Don’t Run with that Hall Pass!!! How to be a Leader in a Panicked Healthcare System.

Greetings!

I’m reaching out to you today because I’m feeling a lot of crazy energy surrounding this Covid-19 Pandemic, and how it is impacting General Dentistry as we know it today. There are many Dental Practices that have already closed their doors for the next couple weeks…or indefinitely until there is more certainty regarding this pandemic. They have cited reasons for these closures such as “The government isn’t allowing more that 10 people to congregate”, or “the ADA recommends dentists shut down for the next three weeks”.

While listening to these stories -or excuses for shutting down- I couldn’t help but question if these were actually “REAL” reasons for shutting down!

  • Did the American Dental Association really just tell Dental Practices to shut down for 3 weeks?
  • Does the governments recommendation of no gatherings of 10 or more people really apply to health care providers?

Inquiring minds need to know…and I felt I needed facts! I couldn’t believe that the Government would just shut down, or limit health care services…I mean…aren’t health care providers and emergency rooms getting busier during this health care crisis???

And what about the American Dental Association…did a private advisory and advocacy group -not a Government agency- really just tell its members to shut down for 3 weeks?

I had to investigate!!! And I’m glad I did!!! Because…

None of that is true!!!

That’s right! You heard me correctly…those above statements aren’t true…yet I’m seeing practices literally SHUT DOWN because they believe those statements to be true!

So I wanted to take this opportunity to ask you to…

STOP!

…for one moment, and read on while I share some FACTS with you so that you and your organization can make better decisions for you and your organization during this time of uncertainty!

Let’s start with the first question of…

  • Did the American Dental Association really just tell Dental Practices to shut down for 3 weeks?

First of all, I had to dive into…” Who is the ADA”? I mean…I know that are a great organization for Dentists…but are they really an authority to tell you to shut down operations?

According to Wikipedia, The American Dental Association is simply a “Professional Association” that is the “world’s largest and oldest national dental association and promotes good oral health to the public while representing the dental profession.” It also goes on to state that the ADA “advocates several positions to legislators in the U.S. Congress. Its agenda includes funding dental research into the safety and effectiveness of amalgam and fluoride, supporting student loans and residency programs for future dentists”. Summed up, the American Dental Association is simply a Professional Trade Association that provides Government Advocacy and Lobbying on behalf of you, the Dentist.

Got it!

So the next question I had was…

Did the ADA really tell dental practices to shut down for 3 weeks?

NO!

According to the ADA (https://www.ada.org/en/publications/ada-news/2020-archive/march/ada-recommending-dentists-postpone-elective-procedures), they state:

“The ADA is deeply concerned for the health and well-being of the public and the dental team. In order for dentistry to do its part to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, the ADA recommends dentists nationwide postpone elective procedures for the next three weeks. Concentrating on emergency dental care will allow us to care for our emergency patients and alleviate the burden that dental emergencies would place on hospital emergency departments.”

At first read, I can absolutely see why people might interpret that as a recommendation to postpone operations for three weeks…but read again and notice how they also recommend that you continue care as to prevent emergency patients from having to visit an already overwhelmed hospital emergency room!

Beyond the read…understand that the ADA is the largest and oldest Dental Association here in the United States, so realize that they HAD to come out with a statement during these times of uncertainty…and at the same time, they had to protect their own ass ets by offering conservative counsel so as not to be held liable in case continued operations resulted in the transmission of a COVID-19 case that led to great sickness or death.

At the end of the day…you, me, and the ADA all know that if you run your practice with the proper hygiene and sterilization protocol that you offer your staff and patients every day, that your practice is one of the cleanest and safest places to be right now! That’s right…even safer than those dirty Emergency Rooms that will never close as well!

Unfortunately, the ADA can’t be as brazen as stating this sentiment because they know that all it takes is one guy pulling a tooth while on a hoverboard to wreck it for everyone!!! So, the ADA needs to offer a conservative, all-encompassing statement that protects everyone…including themselves.

As a business owner myself though…I can’t possibly sit by and watch you just roll over and shut down operations right now when I know deep down that not only are you one of the safest places to be for both patients and staff alike, but you also provide certainty for your community during these times of uncertainty!

But hey…similar to the ADA, I am NOT a Government Agency, so don’t use this letter as a hall pass for your operations!!! Which reminds me of that other question…

  • Does the governments recommendation of no gatherings of 10 or more people really apply to health care providers?

Again…the quick answer to this question is…NO!!!

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has put together a new website called CORONAVIRUS.GOV, where you can get updated information on how to Slow the Spread of the Coronavirus COVID-19. At the very top of their page is a link to “The President’s Coronavirus Guidelines for America — 15 Days to Slow the Spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19)”, which takes you to:

https://www.whitehouse.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/03.16.20_coronavirus-guidance_8.5x11_315PM.pdf

This PDF is “The President’s Coronavirus Guidelines for America”, and it starts with offering information on “15 Days to Slow the Spread”. The second page is where it encourages all of us to

“DO YOUR PART TO SLOW THE SPREAD OF CORONAVIRUS”

This is where people are referring to the groups of 10 people or less…but read how it is stated…

 

AVOID SOCIAL GATHERINGS in groups of more than 10 people.

 

That’s right…the Presidential Directive is clearly written that we should avoid SOCIAL GATHERINGS of more than 10 people. Your dental practice is NOT a social gathering…you are a healthcare service! So this 10 person limit has absolutely nothing to do with you and your Dental practice. Read on further in the Presidential Guidelines…

 

IF YOU WORK IN A CRITICAL INFRASTRUCTURE INDUSTRY

As defined by the Department of Homeland Security, such as healthcare services and pharmaceutical and food supply, you have a special responsibility to maintain your normal work schedule. You and your employers should follow CDC guidance to protect your health at work.

 

Please read that again…

“you have a special responsibility to maintain your normal work schedule.”

That’s right…as a healthcare service provider, you are literally being asked by your President of the United States to “maintain your normal work schedule”.

How does that make you feel? Are you confused? Are you scared?

I know you are…because I am too.

But in these times of great uncertainty, it is our obligation…and our duty to STEP UP and provide certainty for our self, our family, our staff, and our community. Stop looking for excuses to quit, and realize you now have that “hall pass”…directly from the President of the United States to “maintain your normal work schedule”, so you can continue to serve your community as well as prevent Emergency Dental Cases from flowing into an already overwhelmed Emergency Room system at your local hospitals!

In the last three years, I’ve witnessed my clients spend hundreds of hours, and hundreds of thousands of dollars to recruit, hire, and develop great talent for their organization including Dental Assistants, Hygienists, Associate Dentists, and Specialists.

At that same time, these organizations have also spent hundreds of thousands of dollars marketing to, and acquiring, new patients to their practice.

But now I’m starting to see these same organizations start to let this talent go while they shut down operations. And I’m starting to see these same organizations abandon their patients that they spent so much time, effort, and money cultivating.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You now find yourself at a crossroads my friend.

On one path, 

you have the option to take the path of least resistance and just wait this whole thing out,

or

You can take the path of serving you staff, your patients, and your community.

One of these paths will lead to further uncertainty, fear, and scarcity…while the other path will lead to certainty, love, caring, and abundance.

 

“You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”
Mahatma Gandhi

 

Please know that during this time, we here at Innovate Dental Marketing are choosing to serve you in whatever capacity possible. Let us know how we can serve you, and know that we are eager to help you better serve the community where you live.

 

God Bless You,

Michael Fleming
President and CEO
Innovate Dental Marketing

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