COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

In this unprecedented health crisis, TDIC is making every effort to ease dentists’ burdens and provide useful information available to help guide them.

Below are some resources to better serve policyholders during this difficult and uncertain time.

TDIC will continue to provide information and updates about COVID-19 on this page. Your state dental association may also provide trusted guidance and resources.

 
COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions

TDIC continues to receive inquiries from TDIC policyholders on how to assess and manage the risk of potential exposure.

Does my TDIC professional liability policy cover teledentistry?

TDIC policyholders generally have the same professional liability protection from legal obligations resulting from claims of wrongful or neglectful practices, whether the care is delivered in person or through teledentistry modes. However, TDIC can’t make blanket coverage determinations, and a claim would have to be submitted for TDIC to fully evaluate coverage for your particular case.

Telehealth is not without risks, and while the scope of coverage under the policy remains the same, dentists must adhere to proper protocols and the current limits of their state licensure to ensure they are insurable with TDIC upon renewal. Contact your trusted TDIC advisor to learn more or discuss coverage specific to your situation.

Do the patient’s dental benefits cover telemedicine? Will I be reimbursed for virtual visits?

The ADA continues to provide evolving guidance on the use of the teledentistry codes. Refer to COVID-19 Coding and Billing Interim Guidance for help with issues related to virtual appointments during the current pandemic.

Many benefit plans are experiencing response delays as they transition to remote work environments. Online portals may provide access to your patients’ eligibility, benefits, treatment history, frequencies, remaining maximums and deductibles. And one of the easiest ways to reduce the risk of slow-pay claims is to submit electronically.

What about privacy and HIPAA concerns?

When using telehealth technology, especially when practice staff who are working remotely have access to patient data, dentists should have protocols in place to protect the patient and the practice from risk.

The communications technology should not be public facing. Examples of nonpublic facing technologies include Skype, Apple FaceTime and video chat via Facebook Messenger, Jabber, WhatsApp and Google Hangouts. In normal circumstances, HIPAA requires a covered entity to have a business associate agreement with these platforms and include them in security risk analyses prior to use. Once the current emergency ceases, covered entities are expected to again be in full compliance with the regulations.

The Office for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recently issued guidance on telehealth remote communications following its “Notification of Enforcement Discretion.” The OCR is currently exercising its enforcement discretion to not impose penalties for HIPAA violations against health care providers in connection with their good faith provision of telehealth using communication technologies during the COVID-19 nationwide public health emergency. Learn more about the HHS notification and get additional guidance from the OCR about HIPAA and telehealth.

While dentists are always mindful of privacy and confidentiality concerns, remember that best practices protect the patient experience and practice reputation whether or not OCR violations are enforced.

What about cybersecurity risks?

The utilization of new technologies often brings new security considerations. The facilitation of telehealth may create new cyber exposures for the practice. Existing technologies may already have exposures that could adversely affect your ability to securely provide telehealth. Contact your TDIC trusted advisor to discuss possible exposures, coverage implications and steps to reduce your risk.

Be aware that ransomware hackers are already using the COVID-19 pandemic to their advantage. TDIC will keep you informed about emerging risks and timely prevention and response tactics. If you are a TDIC policyholder, you can login to access our Cyber Liability Guide and Cyber Event Checklist under Risk Management Reference Guides.

Can telehealth care be provided across state lines? What are the licensure requirements?

Dentists are cautioned to only see patients who are located in a state in which they are licensed or authorized to see patients under a federal or state waiver. The delivery of teledentistry services must comply with each state’s scope of practice laws or regulations.

According to the patients’ rights in the ADA Policy on Teledentistry, dental patients have the right to expect that any dentist delivering services using teledentistry technologies will be licensed in the state where the patient receives services or be providing these services as otherwise authorized by that state’s dental board. Additionally, patients have the right to access the licensure and board certification qualifications of the oral health care practitioner who is providing the care in advance of the visit.

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Contact TDIC

800.733.0633
[email protected]

For policyholders in Idaho, Oregon, Montana, Tennessee or Washington, call 800.452.0504.

TDIC Endorsed Brokers

TDIC Insurance Solutions
California, Arizona, Illinois, Minnesota and Nevada
Phone:800.733.0633
Email: [email protected]

Montana, Oregon and Tennessee
Phone: 800.452.0504
Email: [email protected]

Conrad-Houston Insurance (Alaska)
Phone: 907.276.7667
www.chialaska.com

Idaho Dentist Insurance Agency (IDIA)
Phone: 208.371.3052
Email: [email protected]
www.theisda.org

Jerry Hay, Inc. (Hawaii)
Phone: 808.521.1841

Mid-Atlantic Insurance Resources (New Jersey)
Phone: 877.476.4588
Email: [email protected]
www.midatlanticir.com

Pennsylvania Dental Association Insurance Services (PDAIS)
Phone: 717.234.6530
www.pdais.com

Washington State Dentists’ Insurance Agency (WDIA)
Phone: 800.282.9342
www.wdiains.com