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Middle Tennessee woman charged PPE fee from dental visit

Posted at 3:44 PM, Jun 05, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-05 21:42:06-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn (WTVF) — Having gloves, mask and hand sanitizer is the cost we pay to stay safe from COVID-19.

However, it’s a cost in fees many businesses are tacking on to clients and patients to cover personal protective equipment.

One Middle Tennessee woman learned about this when she got her dental bill in the mail from her last visit.

“The bill just arrived, I opened it up while I was on the phone and I see a PPE charge,” said Chari, “It’s a small charge, it’s $12.00, it’s not a large amount. But it wasn’t disclosed.”

She said she was told the charge was to cover the CDC guidelines and her safety.

In a statement from the Tennessee Dental Association, a spokesperson said,

“The safety of patients and dental staff is of central importance. The cost of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) has increased considerably, resulting in some dentists charging an extra fee to cover the increased expense. The choice to charge an additional fee for PPE is an individual dental practice business decision.

The American Dental Association (ADA) and the Tennessee Dental Association (TDA) strongly encourage dental offices to disclose any additional fees upfront to patients and to document these charges in the patient record. The ADA has recommended that dental benefit carriers should either adjust the maximum allowable fees for all procedures to cover the increased costs of PPE or allow an additional standard fee per date of service per patient.”

Chari says she understands businesses will need to cover lost revenue from when they were closed because of the pandemic.

“My husband lost his job, but we’ll make it and everybody can make it. It’s just a matter of being honest,” said Chari.

Her husband was a restaurant manager, their two-income household went down to one. Chari says $12.00 is not a lot of money and it’s a price she’s willing to pay.

“There needs to be a disclosure so that you can plan accordingly.”

Chari says other families may not have the luxury to afford a PPE fee for every visit.