Wildfires in the West continue to inflict devastating damage on homes, businesses and entire communities. The Dentists Insurance Company is here to support you in protecting your family, dental team and practice.
If you are a dentist practicing along the West coast who has been affected by the fires, please read the guidance below. Your TDIC Insurance Solutions advisors, Risk Management analysts and in-house claims team are all readily available to help you navigate preparing for and recovering from 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.
- A recent Liability Lifeline also provides guidance to safeguard your practice and protect property.
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.
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 800.733.0633. If you are in Oregon or Washington, please call 800.452.0504.
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.