In-Office Patient Procedures

Dental offices can use this information to prepare staff for accepting patients before and during arrival, and during and after consultations.


Registration

  • Have hand sanitizer available.
  • Check patient's temperature with thermometer.
  • Complete Patient Screening Form (regardless of fever).
  • Provide wipes or materials to sanitize surface, materials such as pens and clipboards, and anything else high touch.
Should I use a special COVID-19 consent form for patient treatment?

No.  For three reasons:
  • these forms are not really informed consent forms, but attempts at advance liability waivers, tending to create evidence of a lack of informed consent;
  •  New York State has already enacted into law a broad liability immunity for dentists on COVID-19 patient care issues and such forms can compromise that immunity by creating potential contractual liabilities; and
  • such advance liability waivers are unenforceable in New York and contradict classic good risk management principles.
In New York, because of the COVID-19 liability immunity law (see the NYSDA COVID-19 resource page update on this law at: https://www.nysdental.org/docs/librariesprovider37/default-document-library/nys-specific-guidance.pdf for all health care providers, it is a particularly bad idea to create any form that could be construed by a clever attorney as a form of contractual agreement that generates an obligation separate and outside of the protection of the liability immunity statute or that effectively waives that immunity. 

In addition, proper informed consent is not any piece of paper, but relies on the intelligent explanation of risks and benefits of treatment, risks and benefits of non-treatment, and reasonable options for alternative treatments and patient questions to be answered.  As a classic rule of risk management for informed consent, it is never wise to list specific infections as a risk because it creates greater liability exposure for failing to list other specific infections that might occur.  COVID-19 is no different in that respect. 

The proper procedure is to do good pre-screening of patients with respect to COVID-19 and possible patient symptoms, obtain an updated patient medical history that specifically asks about COVID-19, and use the recommended informed consent forms approved by your malpractice insurer (see the NYSDA forms approved for use through MLMIC risk management at: https://www.nysdental.org/member-center/legal-resources/forms-and-documents-for-your-practice

To the extent your malpractice insurer recommends any particular COVID-19 form, the insurer bears the risk of defending you for use of such form and you can rely on the insurer’s approved form given that obligation of the insurer to defend use of its own recommended forms.


HIPAA & Contact Tracing

According to NYSDOH Interim Guidance For Dentistry During The COVID-19 Public Health Emergency, "To the extent possible, Responsible Parties should maintain a daily log of all DHCPs (Dental Healthcare Personnel) and visitors who may have had close contact with other individuals in the in the facility; excluding deliveries that are performed with appropriate PPE or through contactless means. Logs should contain contact information, such that all contacts may be identified, traced, and notified in the event an individual is diagnosed with COVID-19. Responsible Parties shall encourage but not require patient and visitor information as part of this log. Responsible Parties must cooperate with local health department contact tracing efforts." (View the guidance for full information)

Contact Tracing By Public Health Agencies and HIPAA Disclosures

Contact Tracing: Stemming the Spread of COVID-19 

Post-Procedural Patient Exit

  • Include post-op instructions to report any signs or symptoms of COVID-19 within the next ​2 days. The time period recommended for patients to inform the dental clinic if they develop symptoms or are diagnosed with COVID-19 following a dental appointment has been changed to 2 days to align with CDC’s Healthcare Personnel with Potential Exposure Guidance.

Chairside Checklist

Dentist and staff can use this checklist as they prepare the procedures for working in the operatory rooms during the patient's visit and after.

Chairside Checklist


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