The Health and Human Services (HHS) Enhanced Provider Relief Fund Payment Portal is now open to dentists who previously may not have been eligible funding through the Provider Relief Fund. Eligible dentists will receive a reimbursement of 2% of their annual reported patient revenue and will have until July 24, 2020, to apply through the portal.
The Delta Dental Plans Association (DDPA) says that it applauds the HHS as it makes federal relief funding available for dentists harmed by the COVID-19 pandemic. The company says that its partnership with HHS was integral in ensuring the nation’s dentists were included in the list of providers eligible to receive these funds.
“America called, and Delta Dental answered. Through our engagement with HHS’s senior leadership, Delta Dental was able to share critical data that demonstrated the significant financial harm dentists and dental practices are experiencing due to the current pandemic. As a result, HHS moved to immediately add dentists to the list of providers eligible for this funding,” said Jason Daughn, DDPA’s vice president of government relations.
“As a result, HHS moved to immediately add dentists to the list of providers eligible for this funding. By ensuring dentists have access to funding to safely reopen offices and provide care, we are fulfilling our mission of improving America’s oral health. We are proud to help make a difference in the lives of not just the 156,000 dentists in Delta Dental’s network, but every practicing dentist in America,” said Daughn.
At HHS’s request, DDPA said it provided a significant, national data set including submitted claims (payment requests to an insurance company by a dental provider for covered services) received by Delta Dental companies from across the country for parallel weeks: March through April 2019 and March through April 2020. The statistics, from the number of claims submitted by providers, to patient counts, told a powerful story, DDPA said.
“In the wake of stay-at-home and dental office closure mandates being enforced across the country, the data was clear. The nation’s dentists have been seriously harmed and need this funding,” said Daughn.
DDPA remained in close contact with senior leaders at HHS to provide assistance and support, it said, including how to most efficiently and effectively get relief funding into the hands of dentists. Ultimately, HHS determined that establishing a web portal that providers could visit to request funding was the most practical approach.
According to HHS, dental providers can use this relief funding to cover any number of practice-related costs including but not limited to office leases or rent payments, staff salaries, personal protective equipment, and structural office enhancements.