To: Dental Hygienists of Texas
From: Marian Tajchman, RDH, MS TDHA President
As we continue to wait out the COVID-19 pandemic and the restrictions that have been placed on individuals and businesses, TDHA urges you to heed the information that has been provided by the various agencies and associations, especially those that are related to the dental profession. Without self-regulation we are obliged to follow this information. I also encourage you to view ADHA’s response, updates and for answers to your questions at https://www.adha.org/covid19.
In the Town Hall meeting with Governor Abbott broadcast last evening on television stations across Texas, the state director of Medicaid services stated many individuals have access to medical information without having to leave their homes with the aid of Telehealth. In the last Texas Legislative session TDHA filed a bill (SB792) and its sister bill (HB1756) and actively lobbied legislators in regards to allowing oral healthcare providers, specifically dentists and hygienists, the ability to provide Teledentistry for emergencies if Telehealth regulations were relaxed to include Teledentistry. The bill made it out of the Health and Human Services committee but failed to be heard on the Senate floor and essentially died. With this being said, I would encourage you to reach out to your legislators in your district and begin communication on this issue.
The time is now in preparing for the next session in 2021, and we need ALL hygienists to respond. If this bill would have passed, the dental scenario might have looked different regarding this pandemic. If you are uncertain as to who your legislators are, you can go to https://wrm.captiol.texas.gov/home.
This will be a learning experience for all and, I believe that much good will come from it over time. TDHA and ADHA, along with the other dental associations and agencies, will continue to monitor the situation, give out information as it becomes available, and answer or direct your questions.