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Some dental offices charging extra fee to cover rising PPE costs

We learned fees can be as low as $10 to as high as $40 per visit.

Posted: Jun 12, 2020 4:39 PM
Updated: Jun 15, 2020 9:00 AM

The number of coronavirus cases in North Alabama rises, and now, some industries are finding ways to cover the costs of personal protective equipment.

The American Dental Association is urging dental practices to implement a fee to help offset the new cost.

WAAY 31 spoke with a North Alabama dentist about how it'll affect your visits at the dentist office.

Now, when you go to some dental offices, you may be paying just a little bit more for your visit and it's only because they want to protect you but also protecting themselves for personal protection equipment.

"We want to give the best care in a comfortable, safe environment, and I can assure them they are walking into a safe, clean environment," said Dr. Sonya Wintzell.

Wintzell owns Dental Professionals on Whitesburg Drive in Huntsville. They've made several changes since coronavirus hit North Alabama.

In addition to closing for six weeks and limiting the number of people in the office, they're now charging an extra $15 per appointment to help pay for the rising costs of PPE.

"It doesn't cover everything, but it covers enough to help us," said Wintzell.

Wintzell told WAAY 31 they sent an email to all of their patients explaining the fee.

Under new regulations, dentists must switch out their PPE more often. That means the office has to buy more plastic to cover everything in the appointment room, more face shields for staff and more gowns for dentists.

Gowns alone are $10 each and must be changed after every patient, and with 50 people in the office, that's nearly $500 a day for just one type PPE.

Wintzell wants you to know the precautions guarantee everyone's safety, including yours.

"We're not just dealing with blood, but we're also dealing with aerosols with the saliva and that's where you'd be directly assaulted, through the aerosols for the whole appointment," she said.

We've reached out to Delta Dental and Blue Cross Blue Shield on if they'll cover the costs under insurance and we're waiting to hear back.

Wintzell told us several dental offices are filing them as insurance claims to let companies know they'd like to be covered.

"Dentists that are submitting this PPE codes, the insurance companies are hearing that and they're responding," she said.

Right now, she knows Delta Dental is looking into it and CIGNA already covers the fee.

Once the demand for the PPE goes down, Wintzel says she'll remove the charge. But for now, it's there to keep you and her staff free of any germs.

We also learned some dental offices may not charge the personal protection fee, but may just be increasing the amount of your service to help cover the costs.

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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 94827

Reported Deaths: 1674
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson12743242
Mobile9565206
Montgomery6521148
Madison525030
Tuscaloosa410371
Unassigned347461
Baldwin344323
Shelby320133
Marshall309034
Lee262844
Morgan233017
Etowah207530
DeKalb177113
Calhoun170413
Elmore169438
Walker150264
Houston136412
Russell13422
Dallas131123
St. Clair131016
Limestone128413
Franklin125820
Cullman120112
Colbert115613
Lauderdale113917
Autauga106521
Escambia105416
Talladega98613
Jackson9454
Tallapoosa84979
Chambers83538
Dale82323
Blount7743
Chilton7676
Butler75935
Coffee7475
Covington72620
Pike6907
Barbour5695
Lowndes56724
Marion56724
Marengo54614
Clarke4969
Hale46726
Bullock45411
Winston44411
Perry4364
Wilcox41810
Bibb4164
Monroe4154
Randolph39410
Pickens3849
Conecuh38210
Sumter36218
Lawrence3441
Macon33213
Washington32712
Crenshaw3133
Choctaw27912
Cherokee2637
Geneva2550
Henry2523
Greene25011
Clay2495
Lamar2172
Fayette1985
Cleburne1251
Coosa1012
Out of AL00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 118782

Reported Deaths: 1206
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Shelby22635302
Davidson20185212
Rutherford640453
Hamilton597052
Knox440737
Williamson344825
Sumner336573
Unassigned30809
Out of TN284216
Wilson222923
Montgomery188313
Bradley187412
Sevier18307
Putnam171717
Trousdale15826
Robertson152119
Hamblen137214
Blount124310
Washington12002
Tipton11839
Maury11787
Madison102417
Sullivan93312
Bedford90811
Hardeman87517
Macon85613
Lake7820
Loudon7183
Bledsoe6901
Fayette6708
Gibson6705
Anderson6686
Dickson6662
Dyer6197
Cheatham5737
Jefferson5523
Henderson5472
Lawrence5346
McMinn52420
Rhea5221
Obion5194
Coffee5073
Warren4984
Carter4976
Lauderdale4878
Haywood4576
Hardin4538
Cocke4502
Greene4477
Smith4464
Hawkins4357
Roane4332
Cumberland4126
Monroe4079
Weakley3974
Giles36913
McNairy3665
DeKalb3392
Franklin3134
Carroll2903
Marshall2833
Lincoln2761
White2735
Henry2660
Crockett2604
Johnson2580
Claiborne2550
Hickman2530
Campbell2391
Wayne2252
Marion2164
Chester2112
Decatur1983
Polk1953
Grainger1940
Overton1751
Unicoi1560
Union1500
Cannon1420
Benton1391
Humphreys1203
Jackson1181
Scott1180
Grundy1112
Morgan1031
Sequatchie1020
Meigs1010
Fentress880
Hancock781
Perry770
Clay740
Stewart730
Lewis711
Moore600
Houston570
Van Buren350
Pickett311

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