The Massachusetts Dental Society (MDS) Foundation is establishing a recovery fund to assist dentists across the Commonwealth who are facing severe financial impacts associated with closures related to COVID-19.
In a survey of more than 5,000 dentists in Massachusetts, responses indicate that most of these small businesses will need $150,000 to $300,000 in financial relief to reopen their doors. The survey was taken in the early days of the shutdown, the MDS said, making it likely that this estimate of need will rise.
Also, the lack of availability of dental services for residents of Massachusetts during the pandemic has led to a backlog of needed care that is affecting both their oral and overall health, the MDS said.
The MDS Foundation COVID-19 Recovery Fund is hoping to raise $2 million to support the continued viability of community dental offices and dentists due to the increased need for services across the Commonwealth after the extended COVID-19 shutdown.
The Foundation, which has set aside $300,000 to launch the fund, is in the process of developing criteria to determine the most meaningful ways to distribute these funds.
“Every dental practice in the Commonwealth urgently needs a range of financial support to make it through the end of this pandemic,” said Robert Lewando, DDS, chair of the MDS Foundation.
“We’re working with and calling upon all dental stakeholders to make sure communities don’t lose access to the availability of critical oral healthcare services when the COVID-19 pandemic has passed and offices are allowed to reopen to provide necessary care,” said Lewando.
Dental healthcare providers, which often are small businesses with close connections to the communities they serve, were among the first to close their doors to help flatten the curve of COVID-19 across Massachusetts, the MDS said.
Due to those early closures, dental offices are among the small businesses most hurting and in need of financial relief, the MDS said, adding that it was the first dental organization in the nation to advise its members to close offices to protect patients, staff, and communities.
While closed, dental offices also are actively assisting their fellow healthcare professionals, the MDS said. In coordination with the MDS and the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency, dental offices have donated more than 180,000 personal protective equipment (PPE) items to professionals on the frontlines responding to the virus.
Donations to the MDS Foundation COVID-19 Recovery Fund can be made online.