Patient Visit Guide - COVID-19 Response
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic we have made numerous changes to help safeguard the health and safety of our patients and staff. We have implemented protocols and purchased disinfection equipment that are above and beyond the requirements mandated by Public Health Ontario and the Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario.
We have also made changes to our billing policy in order to serve you better. Please read the entire document.
Before your appointment:
- Telephone/Email Screening: when booking your appointment, you will be asked some questions to assess your risk of COVID-19. If you or any family members have been ill or have symptoms of cough, sore throat, fever, or shortness of breath, or have recently returned from an international flight, we ask that you please wait at least 14 days before coming in for a dental appointment. 2 days prior to your scheduled appointment we will send you a covid-19 screening questionnaire. Please make every effort to complete this questionnaire promptly so that we may confirm your appointment.
- Come alone: whenever possible, please come to the office alone. Only guardians of minors and those with disability will be allowed to wait in the patient lounge during the appointment.
- Please arrive 5 minutes early: please enter the office 5 minutes prior to your scheduled appointment to complete your patient intake screening. Be sure to maintain 6 feet of distance between yourself and anyone else in the waiting area.
When you arrive:
- Masks: you must wear a mask or face covering to enter the office, if you do not have one, we will provide you with one as soon as you enter the office - a $3 fee will apply. Please always wear your mask or face covering while in the clinic, except when getting treatment done.
- Hand disinfection: upon entering the office we will ask that you disinfect your hands with hand sanitizer. Please refrain from using your cell phone after disinfecting your hands.
- In-person screening: you will be asked to confirm that you or any family members have NOT been ill or have had symptoms of cough, sore throat, fever, shortness of breath, etc., and have NOT recently returned from an international flight in the last 14 days.
- Temperature: every patient's temperature will be taken. Anyone with a temperature that is 37.8C or higher will be asked to reschedule and referred for COVID-19 testing.
- Washroom: We will be disinfecting the washroom and wiping down toilet seats, faucets, door handles, etc. after each use so feel free to use the washroom.
During your appointment:
- Hydrogen Peroxide Rinse: before beginning the dental treatment, you will rinse with a hydrogen peroxide mouth wash. Hydrogen peroxide has been shown to be effective in reducing the viral load in the mouth.
- Air purifiers: we have equipped every room with air purifiers designed to remove aerosols as it is generated. These air purifiers have 3 levels of filtration and are equipped with HEPA filters that can remove 99.97% of airborne particles >0.3 microns in size and contains technology to neutralize viruses and bacteria.
- Safety glasses: We will ask that you wear our disinfected safety glasses during your dental treatment, as we always do. If you prefer, please bring your own sunglasses for protection.
- Keep Cozy: We will no longer be able to offer a comfort blanket for patients who find the office temperature too cool, please bring a sweater to ensure optimal comfort.
After your appointment
- Insurance: Starting July 7th, 2020, we will suspend taking payments from insurance companies to free up time for our receptionists to implement these protocols. Please see below for further details
- Payment: credit card/debit payments are encouraged. We want to minimize cash transactions as much as possible. We do not accept cheques. Credit card / payment processing terminals will be wiped and sanitized after each use. We can email you a receipt and your next appointment details.
- Go home and change: Your clothes will be contaminated with your own oral bacteria after any aerosol generating procedure – in the interest of public health and safety we recommend you go directly home and change after your visit.
Other things we are doing
- All staff members are temperature and symptom screened at the beginning and end of their shift
- Countertops, door handles, touchable surfaces, etc. are wiped with disinfectants several times throughout the day
- Our team will be wearing enhanced personal protective equipment (PPE). This will include respirator masks, face shields, head covers, and medical gowns
- We have hired a designated sterilization technician, please welcome Dominika to our team.
IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT INSURANCES
Starting July 7th, 2020, we plan to suspend taking insurance payments on our patient’s behalf (except for patients on ODSP or Healthy Smiles Ontario). The reason we are making this change is to help free up more time for our receptionists as they will be taking on more tasks to help keep our clinic safe for our patients amidst the COVID-19 crisis. Receiving insurance payments is quite a time-consuming administrative process, taking up 25-30% of their time each day. Most of the new protocols being implemented will be delegated to our receptionists. With your help, by having the insurance pay our patients instead, it will greatly simplify payment transactions and free up valuable time so they can concentrate on patient screening, management, and clinic disinfection, thereby ensuring the environment is safe for everyone. We understand this may cause some inconveniences but with direct deposit, most insurances will pay their members within 24-48 hrs after the appointment.
What does this mean for our patients?
- We will still process and submit the claim to your insurance for you (so there is nothing you need to do)
- But the insurance company will now reimburse you instead of reimbursing us
- Therefore, the cost of the treatments completed will need to be paid in full at the time of service
- If you have direct deposit set up, many insurance companies will deposit the payment into your bank account within 24-48 hours after the appointment, otherwise, it might take 1-2 weeks for a cheque to arrive in the mail.
- Setting up direct deposit is quite simple through your insurance's online website but if you need help, we will be happy to help you
- We want to emphasize that your coverage stays the same so you will not be paying anymore than you normally would
- We will be available to help you troubleshoot insurance claims if there are any issues
- We encourage everyone to give this new system a try as it will really help us a lot but we do understand for some of our patients this may create some financial hardship so if this is the case please let us know.
What has not changed?
- We have not increased our fees or added a surcharge despite the dramatic increase in costs of personal protective equipment (PPE) and other infection control supplies.
- We will continue to coordinate benefits to your second insurance carrier
- We will continue to predetermine insurance estimates for major dental treatments
- We will continue to accept ministry payments if you are on ODSP or Healthy Smiles Ontario so there is no change if this applies to you.
We do apologize for the inconvenience this may cause, but we hope you can understand why this change is happening. We would be happy to address any questions or concerns, so please do not hesitate to reach out to us.