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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

Cases: 490220

Reported Deaths: 9744
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson704661342
Mobile35810721
Madison32203443
Tuscaloosa23961409
Montgomery22417489
Shelby21773211
Baldwin19635272
Lee14883147
Morgan13571248
Etowah13118312
Calhoun13090283
Marshall11212203
Houston10036257
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St. Clair8771220
Lauderdale8570210
DeKalb8419173
Talladega7450162
Walker6492249
Jackson6466102
Autauga617285
Blount6072125
Colbert5978118
Coffee5229100
Dale4614106
Russell401431
Franklin397675
Covington3948105
Chilton383196
Escambia376670
Tallapoosa3559139
Clarke342749
Dallas3396140
Chambers3393103
Pike292771
Lawrence281284
Marion280793
Winston245665
Bibb243759
Marengo238554
Geneva238468
Pickens223554
Barbour209550
Hale208464
Fayette199356
Butler195165
Henry182341
Cherokee176338
Monroe165638
Randolph162740
Washington156233
Crenshaw143353
Clay143254
Macon140543
Cleburne136539
Lamar131632
Lowndes130148
Wilcox120825
Bullock116534
Conecuh106523
Perry105327
Sumter98231
Coosa86823
Greene86732
Choctaw54723
Out of AL00
Unassigned00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 768946

Reported Deaths: 11266
CountyCasesDeaths
Shelby866001472
Davidson80790841
Knox45241571
Hamilton39979454
Rutherford37906375
Williamson25011202
Sumner21166312
Montgomery17207207
Out of TN1667091
Wilson16194209
Unassigned15662125
Sullivan14169273
Blount13929178
Bradley12734138
Washington12671231
Maury12141159
Sevier11889161
Putnam10537168
Madison10049226
Robertson8886118
Hamblen7958161
Anderson7893155
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McMinn586289
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Loudon563164
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Lawrence554681
Warren529875
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Dyer5222101
Hawkins518793
Franklin470684
Fayette463771
Obion435794
Rhea411773
Lincoln410561
Cocke396192
Marshall388354
Cheatham385743
Campbell378158
Weakley377559
Giles371095
Henderson361173
Carroll346881
Hardeman337663
Macon335073
White333965
Hardin329762
Lauderdale309342
Henry298975
Marion290244
Wayne286430
Scott285042
Overton283757
Claiborne273666
McNairy265051
Haywood264359
Hickman262840
DeKalb261548
Smith253336
Grainger240746
Trousdale237922
Morgan228537
Fentress228344
Johnson215038
Chester200647
Bledsoe198210
Crockett196946
Unicoi179347
Cannon173628
Polk173621
Union168930
Lake167326
Grundy166330
Sequatchie153927
Decatur153137
Humphreys151321
Benton149939
Lewis145724
Meigs125421
Jackson124834
Stewart123124
Clay106230
Perry102527
Houston102330
Moore93616
Van Buren79120
Pickett74723
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