dentist practicing in California and potentially impacted in some way by the California fires, please read the following. TDIC staff is readily available to assist dentists with fire-related issues.

If your practice is affected and you are unable to see patients, here are guidelines that can assist with patient care needs:

  • Be prepared to handle patient emergencies in the following ways:
      • Make arrangements with colleagues in the surrounding area who might be able to accommodate emergency referrals or are willing to accept a temporary time-sharing arrangement to occupy their office off-hours to resume at least partial patient care until your office is operational.
      • If referring patients to another colleague, document discussions with patients and the course of action taken, such as prescribed meds, referred to colleague, advised to go the nearest hospital, etc.
      • If a patient was referred to another colleague, follow up on the status of the referral to determine if the patient was seen and, if so, the services rendered.
  • TDIC offers an online resource “Property: Before and After a Loss” that includes a detailed section on fire loss.

If your dental practice is closed due to the wildfires, here are things you should keep in mind regarding staff:

  • Make every effort to stay in touch with staff on a regular basis to keep them informed of any developments such as anticipated length of office closure, recovery and continuity plan.
  • Establish preferred method of communication with staff.
  • Assign a point of contact/alternate contact for staff to be able to reach the employer/co-workers.
  • Wage and hour questions — the employer is responsible to pay employees for all hours worked. TDIC Risk Management can further advise on this issue and can be reached at 1.800.733.0633.

If you are aware of a missing staff person or know of a missing patient, please do the following:

  • Contact the local county fire department or the police.
  • Comply with any request for records as long as the entity/person requesting the information can verify that they have legal standing to receive the requested information.

If you have questions about your TDIC coverage or policies, please contact the claims department at 1.800.733.0633.

If you need to practice at a temporary location, be sure to consider the following:

  • Be prepared to provide proof of insurance to the practice owner (PL and WC).
  • Discuss office access (key, alarm code), who will have access (i.e. assistant, office manager, etc.), times/days of the week, etc.
  • Consider arrangement for directing deliveries and other communications to the temporary location (calls, mail).
  • Create a list of items such as instruments, charts and any supplies that you may be bringing into the temporary location to ensure that these items are returned to your office at the end of the arrangement.
  • Notify patients of your temporary location via the following: signage at your office (if applicable), answering service, phone messages.
  • Alert the local dental society of your temporary location.
  • Update the information on your office’s website and other social media accounts.
  • Contact the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Diversion Control Division, for assistance with relocating your DEA registered address.