Empower Wisconsin | May 8, 2020
By M.D. Kittle
MADISON — The destructive incompetence of the Evers’ administration’s lockdown has locked dental care in limbo and created mass confusion among dentists.
Sources tell Empower Wisconsin that the Dentistry Examining Board earlier this week issued a statement that appeared to authorize the re-opening of dental offices around the state to routine dental care. About 90 minutes later, the statement mysteriously disappeared.
“The Department of Health Services’ Emergency Order #28 recognizes dental offices as essential to the healthcare of Wisconsin citizens. Dental offices can stay open to provide care to their patients, recognizing that a delay in routine care can lead to unintended health consequences. Dental offices will be required to continue practicing universal precautions in addition to following the Covid-19 guidelines set by the American Dental Association, Wisconsin Department of Health Services, and outlined by the Governor’s Safe Business Practices.”
Sources say the board was told to take down the notice. It’s not clear whether that order came from the Department of Health Services, which has grabbed immense power in locking down the state, including “nonessential” health care. DHS did not respond to questions from Empower Wisconsin.
While Gov. Tony Evers’ stay-at-home edict allowed that dental care providers are essential, his Department of Health Services “strongly recommends” dental practices “postpone all elective procedures, surgeries and non-emergent dental visits.”
“Dental care provided should be limited to necessary emergency services,” DHS notes on its webpage.
Dentists know that DHS’ “guidance” isn’t advisory.
In a botched conference call Wednesday, officials from the Dentistry Examining Board told frustrated oral health care professionals that those not following the DHS rules could be subject to board action, which could include revocation of licensees and even fines and imprisonment, a Milwaukee area dentist who was on the call told Empower Wisconsin.
The dentist said the video conference was pandemonium.
“The virtual meeting was overwhelmed by people trying to get into the meeting,” he said. The Skype platform used allows only about 250 participants at one time, he said, which meant “a whole bunch of people trying to get in couldn’t.”
A state attorney advised the dental board to postpone the meeting and reschedule it. The session was shut down after board officials announced the meeting would be rescheduled for 1:30 p.m. Friday.
“Patients need to be seen,” said the dentist, who asked not to be identified for fear of government repercussions. “An orthodontist friend told me a few patients he had seen looked like they were in a war zone.”
He said the damage done over the past eight weeks could take months and cost considerably more money to fix.
“With gum disease, you don’t just loose your teeth. It has an affect on the rest of your body. We, as dentists, should be able to decide which patients we can see and, if we do it safely, should be able to see just about anybody,” the dentist added.